VMware vRealize Business for Cloud Install

VMware vRealize Business for Cloud provides automated cost analysis and consumption metering; allowing administrators to make workload placement decisions between private and pulic clouds based on cost and available services. Furthermore infrastructure stakeholders have full visibility of virtual machine provisioning costs and are able to accurately manage capital expenditure and operating expenditure. For more information see the vRealize Business product page, you can try vRealize Business for Cloud using the Hands on Labs available here.

This post will walk through the installation of vRealize Business for Cloud 7.3; we’ll be provisioning to a vSphere environment running vRealize Automation 7.3. Each vRealize Business instance scales up to 20,000 virtual machines and 10 vCenter Servers, remote data collectors can be deployed to distributed geographical sites. vRealize Business is deployed in OVA format as a virtual appliance, you should ensure this appliance is backed up appropriately. There is no built in HA or DR functionality within vRealize Business, but you can take advantage of VMware components such as High Availability, Fault Tolerance, or Site Recovery Manager. Logs can be output to a syslog server such as vRealize Log Insight.

vRB_Launchpad

Requirements

  • vRealize Business for Cloud must be deployed to an ESXi host, and can be used to mange vCenter Server, vCloud Director, vCloud Air, vRealize Automation, and vRealize Operations Manager.
  • vRB 7.3 is compatible with vCenter and ESXi versions 5.5 through to 6.5, and vRealize Automation verisons 6.2.4 through to 7.3 (latest versions at the time of writing).
  • For compatibilty with other VMware products see the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix.
  • The vRB appliance requires 8 GB memory, 4 vCPU and 50 GB disk (thick provisioned).
  • If you use any remote data collectors the memory on these appliances can be reduced to 2 GB.
  • vRealize Business for Cloud is licensed as part of the vRealize suite, per CPU, or in packs of 25-OSI.
  • There are 2 available editions; standard and advanced. Features such as public cloud costing require the advanced version, for more information see the feature comparison section of the product page.
  • The web UI can be accessed from IE 10 or later, Chrome 36.x or later, and Firefox 31.x and later.
  • Time synchronization and name resolution should be in place across all VMware components.
  • For a full list of pre-requisites including port requirements see here.

Before beginning review the following VMware links:

Installing vRB

Download the VMware vRealize Business for Cloud 7.3 OVA file here. Log into the vSphere web client and right click the datastore, cluster, or host where you want to deploy the virtual appliance. Select Deploy OVF Template and browse to the location of the OVA file.

  • Enter a name for the virtual appliance and select the deployment location, click Next.
  • Confirm the compute resource and click Next.
  • Review the details of the OVF template and click Next.
  • Accept the end user license agreement and click Next.
  • Select the storage for the virtual appliance, ensure the virtual disk format is set to Thick provision eager zeroed, and click Next.
  • Select the network to attach to the virtual appliance and click Next.
  • Set the Currency, note that at this time the currency cannot be changed after deployment. Ensure Enable Server is checked, select or de-select SSH and the customer experience improvement program based on your own preferences. Configure a Root user password for the virtual appliance and enter the network settings for the virtual appliance in the Networking Properties fields.
  • Click Next and review the summary page. Click Finish to deploy the virtual appliance.

Once the virtual appliance has been deployed and powered on open a web browser to https://vRB:5480, where vRB is the IP address or FQDN of the appliance. Log in with the root account configured during setup.

vRB_Mgmt

Verify the settings under AdministrationTime Settings, and Network. At this stage the appliance is ready to be registered with a cloud solution. In this example I will be using vRealize Automation, for other products or further information see the install guide referenced above. Return to the Registration tab and ensure vRA is selected.

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Enter the host name or IP address of the vRA appliance or load balancer. Enter the name of the vRA default tenant and the default tenant administrator username and password. Select Accept vRealize Automation certificate and click Register.

