Making vRA Email Easy with Custom Notifications

By Chip Zoller |  Mar 21, 2018  | vra, vrealize, sovlabs, all tags
Email is one of those things that most of us take for granted these days. We just expect email works, that it is flexible, and that it’s adaptable to our situation. Within vRA, we can also get email in and out based on a variety of scenarios. But when it comes to customizing how that looks and works, it’s a little tricky. As a result, many folks don’t even bother mucking around with it because of how complex it is what with manually uploading new email templates to the appliance, restarting services, customizing XML files, or writing vRO code and event broker subscriptions and doing all the plumbing work yourself.
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SovLabs Property Toolkit Part 2: Dynamic Custom Property Assignment

By Chip Zoller |  Mar 21, 2018  | vra, vrealize, sovlabs, all tags
Welcome back to another installment of the exploration of the SovLabs modules! A while back, I went through and introduced the Property Toolkit module via a use case of dynamically building custom properties based on the presence of other custom properties. I illustrated this in the form of placement in vCenter folders. In this article, however, I want to dive into another feature of this amazingly powerful module: dynamic property sets.
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What is Sovlabs?

By Chip Zoller |  Mar 18, 2018  | vra, vro, vrealize, sovlabs, all tags
I realized that although I have covered several of the SovLabs modules already with some fine use cases, I might have jumped the gun a little and not fully explained what this SovLabs business is and how I got to those points. I often receive the question “is it a vRO plug-in?” and so realize a little introduction is in order. To answer that question, the answer is Yes* but also No*.
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Getting users in an AD Group through vRA

By Chip Zoller |  Feb 24, 2018  | vra, vro, vrealize, all tags
Have you ever needed or wanted to dynamically get the users within an Active Directory group through vRA? The process I hoped would already exist but, unfortunately as I found out, the existing vRO Active Directory plug-in does not contain a pre-built workflow or action to handle this. As I typically do, I find my own way, but my trials and tribulations can easily be to your benefit as you’ll see.
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How to Cleanly Remove a vSphere Datastore

By Chip Zoller |  Jan 6, 2018  | vsphere, all tags
Removal of datastores is one of those things that seems like it would be simple, and it’s not complex, but there a few steps and you have to do them in the correct order to produce the best result. There are also some KB articles out there that are rather outdated, have mixed information, and don’t cover the graphical options available today. So in this short article, I’m going to run through the best practice way to remove a datastore from an ESXi host without destroying its data.
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Deploying End Point Operations Agents through vRA

By Chip Zoller |  Jan 2, 2018  | vrops, vrealize, vra, all tags
vRealize Automation is useful for deploying a variety of different items as-a-service, from simple IaaS to databases to container hosts and, of course applications. And most of these have been demonstrated to date. One other piece that is often forgotten about is monitoring agents on these systems, or maybe it’s done as a manual process after the fact (which defeats the purpose of cloud automation). In the past, I’ve provided a few blueprints that automates this process for the Log Insight agents for Windows and Linux.
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Automating vSphere Tagging in vRA with SovLabs

By Chip Zoller |  Dec 31, 2017  | sovlabs, vra, vrealize, all tags
vRealize Automation is a very metadata-driven system through capabilities called custom properties. These properties—which are nothing more than key-value pairs—can be applied at multiple levels throughout vRA and cause it to behave in different ways. The same sort of metadata drives a lot of decision within vSphere which are external to vRA. But applying these tags at a vSphere level has been somewhat of a challenge in the past when driven through vRA because there is no out-of-the-box support for vSphere tags.
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vCSA File Backup Fails

By Chip Zoller |  Dec 9, 2017  | vsphere, all tags
I encountered this issue in my home lab recently whereby vCSA 6.5 U1c was failing the file-based backup through the VAMI with the message “BackupManager encountered an exception. Please check logs for details.” A very generic error message to be sure, and not at all helpful. I checked the log responsible at /var/log/vmware/applmgmt/backup.log and saw the following message. 2017-12-09 02:46:10,833 [ConfigFilesBackup:PID-38335] ERROR: Encountered an error during ConfigFiles backup. Traceback (most recent call last): File "/usr/lib/applmgmt/backup_restore/py/vmware/appliance/backup_restore/components/ConfigFiles.
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Detecting PSC Replication Failure with Log Insight

By Chip Zoller |  Nov 29, 2017  | vsphere, log-insight, vrealize, all tags
In vSphere 6, the Platform Services Controller (PSC) contains a number of pieces of functionality including the SSO components, certificates, licensing, and other core parts that make vCenter function. Because of its importance, it is possible to join external PSCs that share the same SSO domain in a replication topology whereby their states are kept synchronized. When a change is made to, for example, a vSphere tag, that change is asynchronously replicated to the other member(s).
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Upgrading vSphere through migration

By Chip Zoller |  Nov 27, 2017  | vsphere, all tags
Introduction The topic of vSphere upgrades is a hot one with every new release of VMware’s flagship platform. Architectures change, new features are introduced, old ones are removed, and so everyone is scrambling to figure out how to move to the next version and what process they should use. There are generally two approaches when it comes to vSphere upgrades: in-place upgrade or migrate. In the in-place upgrade process, the existing vCenter Server is preserved and transformed into the new version while in the migration method, new resources are provisioned using the new version which then take over from the old resources.
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