Category Archives: vRealize

Veeam Integration with vRA Part 2: Restore

In this 2 part series we will walk through integrating Veeam with vRealize Automation and vRealize Orchestrator. Part 1 focused on giving users the ability to add virtual machines to existing Veeam backup jobs from within the vRA self-service portal. In Part 2 we will add the ability to restore virtual machines from a list of available restore points in vRA. The versions used are Veeam 9.5 and vRA 7.2 / 7.3.

The steps outlined below assume that you have already installed and configured Veeam Backup and Replication, and vRealize Automation with either embedded or external vRealize Orchestrator instance, as well as having a basic knowledge of both areas. The following process and the sample workflows we will import are not endorsed by, or supported by Veeam. Finally, Veeam Enterprise Manager is required to use Veeam RESTful API. For further reading material see the Veeam RESTful API Reference here. Alternative sample workflows and reading provided by The IT Hollow here, and another useful article by vRatpack here with vRA 6.2.

Add the REST Host

If you have already added your Veeam backup server as a REST host in part 1 then skip this step. Otherwise, open the vRealize Orchestrator client and log in as an administrator, change the view to Design from the drop down menu. The first thing we will do is add the Veeam server as a REST host. From the Workflows tab expand Library, HTTP-REST, Configuration.

REST_host_1

Right click Add a REST host and click Start workflow. Enter the name and URL of the Veeam server, the default URL uses port 9399, for example http://VeeamServer:9399. Review the default options and click Next.

REST_host_2

Configure the host authentication options as required. Here I have used Basic authentication, and entered the credentials for a service account with administrative access to Veeam.

REST_host_3

Configure proxy and advanced settings if required, then click Submit. The workflow will run and add the Veeam server as a REST host. There are also Update a REST host, and Remove a REST host, workflows if you want to make any changes. Existing REST hosts can be viewed from the inventory tab under expand HTTP-REST.

Import the Sample Workflows

If you have already imported the sample workflows in part 1 then skip this step. In this example I am using sample workflows provided here, again these are not supported by Veeam. Download and extract the ZIP file to a location accessible from the vRO client. Change to the packages tab and click the Import Package icon. When prompted browse to the downloaded package file and click Import.

Veeam_Package_1

Ensure all the required elements are included and click Import selected elements.

Veeam_Package_2

We have now imported the backup workflow and action, and the restore workflow and action. The final element is a settings file which we will use to determine the REST host. Open the configurations tab and expand Library, Veeam. Click the Settings file and the pencil icon to edit. Select Attributes and locate the restHost attribute, click the Not set value and expand HTTP-REST, select the Veeam server we added earlier from the list of REST hosts and click Select. Click Save and close. The value of the restHost attribute should now be the Veeam backup server.

The restore jobs users select from are pulled using the getVMRestorePoints action under com.veeam.library in the actions tab. If you want to examine the workflow in more detail go to the workflows tab and expand Library, Veeam. Select the Restore VM workflow and go through the tabs in the right hand pane. From the General tab you can see the restHost attribute is using the settings configuration file we have just configured. The Inputs for the workflow are Date (the Veeam restore point) and vmObj (virtual machine name). Under the Schema tab you can view the Scripting task which is making the API calls.

Restore_VM

Update Sample Script

If you are using the sample script referenced in this post then there are further steps required to fix the date formatting with later versions of Veeam. If you are using alternative or custom workflows then the following is not required.

  • Edit the Restore VM workflow, open the Schema tab and click the Find Restore Point script. Update the date and time format on line 25 to: var rpDateLocale = System.getDateFromFormat(restorePointNodes.item(i).getElementsByTagName(“CreationTimeUTC”).item(0).textContent,”yyyy-MM-dd’T’HH:mm:ss.sss’Z'”).toLocaleString();

Find_Restore_Point_OldFind_Restore_Point_New

  • Edit the getVMRestorePoints action, open the Scripting tab. Update the date and time format on line 26 to: var rpDateLocale = System.getDateFromFormat(restorePointNodes.item(i).getElementsByTagName(“CreationTimeUTC”).item(0).textContent + ” UTC”,”yyyy-MM-dd’T’HH:mm:ss.sss’Z’ ZZZ”).toLocaleString();

Restore_Point_Action_OldRestore_Point_Action_New

  • You can test the API calls are successfully bringing back restore points by running the workflow in vRO and selecting a virtual machine, a list of available restore points should be displayed.

