Automating vSphere with VMware vCenter Orchestrator

Prentice Hall
Cody Bunch  
Total pages
March 2012

Product detail

Title no longer available


Unleash the Power of vCenter Orchestrator to Automate Tasks and Improve Efficiency


Today, VMware administrators are responsible for far more infrastructure, servers, and services than ever before. To succeed, they must take full advantage of opportunities to automate and orchestrate their vSphere environments. In Automating vSphere with VMware vCenter Orchestrator, three-time vExpert Cody Bunch shows how to utilize VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) 4.2 to achieve far higher levels of operational efficiency and effectiveness.


Bunch reveals what vCO can do, walks through each step of installation and configuration, explains how its “moving parts” work together, and thoroughly introduces both plug-ins and workflows. Building on this core knowledge, he presents several start-to-finish case studies showing how to use vCO to address real-world challenges ranging from provisioning to snapshots, cluster management to decommissioning.


Whatever your VMware virtualization environment, this book will help you do more with less, save time, eliminate errors, and improve both performance and reliability.


Coverage includes

  • Understanding how vCO fits into your environment and identifying your best opportunities to use it
  • Choosing the right installation scenario and efficiently managing the vCO installation process
  • Configuring vCO: services, passwords, networking, LDAP, databases, SSL, licensing, plug-ins, backup, and more
  • Interacting with vCO through actions, packages, plug-ins, web views, resources, and workflows
  • Automating manual tasks with vCO's extensive workflow library
  • Creating sophisticated workflows with drag-and-drop components and JavaScript
  • Using plug-ins to control infrastructure within and around your vSphere environment
  • Bringing consistency to VM provisioning, overcoming “VM sprawl” and resource contention, and simplifying support
  • Optimizing VM lifecycle management, all the way through decommissioning
  • Automating all snapshot monitoring processes and components
  • Exporting logs, finding/deleting orphaned files, and performing other day-to-day tasks
  • Efficiently conducting mass VM migrations
  • Quickly adding vCenter hosts and clusters, configuring shared storage, and adding hosts to new clusters
  • Using vCO and third-party plug-ins to gain “private cloud” benefits and flexibility




Table of Contents

Preface xv

Part I Introduction, Installation, and Configuration

Chapter 1 Introducing VMware vCenter Orchestrator 3

What Is VMware vCenter Orchestrator? 4

What Can vCenter Orchestrator Do? 5

Why Should You Use vCenter Orchestrator? 6

    Do More with Less 6

    Reduce the Risk of Human Error 7

    Save Time 7

Who Should Use vCenter Orchestrator? 9

    Snapshot Maintenance 9

    Virtual Machine Lifecycle 10

When Should You Use vCenter Orchestrator? 11

Where Does vCenter Orchestrator Fit? 11

How to Get Started 13

Summary 13

Chapter 2 Installing vCenter Orchestrator 15

vCenter Orchestrator Installation Types 16

    Installing vCO Alongside vCenter Server 16

    Installing vCenter Orchestrator as a Standalone Server 19

    Separating the vCO from the vCO Database 22

    Installation Type Comparison 24

vCenter Orchestrator Installation 24

    Obtain the Installation Files 26

    Extract the Install Files and Open .\vCenter-Server\vCO\ 26

    Run vCenterOrchestrator.exe 27

    Agree to the License 27

    Choose the Install Directory 28

    Select the Install Type 28

    Select the Location for Shortcuts 28

    Install 30

The vCO Client 30

Summary 32

Chapter 3 Configuring vCenter Orchestrator 33

Starting the vCO Web Configuration Service 34

Changing the Default vCO Configuration Service Password 34

Configuring Networking 36

Configuring LDAP 37

    Find Your LDAP Path 38

    Fill In the Form 40

Database Configuration 41

Configuring SSL 43

    Secure vCenter Communications 43

    Configure the vCO Host Certificate 44

Licensing the vCO Server 45

Plug-In Configuration 46

    Provide Plug-In Credentials 46

    Enable Plug-Ins for vCO Startup 46

    Install Additional Plug-Ins 47

Installing vCO as a Service 48

Backing Up the vCO Configuration 49

Summary 50

Part II Working with vCenter Orchestrator

Chapter 4 Identifying the Moving Parts 53

Actions 53

    Create an Action 55

    Duplicate an Action 55

    Import/Export Actions 56

Packages 57

    Create a Package 59

    Import/Export a Package 60

    Set Permissions on Packages 61

    Remove Packages 63

Plug-Ins 63

Web Views 65

Resources 65

    View a Resource 66

    Import an External Resource 66

Workflows 67

Summary 68

Chapter 5 vCenter Orchestrator Plug-Ins 69

The vCenter Orchestrator Plug-In Architecture 69

vCenter Orchestrator Default Plug-Ins 70

    vCenter Server 71

    vCO Library 74

    Database 75

    SSH 75

    XML 76

    Mail 76

    Net 79

    Enumeration 79

    vCO Web Operator 79

Using the vCenter Orchestrator API Explorer 81

Summary 82

Chapter 6 Introduction to Workflow-Fu 83

Workflow Organization 83

Workflow Concepts 85

    User Permissions 85

    Credentials 86

    Attributes 87

    Parameters 87

    Schema 87

    Tokens 87

    Locking 88

    Presentation 88

Modifying the Built-In Workflows 88

    Duplicate the Workflow 89

    Edit the Workflow 90

    Edit Schema 91

    Edit the User Interaction 93

    Edit the Scriptable Task 95

Creating New Workflows 98

Workflow Scheduling 98

Summary 100

Part III Amazing Smoothies, Inc. (a.k.a. Real-World Use Case)

