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Posts Tagged ‘workflow’

Pivotal Cloud Foundry vApp startup order workflow

08/07/2016 Comments off

After installing Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) on vSphere, you’ll have a collection of at least 21 (probably closer to 60!) VMs with names that probably don’t match anyone’s convention.  Although, as noted in the PCF documentation, there is a correct order to starting up and shutting down the VMs in PCF, the installer does not configure a vApp so that we can control that order.  So, I dragged all the PCF VMs into a vApp and starting trying to determine which ones are in which role and quickly realized that it’s a pain.

Creating an AZ in Ops Manager on vSphere

Creating an AZ in Ops Manager on vSphere

As an aside, when you create your Availability Zone, you point it at a vSphere cluster and, optionally, a Resource Pool.  Unfortunately, if you specify a vApp Name instead of a Resource Pool name, BOSH will fail to deploy the VMs.  So, I’ve typically leave the Resource Pool field blank and then drag the VMs into a vApp post-deployment.

I put together a workflow that will help place the PCF VMs into correct startup/shutdown groups for you.

Example PCF VMNames

Example PCF VMNames

Instructions for Use

  1. Download the package from here
  2. Import the package into vRealize Orchestrator
  3. If you haven’t already, create a new vApp in your cluster and drag the Ops Manager, Ops Manager Director and all of the Elastic Runtime VMs into the vApp
  4. Run the “PCFvAppStartupOrder” workflow, select your new vApp as the input, click Submit
  5. If the PCF installation is scaled out to more VMs, just drag them to the vApp and rerun the workflow

How it works/What it does

  • The correct order is stored in a string array
  • The deployment, job and director custom fields are read for each VM in the vApp to get the VM’s assigned role
  • For the Ops Manager, the Notes field is read and if found, it is placed at the top of the startup sequnce
  • Unknown VMs are assigned a startup order higher than the last in the array.  This way, they start last and power-off first
  • Unknown VMs are those where the “deployment” field does not start with “cf”; with exceptions for Ops Manager (Notes field) and Ops Manager Director (“director” field value is “bosh-init”)

Additional suggestions and notes

  • Adjust the resources for the vApp based on VMware best practices and what makes sense for your environment
  • Use this at your own risk, there is no implied warranty
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Automating syslog configuration on NSX

03/09/2016 Comments off

If you’re here, you’ve probably already found VMKB2092228 and been frustrated by the lack of an easy and consistent way to configure all the NSX components to send log data.  Me too.

I put together a vRO workflow to help configure (and reconfigure) syslog on NSX.

  1. It prompts for the NSX manager connection info and Syslog server info
  2. Creates a REST host for the NSX manager using the admin super-user account
  3. Adds several REST operations to the NSX Manager REST host
  4. Deletes and readds the syslog configuration on the NSX Manager
  5. Optionally configures Activity Monitoring on the NSX Manager
  6. Identifies each running Controller; deletes and readds the syslog config on each
  7. Identifies each deployed and “Green” Edge (including DLRs); deletes and readds the syslog config on each
  8. Removes the NSX Manager REST host created earlier

Notes

  • It must use the NSX Manager admin account – it’s the only superuser account that can update teh manager config.
  • If a Controller is not running when the workflow runs, its syslog config will not be updated
  • If an Edge’ state is not “green” or is not fully deployed, its syslog config will not be updated
  • REST-HTTP plugin for vRO is required
  • Tested with vRO 6.0.2 and NSX 6.2.1
  1. Get the package Download Here

    By downloading any code, package or file, you acknowledge that:There is no explicit or implied warranty or support for the code.  Neither Brian Ragazzi, his employer nor anyone else is responsible for any problems, errors, omissions, unexpected behavior, breakage, trauma, outage, fatigue, lost time, lost work or incontinence that may occur as a result of using the code or package.

  2. Import package into vRO
  3. Run the ConfigureSyslogNSX workflow
    Workflow Step 1

    Workflow Step 1

    Workflow Step 2

    Workflow Step 2

Automating NSX Security Groups with vCAC/vRA – Part 2

***UPDATE***  The download link is currently broken.   I seem to have lost the file, will fix the link as soon as I find or recreate it.  Sorry about that. 😦

In part 1 of this series, we created a list of security groups and displayed that list to users during the request.  In this post, we want to enhance that functionality by adding these features.

