How to: Deploy vRealize Automation 8

As Dimitri already mentioned in his earlier post, a lot has changed. What was previously known as Cloud Automation Services is renamed to vRealize Automation Cloud and there is a new on-premises version, vRealize Automation 8. Both share the same codebase and have similar features and use cases, giving customers choice how they want to consume their automation platform.

vRealize Automation 8 is a huge change and a massive improvement compared to the previous versions. One of the improvements and the one you will experience first, is the new simple and rapid install process.  In this blog post, I will show you what the new architecture looks like and what the install and configuration process looks like.

vRealize Automation core components

The product itself consists of four components, which is one more than vRealize Automation Cloud:

  • Cloud Assembly - used to automate multi-cloud delivery of IT services. Cloud Assembly delivers unified provisioning across all clouds through declarative Infrastructure as Code, including VMware Cloud on AWS, native AWS, Azure and Google. This should help teams orchestrate infrastructure and application delivery in line with DevOps principles.
  • Service Broker - provides self-service access to multi-cloud infrastructure and application resources from a single catalog. It aggregates native content from multiple clouds and platforms into a single catalog with role-based policies.
  • Code Stream - automates the application release process, through deployment, testing and troubleshooting thereby simplifying the delivery of IT services. It speeds up software delivery and streamlines troubleshooting with release pipelines and analytics. It supports VMware-based private clouds, VMware Cloud on AWS, AWS, Azure and Google.
  • Orchestrator - takes care of 3rd party integrations, custom scripting and supporting lifecycle action through the Event Broker Service.

vRealize Automation Architecture

As I mentioned in the introduction, vRealize Automation Cloud and vRealize Automation 8 share the same codebase and have similar features. But bringing a cloud native application like vRealize Automation Cloud to your on-premises data center requires cloud native constructs. So vRealize Automation 8 runs the same micro services VMware runs in their vRealize Automation Cloud environment on a local Kubernetes environment which runs inside the appliance’s PhotonOS. 

vRealize Automation 8 architecture

The first two questions I get when presenting this to customers are:

  • “Is there no Windows IaaS .NET server anymore?”
  • “Can I install this on my own Kubernetes environment?”

NO and …. NO! 

After years and years, we’ve finally said goodbye to the Windows IaaS server. This was an inheritance of DynamicOps, the product which VMware bought in 2012, which had a huge .NET dependency.  So, no more Windows IaaS server is needed.

And the second NO, no you cannot install vRealize Automation 8 on your own Kubernetes environment. It comes in the form of an appliance with all the bits and pieces needed to run vRA 8 and this is the only way VMware can support it.

Besides the four core vRealize Automation 8 components, Code Assembly, Service Broker, Code Stream and Orchestrator, two supporting services are needed to install and run vRealize Automation 8.

  • vRealize Lifecycle Manager (LCM) - delivers complete lifecycle and content management for the entire vRealize Suite. It takes care of vRealize product installation, upgrade, maintenance, configuration drift, content management.
  • Identity Manager (IDM) - is a service that provides single sign-on capabilities and user-based controls for all products in the vRealize Suite.

If you don’t have a LCM and/or IDM instance running, the easy installer will set one up for you. But you can also use existing LCM and IDM configurations for vRealize Automation 8 as well.

Much as with version 7, the installation of vRealize Automation 8 comes in two flavours. A ‘Standard Deployment’ which includes a single vRealize Automation 8 appliance which requires VMware HA to provide the availability. For enterprises which require higher availability and/or scalability there’s an option for a ‘Cluster Deployment’. This will install a cluster of three vRealize Automation 8 appliances.

vRealize Automation Installation

vRealize Automation 8 is installed, configured, managed and upgraded only through LCM. In the process below, I’ll provide the step-by-step process of the Easy Installer to get to the point of your first logon to your new vRealize Automation 8 environment. 

The Easy Installer will take care of the following taks:

  • Install vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager;
  • Install VMware Identity Manager; 
  • Install vRealize Automation 8.

The term Easy Installer sounds like a marketing term but you will soon see the installation is a huge improvement compared to previous versions. In my home lab I installed LCM, IDM and vRealize Automation 8 in 30 minutes!

So let’s get started. Download the iso image from the VMware site and you will get the Easy installer which includes all three products. Mount the Easy Installer iso file and select the installer for the operating system you are running.

In my case I’m doing a fresh installation and I have no LCM or IDM running so I will chose ‘Install’.

vRealize Automation 8

Agree to the license agreement.

vRealize Automation 8

To know where to install we’ll have to define a vCenter target. The installer will connect to the vCenter using the details provided and prompt you to trust the certificate.

vRealize Automation 8

Next, select the cluster and storage to install the appliances.

vRealize Automation 8

Select the network you want to connect to and configure the network settings.

vRealize Automation 8

Here you provide the password which is used for every product that the easy installer deploys:

  • vRealize Lifecycle Manager root and admin password;
  • vRealize Automation root password;
  • Identity Manager admin password, ssh password, root password and password for the default configuration user that is used to create the integrations.

vRealize Automation 8

vRealize Automation 8

Next up we will provide the information to deploy the IDM appliance. The outcome is one fresh new IDM appliance which is integrated with LCM. 

Two important fields in this screen. First the ‘Default Configuration Admin’. This is the user which allows you to logon and configure vRealize Automation 8. Remember this one!
The second is the ‘Sync Group Members’ which enables group membership syncing automatically when an AD group is added to vIDM which by default is not enabled. Enable this feature!

vRealize Automation 8

Now that we’ve configured all the supporting services, it’s time to configure vRealize Automation 8. This is the place to select if you want a ‘Standard Deployment’ or a ‘Cluster Deployment’. A ‘Standard Deployment’ deploys a single vRealize Automation 8 appliance which requires VMware HA to provide the availability. A ‘Cluster Deployment’ will install a cluster of three vRealize Automation 8 appliances. This provides higher availability and/or scalability.

vRealize Automation 8

All information has been entered and now it’s time to start the installation. Click next and in 30 minutes you will have a fully functional vRealize Automation 8 deployment (Standard Deployment).

vRealize Automation 8

Once  LifeCycle manager is deployed the url to access LCM will be displayed. You can click the link and see the progress of the Identity Manager and vRealize Automation installation.

vRealize Automation 8

When the entire installation is completed successfully you can go to https://[vra appliance ip] to start the configuration. If the installation is successful the screen below will appear.

vRealize Automation 8

Login using the Default Configuration Admin account you specified during the installation.

When the screen below appears, you’re ready to start the configuration of vRealize Automation 8.

vRealize Automation 8

You can access the installed components at the following locations and credentials:

  • LCM - https://[lcm appliance ip] - user: admin@local, password: as specified in step 8.
  • IDM - https://[idm appliance ip] - user: as specified in step 10, password: as specified in step 8.
  • vRA - https://[vra appliance ip] - user: as specified in step 10, password: as specified in step 8.
  • Embedded vRO Control Center - https://[vra appliance ip]/vco-controlcenter/ - user: root, password: as specified in step 8.
  • Embedded vRO Client - https://[vra appliance ip]/orchestration-ui/ - user: as specified in step 10, password: as specified in step 8.

We will discuss the initial installation in the next blog post.