Accessing vRB

vRealize Business for Cloud can be integrated into vRealize Automation, or you can enable stand-alone access. To access vRB after integrating with vRA log into the vRA portal. First open the Administration tab, select Directory Users and Computers, search for a user or group and assign the relevant business management roles. A user with a business management role has access to the Business Management tab in vRA.

vRB_Roles

Optional: to enable stand-alone access first enable SSH from the Administration tab. Use a client such as Putty to open an SSH connection to the virtual appliance, log in with the root account. Enter cd /usr/ITFM-Cloud/va-tools/bin to change directory, enter sh manage-local-user.sh and select the operation, in this case 5 to enable local authentication.

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If you want to create new local users user option 1 and enter the username and password, when prompted for permissions VCBM_ALL provides administrator access and VCBM_VIEW read-only. You can also log in to the web UI with the root account, although it would be better practice to create a separate account.

Disable SSH from the Administration tab if required. Wait a few minutes for the services to restart and then browse to https://IP/itfm-cloud/login.html, where IP is the IP address of your appliance. If you try to access this URL without enabling stand-alone access you will receive a HTTP Status 401 – Authentication required error message.

vRB Configuration

We will continue with the configuration in the vRA portal, open the Administration tab and click Business Management.

vRB_Connections

Expand License Information, enter a license key and click Save. Expand Manage Private Cloud Connections, configure the required connections. In this example I have added multiple vCenter Server endpoints. Open the Business Management tab, the Launchpad will load.

vRB_Launchpad

Select Expenses, Private Cloud (vSphere) and click Edit Expenses. At this stage you will need the figures associated with hardware, storage, and licensing for the environment. You can also add costs for maintenance, labour, network, facilities, and any other additional costs.

vRB_Expenses_vSphere

Once vRB is populated with the new infrastructure costs utilisation and projected pricing will start to be updated. Consumption showback, what-if analysis, and public cloud comparisons can all be accessed from the navigation menu on the left hand side. For further guidance on getting the most out of vRB see the vRealize Business for Cloud User Guide.

vRB_Operational

vRealize Operations 6.4 Install Guide

The vRealize product suite is a complete, enterprise, cloud management and automation platform for private, public, and hybrid clouds. Specifically vRealize Operations Manager provides intelligent operations management across heterogeneous physical, virtual, and cloud environments from a wide range of vendors. vRealize Operations Manager is able to deliver proactive and automated performance improvements  by implementing resource reclamation, configuration standardisations, workload placement, planning, and forecasting techniques. By leveraging vRealize Operations Manager users can protect their environment from outages with preventative and predictive analytics and monitoring across the estate; utilising management packs to  unify operations management. The image below is taken from the vRealize Operations Manager datasheet.

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vRealize Operations Manager can be deployed as a single node cluster, or a multiple node cluster. In single node cluster environments the master node is deployed with adapters installed which collect data and perform analysis. For larger environments additional data nodes can be added to scale out the solution, these are known as multiple node clusters. In a multiple node cluster the master node is responsible for the management of all other nodes. Data nodes handle data collection and analysis. High availability can be achieved by converting a data node into a replica of the master node. For distributed environments remote collector nodes are deployed to gather inventory objects and navigate firewalls in remote locations. These nodes do not store data or perform analytics; you can read more about remote collector nodes here. In this post we will deploy a single node cluster for small environments, proof of concept, test, or lab purposes, and link it to a vCenter Server instance. There will also be references to larger deployments and scaling out the application throughout the guide. If you have already deployed your vRealize cluster and want to add additional nodes or configure High Availability click here.

Licensing is split out into 3 editions; standard, advanced, and enterprise. To view the full feature list of the different editions see the vRealize Operations page. There are a number of VMware product suites bundling vRealize Operations, or it can be purchased standalone. Licensing is allocated in portable license units (vCloud suite and vRealize suite only), per processor with unlimited VMs, or in packs of 25 VMs (or OS instances).