  • Creation of Security Groups and inclusion in Dropdown lists
  • Add a VM to a Security Group post-provisioning
  • Import existing Security Groups into vRA inventory
  • Add a Security Group to a Dropdown list

We’re going to do that by importing a vCO package with some new workflows and actions, then link up the workflows to Advanced Services and Resource Actions.  As before, we’ll require the NSX and vCAC/vRA plugins for Orchestrator.

Preparation

  • Complete the creation of the VCNS.SecurityGroup.Names.production property dictionary and valuelist attribute from Part 1.  We’re going to reuse those items. so make a note of the exact name of the property dictionary and the valuelist attribute.  In my case, I’ve named the Property Dictionary VCNS.SecurityGroup.Names.production and also named the valuelist attribute for it VCNS.SecurityGroup.Names.production
  • Make sure vRA Advanced Services Server Configuration is complete and test the connection to the Orchestrator server.  The default, built-in VCO is fine.
  • Login to vCO client as a vCO Admin. Set the mode to “Design” and navigate to the Inventory tab.  Make sure that you have a connection listed under “vCAC Infrastructure Administration” and a connection listed under “NSX”.

 

Confirm that you have the necessary connections on the inventory tab

Confirm that you have the necessary connections on the inventory tab

Get the Package

I’ve put together a handful of workflows and actions that use or expand the NSX plugin to provide information of functionallity back to vRA.  Where possible, I reused existing library workflows, but in some cases, I had to use the API to create a REST call and consume that in an action.

By downloading any code, package or file, you acknowledge that:

There is no explicit or implied warranty or support for the code.  Neither Brian Ragazzi, his employer nor anyone else is responsible for any problems, errors, omissions, unexpected behavior, breakage, trauma, outage, fatigue, lost time, lost work or incontinence that may occur as a result of using the code or package.

Download the zip file.  It contains the package and a couple of images that can be used for the advanced services

Import the Package

  1. Extract the zip file
  2. In the vCO Client, navigate to the packages tab.
  3. Click the “import package” button and select the extracted .package file
  4. On the Package Import Information step, click “Import

    Package Import Information

    Package Import Information

  5. On the Import package… step, check the “Select/Deselect all” box to check all of the items.  Please note the server path, these should not be duplicates of anything else you have in your vCO inventory (unless you’ve already imported this package previously).  Click “Import Selected elements”.

    Select all items

    Select all items

  6. Review the workflows and actions added to your inventory.

Configure Advanced Services – Create Security Group

This service enables the user to create a new NSX Security Group and automatically adds its name to the appropriate dropdown list of security groups.  It can be added once for each different list of security groups.  You’ll need to know the exact name of the Property Dictionary and valuelist attribute you created in Part 1.

NSX Management Services

NSX Management Services

NSX Security Groups in vRA Items

NSX Security Groups in vRA Items

  1. While logged into vRA as a service architect, navigate to the Advanced Services tab, click “Custom Resources
  2. We need to make vRA aware of NSX Security Groups.  Click the Add button.
  3. In the Orchestrator Type field, enter “NSX:SecurityGroup“; for the Name, I suggest “NSX Security Group“, click Next

    Add NSX Security Group as Custom Resource

    Add NSX Security Group as Custom Resource

  4. On the details form, we’re not going to make any changes, but if you wanted to hide certain properties, you could here.  Click “Add“.
  5. Click “Service Blueprints”, then the “Add” button.
  6. On the Workflow tab, select the AddNewSecurityGrouptoDropdown workflow, click next.

    Select "AddNewSecurityGrouptoDropdown" workflow

    Select “AddNewSecurityGrouptoDropdown” workflow

  7. On the Details tab, set the name to something like “Create new Production NSX Security Group“, because we’re going to create the security group and add its name to the “production”dropdown list.  Click Next.

