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Minor Update to vCAC 6.0.1 Released

A minor update was introduced to vCAC 6.0.1 yesterday, May 1st. The new version number is 6.0.1.1, Builds 1768531 for vCAC Appliance & 1748175 for the vCAC Identity appliance (SSO).
These builds are introduced in order to patch the heart bleed OpenSSL issue that was discovered not long ago, but also to fix some bugs found in the 6.0.1, relating to the way vCAC communicates with the Identity / SSO source.
One of the bugs that were fixed, is actually something i’ve encountered myself at a customer site, and was supplied quickly with a hot patch to solve the issue.

Lets review the release notes:

  • Fixes to the Heart-bleed vulnerability:
    • Gugent Agent for Windows were updated with a newer version of OpenSSL, although not affected by heart bleed originally in 6.0.1
    • Identity Appliance was also updated with a newer version of openSSL
  • Business Groups IaaS page timing out with an Error -> This issue is the one I encountered, and it was pretty painful for the short time it lasted.

More sso related things are now fixed, like some issues with searching catalog items ‘On behalf’ & Entitlement page timeout that happened when searching groups to
Last but not least, it seems like the Windows authentication checkbox will now work (haven’t tested myself yet) according to:

  • Windows session authentication login fails and an error message is displayed because of VMware Client Integration Plug-in

If you attempt to use the Windows session authentication feature, it fails and an error message Windows Session Authentication login as failed as a result of an error caused by the VMware Client Integration Plugin is displayed. This issue occurred in Google Chrome 31.0.1650.63, Internet Explorer 9, and Firefox 25.0.1.

And:

  • Login to vCloud Automation Center fails when you try to login with SSO

When you try to login to vCloud Automation Center virtual appliance with SSO, the login fails and an error message Error received by LDAP client: com.vmware.identity.interop.ldap.WinLdapClientLibrary, error code: 10 is displayed.

To read the rest of the release notes, click here.
Have a great weekend!

vCAC 6.0.1 Plugin for vCO

Very very quietly, VMware has GA’d its vCAC 6.0.1 Plugin for vCO. Why is this plugin so important? Well, since the plugin shipped with vCAC’s vCO server in the 6.0.1 virtual appliance is a revolution / update of its 5.2 plugin brother (interfacing with vCAC’s IaaS ODATA API) this plugin includes both the IaaS plugin AND a new set of capabilities to interface with the vCAC VA APIs! This means that the ability to create service catalogs, tenants, catalog items, and much much more, is now available for everyone, with ease.

Part of the work I did in my vCAC DevOps Post, relied on the capabilities of this plugin. (which was in pre-beta , early milestone phases) So, although the vCAC 6.0.1 API is considered to be ‘Beta’ this plugin supports it. It enables us to do some very interesting stuff, such as requesting a Catalog Items, customizing item requests (more on that in very very near blog posts!) and more. The thing that’s great about having such a plugin, is that it enables the IT administrator and the developers (or the cloud customer/consumer) to radically abstract the vCAC API, and use only the functionality needed, with great simplicity.

If you want to integrate with another system calling vCAC, you can share the coding load by masking very complicated tasks like requesting multi machine blueprints, in a very simple fashion using vCO – vCAC Plugin workflows, and later on, exposing the specific functionality using vCO’s REST API.

Overview & Install

This plugin lets us work with every aspect of the vCAC VA application platform, like:

  • Approval Policies
  • Advanced Service Designer
  • Service Catalogs
  • Catalog Items
  • Item Requests
  • Actions (Day 2 operations)
  • Entitlements

In order to install the plugin, simply go to the configuration page for you vCO server, browse to the download o11nplugin-vcac-6.0.1.vmoapp file, enter administrator credentials, and choose ‘Install plugin’. You will have to restart you vCO server afterward (just the services).
If you are using vCAC’s VA vCO Server , you’ll need to enable the vco-configurator service by logging in to the vCAC-VA and entering these commands:

[code lang=”bash”]
chkconfig vco-configurator on
service vco-configurator start

[/code]

To configure the plugin, run the configuration workflow found in the vCloud Automation Center folder inside vCO, with the appropriate parameters:
Config VCO Plugin

The OOTB workflows for this plugin are pretty handy, giving us the ability to do some common tasks with the objects mentioned in the points above, like copy/create/delete a service, request a catalog item, trigger resource item actions.
But what’s actually underneath the hood, is way more interesting…
CAFEFlows

An object very worth mentioning is the vCACCAFEEntitiesFinder object. This scripting object is always available to us, and has some very useful methods for us to use in scriptable tasks and custom actions.

vCACCAFEEntitiesFinder
It’s fairly easy to understand why I’ve designed this post’s logo the way I did…
In any case, one very important methods to notice is:

[code]vCACCAFEEntitiesFinder.findCatalogItems(VCACCAFEHost,String)[/code]

This important piece of API can be seen in action in one of the sample workflows shipped with this plugin called ‘List Catalog Items’
Lets analyze the scriptable code for this workflow.