Design Considerations

  • Additional data nodes can be added at any time using the Expand an Existing Installation option.
  • When scaling out the cluster by 25% or more the cluster should be restarted to optimise performance.
  • The master node must be online before any other nodes are brought online (except for when adding nodes at first setup of the cluster).
  • When adding additional data nodes keep in mind the following:
    • All nodes must be running the same version
    • All nodes must use the same deployment type, i.e. virtual appliance, Windows, or Linux.
    • All nodes must be sized the same in terms of CPU, memory, and disk.
    • Nodes can be in different vSphere clusters, but must be in the same physical location and subnet.
    • Time must be synchronised across all nodes.
  • These rules also apply to replica nodes. Click here to see a full list of multiple node cluster requirements.
  • Remote collector nodes can be deployed to remote locations to gather objects for monitoring. These nodes do not store data or perform any analytics but connect remote data sources to the analytics cluster whilst reducing bandwidth and providing firewall navigation. Read more about remote collector nodes here.
  • When designing a larger vROps environment check the Environment Complexity guide to determine if you should engage VMware Professional Services. You should also review the following documentation:

Requirements

  • The vRealize Operations Manager virtual appliance can be deployed to hosts running ESXi 5.1 U3 or later, and requires vCenter Server 5.1 U3 or later (it is recommended that vSphere 5.5 or later is used).
  • The virtual appliance is the preferred deployment method, a Windows and Linux installer is also available however the Windows installer will no longer be offered after v6.4, and end of life for the Linux installer is also imminent.
  • A static IP address must be used for each node (to change the IP after deployment see this kb).
  • Review the list of Network Ports used by vRealize Operations Manager.
  • The following table is from the vRealize Operations Manager Sizing Guide and lists the hardware requirements, latency, and configuration maximums.

sizing

Installation

Download vRealize Operations Manager here, in virtual appliance, Windows, or Linux formats. Try for free with hands on labs or a 60 day trial here.

In this example we are going to deploy as an appliance. Navigate to the vSphere web client home page, click vRealize Operations Manager and select Deploy vRealize Operations Manager.

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The OVF template wizard will open. Browse to the location of the OVA file we downloaded earlier and click Next.

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Enter a name for the virtual appliance, and select a location. Click Next.

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Select the host or cluster compute resources for the virtual appliance and click Next.

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Review the details of the OVA, click Next.

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Accept the EULA and click Next.

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Select the configuration size based on the considerations listed above, then click Next.

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Select the storage for the virtual appliance, click Next.

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Select the network for the virtual appliance, click Next.

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Configure the virtual appliance network settings, click Next.

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Click Finish on the final screen to begin deploying the virtual appliance.

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Setup

Once the virtual appliance has been deployed and is powered on, open a web browser to the FQDN or IP address configured during deployment. Select New Installation.

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Click Next to begin the setup wizard.

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Configure a password for the admin account and click Next.

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On the certificate page select either the default certificates or custom. For assistance with adding custom certificates click here.

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Enter the host name for the master node and an NTP server, click Next.

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Click Finish.

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If required you can add additional data nodes before starting the cluster, or add them at a later date. See the Design Considerations section of this post before scaling out. To add additional data nodes or configure High Availability follow the steps at vRealize Operations High Availability before starting the cluster. Alternatively, you can start the cluster as a single node cluster and add data nodes or High Availability at a later date.

Since we are deploying a single node cluster we will now click Start vRealize Operations Manager. Depending on the size of the cluster it may take 10-30 minutes to fully start up.

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Confirm that the cluster has adequate nodes for the environment and click Yes to start up the application.

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After the cluster has started you will be diverted to the user interface. Log in with the admin details configured earlier.

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The configuration wizard will automatically start, click Next.

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Accept the EULA and click Next.

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Enter the license key or use the 60 day product evaluation. Click Next.

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Select whether or not to join the VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program and click Next.

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Click Finish.

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The vRealize Operations Manager dashboard will be loaded. The installation process is now complete. The admin console can be accessed by browsing to http:///admin where is the IP address of FQDN of your vRealize Operations Manager appliance or server.

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To add additional data nodes or configure High Availability see the vRealize Operations High Availability post.

Post Installation

After first setup we need to secure the console by creating a root account. Browse to the vROps appliance in vSphere and open the console. Press ALT + F1 and log in as root. You will be prompted to create a root password. All other work in this post is carried out using the vRealize Operations web interface.