    Set the Service Item Name

    Set the Service Item Name

  8. On the Blueprint  Form tab, under the “Step” Form page (default), mouseover the text field labelled “Name of Custom Property Dictionary in vCAC/vRA”.  Click the pencil “edit” icon when it appears.

    Edit the Form Fields

    Edit the Form Fields

  9. Click the Constraints tab of the “Edit Form Field” window.  On the Value field, select “Constant” and enter “VCNS.SecurityGroup.Names.Production” (or whatever suffix you used) for the Property Dictionary.  Set the Visible value to “No” so it doesn’t show up. Click Submit on the Edit Form Field window.

    Set the name of the Property Dictionary to be updated

    Set the name of the Property Dictionary to be updated

  10. Using the same method, set the Name of the Attribute appropriately and its visibility to no
  11. Edit the “Value to be appended to the ValueList attribute” field.  Set the label to “New Security Group Name“.  Do not set a value or make this one invisible, we need the user to enter a value, submit to save.
  12. Edit the vCACIaaSHost field – using the Constraints tab again– when setting the value, choose constant, then click Add by the green plus, to display a treeview, where you can choose your connection to the IaaS Server.  Visible: No, submit to save.

    Select connection to IaaS host

    Select connection to IaaS host

  13. Edit the “NSX endpoint” field in the same way, selecting the NSX connection.
  14. When done, all fields except “New Security Group Name” will have a value.  Click Next.
  15. On the Provisioned Resource tab, select “securityGroup [NSX Security Group]“.  Click Add to save the service blueprint.
  16. Repeat steps 5-15 for any other dropdown lists containing security groups; say “Non-Production” for instance
  17. Highlight the Service Blueprint and click “Publish” to make the blueprint available for entitlements
  18. Navigate to Administration, Services.
  19. Add a new Service named “NSX Management” (for example) – I included a nifty image in the zip file
  20. Under Catalog Items, click the “Create new Production NSX Security Group” item to edit it.
  21. The Catalog item should inherit the Security Group icon from vCO, set its Service to “NSX Management”,click update to save.
  22. Create or Edit an entitlement to include the new Service and/or catalog item.
  23. Try it out, confirm that the Security Group was created in NSX, is visible in vCAC items and it name was added to the Property Dictionary

Configure Advanced Services – Import Security Group

This service allows you to make existing security groups visible as items in the vCAC Items view.  Once this is done, we’ll add actions that allow you to add the security group to a dropdown list.

  1. Click “Service Blueprints”, then the “Add” button.
  2. Select the “GetNSXSecurityGroup” workflow, click Next
  3. On the details tab, set the name to “Import NSX Security Group“, click Next
  4. On the Blueprint form, set the “connection” to the NSX connection in vCO, then hide the field.  Security Group Name will be a dropdown list of existing NSX Security Groups for the user to choose from. Click Next
  5. On the Provisioned Resource tab, select “securityGroup [NSX Security Group]“.  Click Add to save the service blueprint.
  6. Just as before, publish the service blueprint, add it to a service and an entitlement.

 Configure Advanced Services – Add Security Group to Dropdown list

With this service, we’ll let the user add the name of an existing Security Group to a drop down list.  Unlike the first two, this is implemented as a Resource Action, meaning it’ll be executed against an existing item (a Security Group in this case)

  1. Under Resource Actions, click “Add”
  2. For the Workflow, select the “AddExistingSecurityGrouptoDropdown“, click Next
  3. On the “Input Resource” tab, keep NSX Security Group, click Next
  4. On the Details tab, set the Name to “Add Security Group to Production list” or similar, set the description, leave the Type options unchecked.  click Next

    Set Action Name and Description

    Set Action Name and Description

  5. On the Form tab, just like the first service blueprint, set the Property Dictionary and Attribute names as appropriate.  VCNS.SecurityGroup.Names.production in my example, set visible to no on both.
  6. Again, we’ll set the vCACIaaSHost to the connection to the Server and hide the field
  7. Click Add to save the action.
  8. Repeat steps 1-6 for each security group dropdown list (say “non-production” for instance)
  9. Publish the action and add it to an entitlement

    Add Action to Entitlement

    Add Action to Entitlement

  10. Test by navigating toNSX under Items, highlight a Security group and Select “Add Security Group to…” from the Actions menu.