[code lang=”js”]
var items;
if (criteria == ""){
items=vCACCAFEEntitiesFinder.getCatalogItems(host);
} else {
items=vCACCAFEEntitiesFinder.findCatalogItems(host, criteria);
}

System.log("Total elements: " + items.length);

System.log("Catalog items:");

for (var i = 0; i<items.length;i++ ){
System.log("   " + (i+1) + ".    " + items[i].getName());
}

[/code]

We can see that the entity finder finds us all of the catalog items in case we didn’t enter any search criteria, but in case we’ve searched for a specific item (by name) we will get an array of catalog items matching that name (or close to that name).
then, we have the vCAC Catalog item object, and we can act upon it. Pretty straight forward stuff!
I’ll example more of this vCO Plugin’s capabilities in later posts, so stay tuned!

Customizing vCAC Login Page Logo

A question I’ve been hearing a lot ever since I’ve been working with vCAC, and that’s quite a while now, is – “Can I customize the vcac login page?” well, actually I’ve came across how to do this a while back but didn’t blog about it for some reason. Anyway, this sort of thing lands in the ‘unsupported’ area, the method I’ll show here is super simple, and takes two minutes to revert back to original ‘I didn’t touch this’ configuration.

An example of a modified vCAC login page:
cusotm vcac sso

vCenter VA SSO & vCAC Identity VA SSO

In order to change the vCAC main in this type of configuration simply login to the VA , and replace the file located at:
[code]/usr/lib/vmware-sts/webapps/websso/resources/img/vmwareLogoBigger.png[/code]

Simply copy your image (png) to the same folder where this file is located, make a simple change to the current file:

[code]mv vmwareLogoBigger.png vmwareLogoBigger_orig.png[/code]

and modify your file accordingly

[code]mv <myLogoFileName>.png vmwareLogoBigger.png[/code]

Presto! You now have a new logo for your vCAC login page.

The image size doesn’t really matter , but I suggest you play around with the image size until you find a logo size that you find nice to look at.
As for changing the icon for a windows vCenter server, unfortunately I couldn’t test it out to find the location at the moment, but hopefully I could do so soon.

vExpert 2014 – Thank You! (and some goodies)

vExpert 2014

So, vExperts 2014 we’re announced and I was very surprised to be on the list! To share knowledge and help others is quite fulfilling on its own, but to be actually recognized and elected as part of top people who are doing so, is on a whole different level.
The biggest thank you goes to you, my readers, and every one who’ve supported and helped promote my blog by sharing its content :)

CTO Ambassador

Another big exciting event, i’ve been elected internally by VMware to take part in our CTO Ambassador Program. This program contains a select few people (about a 100) from within the companies’ field personnel, to help promote R&D collaboration with the field, driving greater satisfaction with our customers, improving VMware’s products in the most effective way!
This is also a VERY big honor, and I am humbled to be amongst the truly great people in this group.

To finish this short post, here are a couple of wallpapers I’ve created, for all of you cloud automators out there!
Enjoy! :)

Wide Format: (click image..)

Regular Format: 

Enabling DevOps using vCAC 6

Its been a long time since I last wrote a post, unfortunately (or fortunately, i’ll admit) i’ve been working frantically on a very special use case for vCAC 6, using it to demonstrate DevOps scenario.
In this scenario, vCAC will be used as an IaaS platform to let Jenkins deploy a full continuous integration process. Building code, deploying it on a Multi Machine environment (a customer’s requirement). And generating a new build for QE to test.

In order to build this, I used some of the principles demonstrated in my previous article , writing a short code activity for a part of the implementation, while also using a new vCO plugin that isn’t released yet, and is actually in pre-beta phases.

The general description of this very interesting use case, goes like this:
1 – Jenkins requests vCAC to provide with clean ‘vanilla’ IaaS environment from vCAC 6, with REST API calls.
2 – vCAC then deploys , and runs a puppet command to install a CI night build on the VMs in the MultiMachine environment, as an “On” state workflow
3 – Jenkins executes a Multi Machine custom action – ‘Clone To Catalog’ after install is done, through vCAC API.
4 – VMs are cloned , blueprints are created, a new catalog item is created in ‘Night builds’ service
5 – Jenkins executes a final command, massively requesting the new catalog item for sleeping QE personnel so when they arrive to work at morning, they have a new environment ready for QA testing.

I believe a lot of organisations should adjust their development cycles to be efficient. This results in faster then ever time to market, and software versions being rapidly developed. 
DevOps is real, and cloud, is definitely the answer for it.

This is also a great example of utilizing the vCAC 6 APIs (which are currently in beta state) and maximizing the use of VMware’s main cloud solution.

Check out the demonstration video I made below, and be sure to leave any comments in the comment section!