Run_vRO

vRA Integration

The final step is to hook the vRO workflow into vRA. Log into the vRealize Automation portal as a user with service architect permissions. From the Design tab select XaaS and Resource Actions. Any existing resource actions are listed. Click New.

Existing_Resource

Map the resource action to the relevant vRO workflow. In this case we need to expand Library, Veeam and select the Restore VM workflow. Click Next.

Restore_VM_Resource

The input mappings should already be populated; the resource type is IaaS VC Virtual Machine, the input parameter matches up with the parameter configured in the vRO workflow (vmObj which passes the virtual machine name), and this maps to the VC:VirtualMachine orchestrator type.

Restore_VM_Input

Accept the default values for the resource action form and click Finish.

Restore_VM_Form

The new resource action is now listed as a draft. To start using the action select it and click Publish.

New_Resource

Now select the Administration tab and Catalog Management. Open the Actions page, the new resource action we created should now be displayed.

If you want to change the icon of the resource action you can do so by selection the action and clicking Configure. There are a number of useful vRA icons available here, including sample icons for day 2 actions. Note for users of vRA 7.2 there is a known issue with changing the icon for custom actions, resolved in 7.3 as per this KB article.

Restore_VM_Action

The next step is to assign our custom action to an entitlement. Open the Entitlements page and select the relevant entitlement. Click the Items & Approvals tab, under Entitled Actions click the green plus symbol. Locate the new resource action and select the check box to add it to the entitled actions. Click Ok and Finish.

Restore_VM_Entitlement

To confirm the configuration has worked browse to the Items tab and select Machines. Any virtual machines that have the custom resource action added to the entitlement will show the new action in the drop-down Actions menu.

restore_vm_item

When selecting the new action I am presented with the action form as per the design canvas we saw earlier. In this example I select the restore point from the drop-down list that the getVMRestorePoints vRO action has pulled from the Veeam backup server, and click Submit.

restore_request

The virtual machine name is then passed through to the next stage of the workflow, along with the restore point ID. You can check the status of the job in vRA under the Requests tab, check the Restore VM workflow has run successfully in the vRO console, and check the restore task that will be running as normal in the Veeam Backup & Replication console.

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Veeam Integration with vRA Part 1: Backup

Veeam Integration with vRA Part 2: Restore

Veeam Integration with vRA Part 1: Backup

In this 2 part series we will walk through integrating Veeam with vRealize Automation and vRealize Orchestrator. Part 1 will focus on giving users the ability to add virtual machines to existing Veeam backup jobs from within the vRA self-service portal. In Part 2 we will add the ability to restore virtual machines from a list of available restore points in vRA. The versions used are Veeam 9.5 and vRA 7.2 / 7.3.

The steps outlined below assume that you have already installed and configured Veeam Backup and Replication, and vRealize Automation with either embedded or external vRealize Orchestrator instance, as well as having a basic knowledge of both areas. The following process and the sample workflows we will import are not endorsed by, or supported by Veeam. Finally, Veeam Enterprise Manager is required to use Veeam RESTful API. For further reading material see the Veeam RESTful API Reference here. Alternative sample workflows and reading provided by The IT Hollow here, and another useful article by vRatpack here with vRA 6.2.

Add the REST Host

Open the vRealize Orchestrator client and log in as an administrator, change the view to Design from the drop down menu. The first thing we will do is add the Veeam server as a REST host. From the Workflows tab expand Library, HTTP-REST, Configuration.

REST_host_1

Right click Add a REST host and click Start workflow. Enter the name and URL of the Veeam server, the default URL uses port 9399, for example http://VeeamServer:9399. Review the default options and click Next.