    Yay! A Resource Action

    Yay! A Resource Action

 Configure Advanced Services – Add VM to a Security Group

This service lets you add a provisioned VM to additional Security Groups.  So, at provisioning-time, the VM is added to the Security Group selected by the user, but we may need to refine the security by adding that VM to additional Security Groups.

  1. Under Resource Actions, click “Add
  2. For the Workflow, select the “AddVMtoSecurityGroup“, click Next
  3. On the “Input Resource” tab, keep IaaS VC VirtualMachine, click Next
  4. On the Details tab, set the name to “Add VM to a Security Group“, click Next
  5. On the Form tab, set the connection Value to the NSX connection.
  6. Leave the NSX Security Group field visible, click Add to save the action
  7. Publish the action and add it to an entitlement
  8. Test by selecting a machine under Items and “Add VM to a Security Group” from the Actions menu

    VM Resource Action for Security Groups

    VM Resource Action for Security Groups

  9. You’ll be presented with the list of allNSX Security Groups to which you can add the selected VM

    Select Security Group

    Select Security Group

Conclusion

This part of the series should help streamline the management of VMs and their membership in Security Groups.  Obviously, items like removing a VM from a Security Group or even removing a Security Group are not included here.  The NSX plugin is missing quite a bit of functionality available in the API, so those additional functions require significantly more configuration.

Thanks to John Dias for his information and examples posted here.

 

Automating NSX Security Groups with vCAC/vRA – Part 1

In this series, I’ll document how to automate the creation and (some of) the management of NSX security groups within NSX.

First, what’s the use case?  Why is this interesting?  Let’s assume that you’ve decided to use large “flat” networks instead of many small networks.  One reason you may make that decision is because of the challenges with either having many blueprints (one per network!) or making changes to the workflows to reliably set the appropriate properties.

Background

In this solution, we’ll have to have vCAC 6.1 or vRealize Automation 6.2, NSX 6.x and vCenter/vRealize Orchestrator with the vCAC and NSX plugins installed and configured. We have two Logical Switches, one for Production and one for Non-Production.  In addition, there’s a corresponding network profile and the business groups have reservations.  Now, we have to ensure that there  are security boundaries within the flat networks.  We’ll accomplish this through Security Groups.

Caveats

We’ll create security groups and nod in the direction of security profiles, but will not be automating the creation of security profiles nor their assignment to the Security Group(s).  That can be done by the security admins through the NSX interface or maybe later we’ll add that capability too. 😉

 Procedure

  1. Create Security Groups.
    • Open vSphere Web Client and navigate to Networking and Security, then Service Composer.
    • Click the “New Security Group” icon
    • Enter a Name and Description for your new Security Group and click Next
    • If you want to create rules for dynamic membership or include/exclude existing VMs, you can do so in the subsequent steps.  Finish the wizard.
    • Repeat to create all of your security groups
    • Create Security Groups in NSX

      Create Security Groups in NSX

  2. Create Property Dictionaries invCAC/vRA.
    • Log into vCAC as an Infrastructure Admin and navigate to Infrastructure|Blueprints|Property Dictionary
    • Click “New Property Definition”, for the name enter “VCNS.SecurityGroup.Names.Production“.  You can replace “Production” with a name of your choosing, so you can have multiple lists.
    • Select “DropDownList” as the control type and check to make it required, click the green check to save.

      Create Property Dictionary

      Create Property Dictionary

    • Click the “Edit” link in the Property Attributes column
    • Click “New Property Attribute”, select “ValueList” as the attribute type
    • Set the name to something appropriate, such as the same name as the Property Definition or “ValueList” or “SecurityGroups”
    • In the Value field, enter the names of the security groups you want included.  Separate the group names by commas (no spaces).  If you have groups whose names include spaces or commas, put them in quotes.  Click the green check to save.
    • Repeat to create another property dictionary and attribute for the Non-Production list
  3. Update Blueprints.
    • Edit your “production” blueprints by adding the “VCNS.SecurityGroup.Names.Production” custom property. Set the value to your default security group or leave it blank to require a selection. Be sure to check the “Prompt User” box. Click the green check to save.

