Building an advanced lab using VMware vRealize Automation – Part 1: Intro

20150630 - vRAA few months back my boss came to me and asked if I could build a test lab for the company.  Being a managed services company with a number of technical staff, it was important to give them a training ground where skills can be learned but mistakes also made without consequence.

We have a lot of kit we currently use for testing changes on prior to putting them live, but not a segregated area dedicated for this purpose.

The other challenge we face is time… even with a dedicated VMware cluster and making use of technologies such as cloning, it still takes time to “spin up” a new environment with little user input.

After visiting VMworld 2014 US and witnessing the power of VMware’s vCloud Automation Center (now vRealize Automation), it was felt we could leverage this technology to create a lab environment that would meet our needs.

Functional goals

The project has three goals:

  1. Create a dedicated environment
  2. Reduce deployment times
  3. Support core products
  4. Keep costs low

The core products the environment has to support are:

  1. VMware vSphere
  2. Windows Server 2012 R2
  3. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6
  4. Cisco ASA
  5. F5 load-balancers

In this series I will document how this all came together, from the design all the way through to the implementation.  I’ll identify the functional requirements is greater detail, along with the constraints, risks and assumptions.

Other posts in this series

  1. Intro
  2. Physical infrastructure – storage
  3. Physical infrastructure – networking
  4. Physical infrastructure – compute
  5. Authentication services
  6. Deploy and configure the vCenter Server Appliance
  7. Configure vCenter Server Appliance SSL certificates
  8. Deploy and configure the vRA Appliance
  9. Deploy and configure the IaaS platform
  10. Configure tenants
  11. Configure endpoint & fabric/business groups
  12. Configure blueprints (coming soon)
  13. Configure entitlements (coming soon)
  14. Configure policies (coming soon)
  15. Integration with vCloud Air (coming soon)
  16. Tidy up (coming soon)

Stay tuned!

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