REST_host_2

Configure the host authentication options as required. Here I have used Basic authentication, and entered the credentials for a service account with administrative access to Veeam.

REST_host_3

Configure proxy and advanced settings if required, then click Submit. The workflow will run and add the Veeam server as a REST host. There are also Update a REST host, and Remove a REST host, workflows if you want to make any changes. Existing REST hosts can be viewed from the inventory tab under expand HTTP-REST.

Import the Sample Workflows

In this example I am using sample workflows provided here, again these are not supported by Veeam. Download and extract the ZIP file to a location accessible from the vRO client. Change to the packages tab and click the Import Package icon. When prompted browse to the downloaded package file and click Import.

Veeam_Package_1

Ensure all the required elements are included and click Import selected elements.

Veeam_Package_2

We have now imported the backup workflow and action, and the restore workflow and action. The final element is a settings file which we will use to determine the REST host. Open the configurations tab and expand Library, Veeam. Click the Settings file and the pencil icon to edit. Select Attributes and locate the restHost attribute, click the Not set value and expand HTTP-REST, select the Veeam server we added earlier from the list of REST hosts and click Select. Click Save and close. The value of the restHost attribute should now be the Veeam backup server.

The backup jobs users select from are pulled using the getBackupJobs action under com.veeam.library in the actions tab. If you want to examine the workflow in more detail go to the workflows tab and expand Library, Veeam. Select Add VM to Backup Job and go through the tabs in the right hand pane. From the General tab you can see the restHost attribute is using the settings configuration file we have just configured. The Inputs for the workflow are jobname (Veeam backup job) and vmObj (virtual machine name). Under the Schema tab you can view the Scripting task which is making the API calls.

Add_VM

vRA Integration

The final step is to hook the vRO workflow into vRA. Log into the vRealize Automation portal as a user with service architect permissions. From the Design tab select XaaS and Resource Actions. Any existing resource actions are listed. Click New.

Existing_Resource

Map the resource action to the relevant vRO workflow. In this case we need to expand Library, Veeam and select the Add VM to Backup Job workflow.

Backup_VM_Resource

The input mappings should already be populated; the resource type is IaaS VC Virtual Machine, the input parameter matches up with the parameter configured in the vRO workflow (vmObj which passes the virtual machine name), and this maps to the VC:VirtualMachine orchestrator type.

Backup_VM_Input

Accept the default values for the resource action and click Finish.

Backup_VM_Form

The new resource action is now listed as a draft. To start using the action select it and click Publish.

vra6

Now select the Administration tab and Catalog Management. Open the Actions page, the new resource action we created should now be displayed.

If you want to change the icon of the resource action you can do so by selection the action and clicking Configure. There are a number of useful vRA icons available here, including sample icons for day 2 actions. Note for users of vRA 7.2 there is a known issue with changing the icon for custom actions, resolved in 7.3 as per this KB article.

vra7

The next step is to assign our custom action to an entitlement. Open the Entitlements page and select the relevant entitlement. Click the Items & Approvals tab, under Entitled Actions click the green plus symbol. Locate the new resource action and select the check box to add it to the entitled actions. Click Ok and Finish.

vra8

To confirm the configuration has worked browse to the Items tab and select Machines. Any virtual machines that have the custom resource action added to the entitlement will show the new action in the drop-down Actions menu.

vra9

When selecting the new action I am presented with the action form as per the design canvas we saw earlier. In this example I select the backup job from the drop-down list of jobs that the getBackupJobs vRO action has pulled from the Veeam backup server, and click Submit.

vra10

The virtual machine name is then passed through to the next stage of the workflow, which adds the virtual machine to the selected backup job. You can check the status of the job in vRA under the Requests tab, check the Add VM to Backup Job workflow has run successfully in the vRO console, and check the backup job itself has been updated using the Veeam Backup & Replication console.