      Add Custom Property to Blueprint

      Add Custom Property to Blueprint

  4. Test
    • Submit a request for the affected blueprint and verify that the dropdown list of security groups looks like you expect it to. Remember, that unlike many other custom properties in vCAC (eg: Network Profiles), you CAN have multiple versions of this one and display different lists.

      Dropdown list of Security Groups

      Dropdown list of Security Groups

    • After a VMis provisioned, verify in the vSphere Web Client that ithas been assigned to the expected security group

      VM added to Security Group

      VM added to Security Group

Next

In the next parts of this series, I plan to address the problems of maintaining the dropdown list manually and having a single security group per machine.

Many thanks to my friend Grant Orchard for his article on selecting a security group in a blueprint . It was the inspiration for this series.

vCloud Automation Center bullet points

08/27/2014 Comments off

Just a quick couple of points from the past couple of days:

  1. vCloud Automation Center will be renamed vRealize Automation
  2. The minimal vCAC deployment is NOT just for POCs, it is suitable for production up to ~1000 VMs
  3. Going forward, code will be moved from .NET to Java on the appliance.
  4. Also going forward, most work done by the DEMs and agents will be handled by Orchestrator. I like this, as it opens up even more opportunities for extensibility

Setting the Machine Name of a vCAC-provisioned VM using vCO

07/02/2014 Comments off

This is a follow-up to the series of posts named “Setting the Machine Name of a vCAC-provisioned VM to comply with a Corporate Standard“. In this case, I wanted to use vCenter Orchestrator instead of Powershell to generate the name from the component values.

For this sequence, we’ll still use part 1 to set up the Build Profile and Property Dictionary, but these steps will replace part 2 and some of part 3.

Review

Recall that for this example, the name should use the initials of the Business Group, “V” for Virtual, a single letter for the OS (“W” for Windows, “L” for Linux, “S” for Solaris, “O” for other), a three character “role” and a two digit sequence number for uniqueness.

Example Naming convention:
BG1VWAPP14
BG1 = Business Group initials
V = Virtual
W = Windows
APP = APPlication server
14 = Sequence number

vCenter Orchestrator Workflow

  1. Create a Folder for your workflows outside of the “Library” and other folders
  2. Inside this folder, create a new workflow.  I named mine “vCAC.MachineName“.  The workflow will be opened for editing.
  3. Navigate to the “In” tab, add this attribute
    Name Type Value Description
    CharacterToReplace String What Character in the original name will be replaced
  4. Navigate to the “Inputs” tab, add these Parameters:
    Name Type Description
    OriginalName string ex: SUP-02
    OperatingSystem string ex: Windows 2008 R2
    Role string ex: SQL
  5. Navigate to the “Outputs” tab, add this Parameter:
    Name Type Description
    newMachineName string Name created from component values
  6. From the “Generic” pane, drag the “scriptable task” item to the blue arrow.

    Default schema

    Default schema

  7. Mouseover the scriptable task item in the schema and click the Pencil icon to edit the item

    Edit the Scriptable Task

    Edit the Scriptable Task

  8. On the “IN” tab of the scripting task properties, click the “Bind to workflow parameter/attribute” button to add these parameters:

    Scriptable Tasks IN Parameters

    Scriptable Tasks IN Parameters

  9. On the “OUT” tab of the scripting task properties, click the “Bind to workflow parameter/attribute” button to add these parameters:

    Scriptable Tasks OUT Parameter

    Scriptable Tasks OUT Parameter

  10. Open the Schema tab of the Workflow.
  11. Paste the following:


    var OS;
    OS="O" //"O" not zero, for "Other"
    OperatingSystem = OperatingSystem.toUpperCase();
    if (OperatingSystem.search("WIND")> -1) {OS="W"};
    if (OperatingSystem.search("RHEL")> -1) {OS="L"};
    if (OperatingSystem.search("SLES")> -1) {OS="L"};
    if (OperatingSystem.search("SOLA")> -1) {OS="S"};
    Role='V'+OS+Role.substring(0,3); //"V" for Virtual
    newMachineName = OriginalName.replace(CharacterToReplace,Role).toUpperCase();

    I’m not much of a javascript coder, so this is probably not the best way to write this. But, it worked for me. Close the scriptable task editing window.