Chapter 7 Your First Day at Amazing Smoothies, Inc.: Network Orientation 103

A Brief History and Tour of Amazing Smoothies 104

The Network Layout 104

Amazing Applications 107

Systems Integration 108

Growing Pains 109

Summary 109

Chapter 8 Amazing Smoothies Day 2: Dealing with Snapshots 111

The Current Processes 112

    Creating Snapshots 112

    Committing Snapshots 113

    Problems with the Process 114

Improving the Process 114

    Size 115

    Age 115

    Decision 115

    Process 115

Turning the Process into a Workflow 116

    Net New Workflow 116

    Modify the Existing Workflows 116

    Use the Existing Workflow 116

Creating Snapshots 117

    Schema 117

    Scripting 118

    Scheduling 121

Committing the Snapshots 122

    Schema 122

    Scripting 123

    Scheduling 125

Real-World Application: Patch Cycles 126

    Taking the Snapshots 126

    Deleting the Snapshots 127

Summary 128

Chapter 9 Amazing Smoothies Day 3: VM Provisioning 129

The Current VM Provisioning Process 129

    Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen 130

    Too Many Templates 130

The vCO Way 131

    Consistent VM Specifications 131

    Golden Images 137

    Customization with VMware VIX 140

    Approval Process 146

    All Together Now 148

Summary 153

Chapter 10 Amazing Smoothies Day 4: VM Decommissioning 155

Amazing Smoothies VM Decommissioning Process 155

    Inconsistency 156

    VM Sprawl 156

    Management 156

    Security 157

Optimizing the Decommissioning Process 157

vCenter Orchestrator Workflows 159

    Power Management 159

    Snapshot Management 160

    Clone/Copy VM 161

    Move VM 163

    Delete VM 164

    Notification and Approval (via Email) 165

    Third-Party Cleanup 165

Tying It All Together 167

    Power Off Virtual Machine/Remove All Snapshots and Others 168

    Decommission VM - Clone and Decommission VM - Move 169

    Is the VM Secret? How About Sensitive? 170

Summary 173

Chapter 11 Amazing Smoothies Day 5: Other VM Management 175

Exporting vCO Logs 176

Checking for Orphaned VM Files 178

Maintaining VMware Tools 181

    Mount Tools Installer 182

    Unmount Tools Installer 182

    Upgrade Tools 183

    Upgrade Tools at Next Reboot 184

Delete Unused Files 185

Mass VM Migration 188

Summary 188

Chapter 12 Amazing Smoothies Day 6: New Hardware 189

Add a New Host to vCenter Server 190

Add a Cluster to vCenter 192

Configure Shared Storage on Hosts 194

    Add Inputs 194

    Create the Schema 195

    Link Inputs 196

    Add the Scripting 196

Add the Hosts to the New Cluster 197

Tying It All Together 198

    The Workflow 198

    Add Standalone Host 201

    Is Host Clustered? 202

    Does the Cluster Exist? 203

    Create Cluster 204

    Add NFS Datastore 204

    What Is My Cluster? 205

    Move Host into Cluster 205

    Running the Workflow 206

Summary 207

Part IV Appendices

Appendix A Working with VMware Onyx 211

What Is Onyx? 211

Installing Onyx 212

Configuring Onyx Output for vCO 214

Using Onyx with the VI Client 214

    Connecting 214

    Example 216

Using Onyx with VMware PowerCLI 217

    Connecting 218

    Example 218

Summary 219

Appendix B Troubleshooting vCO Workflows 221

Basic Troubleshooting 222

    Basic Troubleshooting 222

    Knowing Where vCO Fits 223

Finding Information 224

    Where vCO Hides Log Files 225

    Configuring Logging Levels 227

    Finding the Last Time a Workflow Ran 228

Debugging Workflows 229

    Workflow Validation 229

    System.Log(), Server.Log() 231

    Locking 231

    Other Resources and Techniques 232

Troubleshooting Examples 234

    Unable to Add vCenter to vCO 235

    Scheduled Workflow Failed to Run 237

Summary 238

Appendix C The vCenter Orchestrator vApp 239

Downloading 239

Deploying 240

Configuring the vApp 242

    Change the Default Passwords 242

    Enabling the vCenter Server 5 Plug-In 245

Summary 246

Appendix D VMware VIX Plug-In 247

What Is VMware VIX? 248

Preparing the VIX Installation 248

Installing the VIX Plug-In 251

Summary 252



9780321799913   TOC   2/9/2012



Cody Bunch is a private cloud architect hailing from the hill country just outside San Antonio, Texas. Cody was recognized as a VMware vExpert in 2009, 2010, and 2011 and has been involved in the VMware community since late 2007. Cody has also spoken on virtualization and automation at VMworld 2011 and the Virtualization Congress 2009. Cody shares his nuts-and-bolts operations and automation guidance on his website