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Veeam Integration with vRA Part 1: Backup

Veeam Integration with vRA Part 2: Restore

Deploying an NSX Load Balancer with vRA

In this post we will walk through the process of deploying an NSX Load Balancer using vRealize Automation. We will also cover high availability and post deployment scaling. In order to take advantage of the direct NSX API integration with vRA you will need to be running at least v7.3, read more about the enhancements made in vRA 7.3 from the release notes or what’s new. In the example we’ll work towards multiple web servers are provisioned with an On-Demand Load Balancer, along with app servers and a database server. The On-Demand Load Balancer deploys an NSX edge for load balancing and adds the web servers as pool members. There are a number of available customisations which we’ll cover in the configuration process below.

Blueprint_2

Adding Endpoints

The following process assumes that you have a fully deployed vRA topology with all the components required to provision virtual machines; vCenter endpoint(s), reservations, compute resources, and a published catalog with entitlements. It would also be beneficial to have an understanding of using an NSX edge for load balancing or have deployed an edge manually to see the corresponding deployment options.

The first step is to add the NSX Manager as a vRA endpoint. From the Infrastructure tab select Endpoints and Endpoints again. Click New and select Networking and Security, NSX. Enter the details for the NSX Manager. Before adding the NSX endpoint we can create an association with the registered vCenter Server. From the Associations tab, click New. Select the vCenter Server from the dropdown, the platform type will auto-populate to vSphere and the description vSphere to NSX Association. Click Test Connection and then Ok to save the configuration.

NSX_Endpoint

Blueprint Modifications

After NSX has been added as an endpoint navigate to Blueprints under the Design tab. From the design canvas of a new or existing blueprint select Network & Security, drag and drop the On-Demand Load Balancer onto the canvas.

Blueprint_1

Click the On-Demand Load Balancer that has been added to the canvas. When the load balancer is provisioned in NSX the servers associated with the load balancer in the blueprint are automatically added as members in the pool. This is set in the Member field, in the example below the web servers in the blueprint are added as members of the load balancer.

Blueprint_3

The network for the member servers and the network for the VIP address are configured in the appropriate fields. Leave the IP address blank to automatically assign an IP address from the associated VIP network. Under Virtual servers click New, here you can configure the protocol settings for the load balancer, and the algorithm/persistence, health check, and connection settings by selecting Customize.

Customize_LB

Before saving the blueprint click the settings cog at the top of the page, this opens the blueprint properties. From the NSX Settings tab set the Transport zone to attach the load balancer to, this can be a local or universal transport zone. Next select the Edge and routed gateway reservation policy, this is the reservation policy (compute, storage) that will be used when provisioning the edge.

Blueprint_Properties_1

Click the Properties tab and select Custom Properties. There are a number of optional parameters we can add here.

  • NSX.Edge.ApplianceSize sets the appliance size of the edge, accepted values are compact, large, quadlarge and xlarge.
  • NSX.Edge.HighAvailability deploys the edge appliance in HA mode when the value is true. Without this property only a single appliance is deployed.
  • NSX.Edge.HighAvailability.PortGroup references the port group to use for the heartbeat network of the edge appliances deployed in HA mode.

Blueprint_Properties_2

Click Ok and Finish to save the blueprint. Make the blueprint available as a catalog item and request a test deployment. In vSphere you will see the edge and VMs being provisioned and, once complete, the virtual machines will be added as members in the load balacer pool. You can view the settings of the deployed edge in the vSphere web client under Networking & Security, NSX Edges, double click the edge and select Load Balancer.

NSX_Load_Balancer

Post Deployment

When the deployment is destroyed the edge appliances are removed along with the VMs as part of the cleanup process. If the deployment is scaled out then the new server is added as a member to the existing load balancer pool, likewise if the deployment is scaled in then the server deleted is also removed from the pool.

Scale_Out

The scale in and scale out actions are assigned as entitled actions from within the relevant entitlement  Aswell as having the permissions to perform the scale actions the blueprint must also contain a higher number of maximum instances. In the example below 2 web servers will be deployed with an On-Demand Load Balancer, as the maximum number of instances is set to 10 the requester can scale out the number of web servers and pool members to a maximum of 10 servers.

Blueprint_Scale