  12. Back on the Schema tab of the workflow, let’s test our code. Click the “Run” button, enter some values in the fields and click submit.

    Test Run workflow

    Test Run workflow

  13. When the workflow finishes, check the Variables tab on the right to confirm that the newMachineName parameter has the expected value.

    Resulting newMachineName

    Resulting newMachineName

  14. If satisfied, click “Save and close” to save your new workflow

vCAC Workflow

There are only two changes to be made from the steps outlined here.  The first is in Step 3, instead of using a variable named “PowerShellOutVar“, we’re just going to name it “OutVar” for obvious reasons.  The second change is a replacement of step 7, do this instead:

  • From the DynamicOps.VcoModel.Activities toolbox, drag “InvokeVcoWorkflow” to the designer.

    InvokeVcoWorkflow

    InvokeVcoWorkflow

  • Click the ellipsis button to  display a list of the workflows in vCO, select the workflow we made earlier (vCAC.MachineName in this case).  Note that you can filter on the Folder to make it easier to find.
  • Set the parameters
    Direction Name expression/value
    Input OriginalName vmName
    Input OperatingSystem vmwareOS
    Input Role machineRole
    Output newMachineName OutVar

    Variables & Parameters

    Variables & Parameters

  • Continue with the remainder of the steps, remembering that when you link it up in step 12, you’ve replaced “InvokePowerShell” with “InvokeVcoWorkflow

Good luck!

Setting the Machine Name of a vCAC-provisioned VM to comply with a Corporate Standard – Part 4 of 4

Review

In part 1, we configured the Machine Prefix, Property Dictionary and layout to accommodate our change. In part 2, we created and saved a powershell script to create the desired machine name from the inputs we provided. In part 3, we modified the Building Machine workflow stub to create and assign a new machine name. In this last part, we’ll finish by updating the blueprint and testing.

Recall that in Part 1, we created a Property Definition named “custom.machineRole” and a Property Layout named “machineRole.Selection”

Steps

  1. Navigate to Infrastructure/Blueprints/Build Profiles
  2. Create a new or edit an existing Build profile
  3. From the “Add from Property Set”, select the appropriate “VMware*” property set for your O/S.
  4. Save the updated Build Profile
  5. Edit your vSphere Clone or Linked-Clone Blueprint
  6. Confirm that the selected machine prefix is set to “Use Group Default” or is appropriateBlueprint Information
  7. Check the correct Build Profile for the Blueprint’s O/S. The objective here is to ensure the “VMware.VirtualCenter.OperatingSystem” property is set.
  8. On the Properties page of the Blueprint settings, add the following Properties:
    Name Value Prompt User Reason
    ExternalWFStubs.BuildingMachine No Execute the Workflow we’ve modified
    custom.machineRole Yes The name of our Property Definition
    VirtualMachine.Request.Layout machineRole.Selection No The Property Name indicates that a custom layout should be employed and the value is the name of our Property Layout

    BlueprintProperties

  9. Click OK to save the blueprint

Testing

  • Logon as a member of a Business Group that has an entitlement to the Blueprint we’ve worked on.
  • When requesting a VM from the blueprint, the request form should include the “Role” dropdown list with your values
  • The resulting request will include the “custom.machineRole” property set to the selected value
  • If you left the “write” lines in the PS script, you can check the C:\Scripts\nametest.txt file on the IaaS Server to ensure the values are passed and set correctly
  • Lastly, of course, check to see if the provisioned machine has the appropriate name

Once again…
You should visit Adam Bohle’s blog and his fantastic posts about this. He knows way more about it than I do. I stepped through his and Tom O’Rourke‘s procedures and wanted to document what it took. Those guys are the authority on vCAC.

References
Powershell Scripting out of vCAC
Easily change the name of a provisioned machine in vCloud Automation Center to conform with company naming conventions
Common LINQ Queries for vCAC
Add a new location to a Compute Resource