vRealize Suite installation in VMware Cloud Foundation

VMware Cloud Foundation is VMware’s SDDC offering which combines compute (vSphere), storage (vSAN) and network (NSX) virtualization. With VMware Cloud Foundation you can install and manage the complete software stack. Additionally you can use SDDC Manager, which is included with VMware Cloud Foundation, to also install the VMware vRealize Suite products. These are vRealize Suite Lifecycle manager, vRealize Automation and vRealize Operations. vRealize Loginsight is installed by default and will show up as installed already. In this blog post we will go over the installation of vRealize Suite Lifecycle manager (which is mandatory for the rest) and vRealize Automation. All of this will be done with VMware Cloud Foundation version 3.9.

Before you start

Before we can start installing vRealize Suite Lifecycle manager (and the rest of the suite) we need to download the software bundles first. Normally the SDDC Manager would be connected to the internet and you can download these bundles by authorizing your ‘My VMware’ account to SDDC §Manager.

In my case I have no access to the internet directly from my SDDC manager. The work around this I used the offline method for downloading these bundles. For more information on how to do this check out my colleagues website here.

vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager

As mentioned, the first thing to do with regards to vRealize Suite is to install vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager. If you want some insight in to what vRSLCM does check out this post about vRSLCM. First go to the vRealize Suite section in SDDC Manager. When you select vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager you will see the deploy button. Click it to start installing.

vRealize Suite section

A list of prerequisites will pop-up, these are mandatory to complete before continuing. If you are certain you have met these, click Select All and begin.

Next, we will need to supply some of the network settings. Please note that there will be a distributed portgroup created specifically for the vRealize Suite (note that in VCF 3.9.1 this has changed). When done click next.

Now, some of the settings that are required to deploy the vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager appliance need to be set. This is nothing more than a FQDN and a few passwords.

Almost done, just verify the information and click Finish.

A verification will follow and if everything checks out we can click Begin to start the actual installation. This will take some time and the following screen will be displayed during installation.

vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager install

When the installation is done you should be able to visit the vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager interface by clicking the link in SDDC Manager.

vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager installed

vRealize Automation

Next we will install vRealize Automation. In the vRealize Suite section go to vRealize Automation and click deploy. Again a prerequisites screen will pop-up.

The two things that stand out for me here are:

You are not supposed to prepare the Windows IaaS VM’s yourself. In this case a prepared OVA Windows template should be used. This is one of the features that comes with vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager and it is utilized here. Check out the official documentation for the steps to create this OVA template.

The second thing is that VCF also takes care of the installation of the NSX load balancer. You should just prepare the hostnames and IP addresses for the edge and the VIPs.

All other items on the list should be known already from the ‘normal’ vRealize Automation installation.

One thing to also keep in mind is that you need to add the vRealize Automation license in advance. Within SDDC manager, go to the section ‘Licenses’ and add a license key for vRealize Automation.

When all prerequisites have been taken care of we can start the deployment of vRealize Automation from the vRealize Automation section in SDDC Manager.

For some reason the upload of te OVA failed, could be something dodgy in my lab.

I decided to not try again but instead to check the disk space on the SDDC Manager. This seemed to be OK although I couldn’t really see where exactly the file was being uploaded. As I didn’t want to wait for a long time and have it fail again I moved to plan B. This means uploading the OVA manually (with WinSCP) and pointing SDDC Manager to the correct path during deployment of vRealize Automation. How to accomplish this is described in the official documentation.

After uploading the IaaS VM OVA template and filling out all fields we can continue filling out all FQDN’s. In the screenshot you cannot see all of it, but it’s all vRA appliances, all Windows IaaS VM’s, Load Balancer and VIP names and the SQL server name.

Next step is getting all accounts and the name of the IaaS database filled out. This includes a new account that will act as local tenant administrator.

Next, you can review everything and click finish to start the installation.

Don’t worry, some form of basic validation will be done and common mistakes will be captured during this phase. As you can see in the next screenshot, I’m in my second validation because I made some last minute changes and forgot to update some things 🙂

If everything is OK the installation can be started and the following screen will be displayed for quite some time.

If you want, you can keep track of things or let it run for a couple of hours. Keeping the vCenter console open will show you that items (such as the NSX load balancer edge) are getting deployed. At some point vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager will kick in and a request workflow will be running there as well to keep track of the vRA installation. After some time the proces will be done and this will show in SDDC Manager.

Keep in mind that we now have a very basic vRA installation and that some configuration is still needed before we can create and deploy services. This is something for a future blog post.

Conclusion

Installing the vRealize Suite products from SDDC Manager really brings it all together while building your own private cloud with the least amount effort. One thing I cannot stress enough is the importance of a thorough preparation. As with everything with VMware Cloud Foundation all installation and lifecycle operations rely heavily on scripting in the back. So, again, make sure you know and handle all the prerequisites before you start.

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