I've been doing a bit of work lately to make my vRealize Automation setup more flexible and dynamic and less dependent upon hardcoded values. To that end, I thought it was probably about time to learn how to interact with the vRA REST API. I wrote this post to share what I've learned and give a quick crash course on how to start doing things with the API.
Exploration Toolkit Swagger It can be difficult to figure out where to start when learning a new API.
One of the requirements for my vRA deployments is the ability to automatically create a static A records for non-domain-joined systems so that users can connect without needing to know the IP address. The organization uses Microsoft DNS servers to provide resolution on the internal domain. At first glance, this shouldn't be too much of a problem: vRealize Orchestrator 8.x can run PowerShell scripts, and PowerShell can use the Add-DnsServerResourceRecord cmdlet to create the needed records.
In past posts, I started by creating a basic deployment infrastructure in Cloud Assembly and using tags to group those resources. I then wrote an integration to let vRA8 use phpIPAM for static address assignments. I implemented a vRO workflow for generating unique VM names which fit an organization's established naming standard, and then extended the workflow to avoid any naming conflicts in Active Directory and DNS. And, finally, I created an intelligent provisioning request form in Service Broker to make it easy for users to get the servers they need.
A few days ago, I shared how I combined a Service Broker Custom Form with a vRO action to automatically generate a unique and descriptive deployment name based on user inputs. That approach works fine but while testing some other components I realized that calling that action each time a user makes a selection isn't necessarily ideal. After a bit of experimentation, I settled on what I believe to be a better solution.
My last post in this series marked the completion of the vRealize Orchestrator workflow that I use for pre-provisioning tasks, namely generating a unique sequential hostname which complies with a defined naming standard and doesn't conflict with any existing records in vSphere, Active Directory, or DNS. That takes care of many of the "back-end" tasks for a simple deployment.
This post will add in some "front-end" operations, like creating a customized VM request form in Service Broker and dynamically populating a drop-down with a list of networks available at the user-selected deployment site.
Picking up after Part Two, I now have a pretty handy vRealize Orchestrator workflow to generate unique hostnames according to a defined naming standard. It even checks against the vSphere inventory to validate the uniqueness. Now I'm going to take it a step (or two, rather) further and extend those checks against Active Directory and DNS.
Active Directory Adding an AD endpoint Remember how I used the built-in vSphere plugin to let vRO query my vCenter(s) for VMs with a specific name?
We last left off this series after I'd set up vRA, performed a test deployment off of a minimal cloud template, and then enhanced the simple template to use vRA tags to let the user specify where a VM should be provisioned. But these VMs have kind of dumb names; right now, they're just getting named after the user who requests it + a random couple of digits, courtesy of a simple naming template defined on the project's Provisioning page: I could use this naming template to almost accomplish what I need from a naming solution, but I don't like that the numbers are random rather than an sequence (I want to deploy server001 followed by server002 rather than server343 followed by server718).