The vRealize Operations web interface can be accessed by browsing to the IP address or FQDN of any node in the vRealize Operations management cluster (master node or replica node). During the installation process the admin interface is presented, after installation the IP address or FQDN resolves to the user interface. To access the admin interface browse to https:///admin where is the IP address or FQDN of either node in the management cluster. For supported browsers see the vRealize Operations Manager 6.4 Release Notes.

The next step is to configure the vCenter Adapter to collect and analyse data. Select Administration from the left hand navigation pane. From the Solutions menu select VMware vSphere and click the Configure icon.

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Enter the vCenter Server details and credentials with administrator access.

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Click Test Connection to validate connectivity to the vCenter Server.

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Expand Advanced Settings and review the default settings, these can be changed if required. Click Define Monitoring Goals and review the default policy, again this can be changed to suit your environment.

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When you’re ready click Save Settings and Close. The vCenter adapter will now begin collecting data. Collection cycles begin every 5 minutes, depending on the size of your environment the initial collection may take more than one cycle.

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Once data has been collected from the vCenter Server go back to the Home page and browse the different tabs and dashboards.

dashboard

Customise your vRealize Operations Manager instance to suit you environment using the VMware guides below.

Windows 2016 Containers

Containers are portable operating environments which typically utilise the same kernel whilst isolating applications. Software developers use containers to build, ship, and run applications. To the application the container gives the illusion of a totally isolated and independent operating system, in much the same way that a virtual machine doesn’t know it shares compute with other virtual machines; applications within containers are unaware they share a base operating system with other containers.

Using namespace isolation the host projects a virtualised namespace containing all the resources that an application can interact with, such as files, network ports, and running processes. Namespace isolation is extremely efficient since many of the underlying OS files, directories and running services are shared between containers. If and when an application makes changes to these resources then those changes are written to a distinct copy of that file or service using copy-on-write.

Containers house everything an application needs to run, and that gives it greater portability; allowing for exact copies between development and production environments. By using containers software developers and IT professionals can also benefit from improved efficiency in use of existing infrastructure, standardised environments, and simplified administration. This is evident from the Microsoft images below.

Deploying applications using traditional virtual machines:

containers2

Deploying applications using containers:

containers1

The user of containers isn’t new technology, it has been around for years in Linux before the toolset was properly utilised by Docker. Docker is a container technology which automates and simplifies the creation and deployment of containers to build, ship, and run distributed applications from any environment. Docker have partnered with Microsoft to develop a Docker engine for Windows 2016 and Windows 10, enabling users to take advantage of container functionality with Windows.

Windows containers run in two different formats; Windows Server containers which isolate applications using namespace isolation technology, and Hyper-V Containers which run containers inside optimised virtual machines.

Hyper-V containers have identical functionality to their Windows counterparts, the only difference is the isolation of the kernel. Whereas Windows containers share the same kernel with other containers and the host, Hyper-V containers provide kernel level isolation by provisioning individually optimised virtual machines for each container. A use case for such isolation could be a secure environment such as PCI compliance. Hyper-V containers need nested virtualisation to be enabled and this is currently only compatible with Intel processors.

Windows containers require installation of the Containers feature, and installation of the Docker engine. Once these two components are installed you can go ahead and begin building Windows server containers.

containers

Microsoft Azure are offering a free trial with £125 credit, to deploy a Windows 2016 virtual machine and try containers out for yourself see Azure Virtual Machine Deployment.

See also VMware Container Projects.

vRealize Automation 7.0 Install Guide

This post will walk through the installation of vRealize Automation v7 in a minimal deployment, whilst the process is very similar to that of an enterprise deployment the latter requires additional planning and design based on your own environment and additional instances deploying to create a distributed solution for production workloads.

Architecture

There are two deployment types for vRealize Automation v7. A minimal deployment is a single appliance and single Windows server containing the IaaS components. This is intended for proof of concept or dev environments, you can protect the management services by adding them to a highly available cluster made up of a minimum of 3 ESXi hosts, however this deployment model should not be used for production workloads.

minimaldeployment

An enterprise deployment consists of multiple appliances and typically multiple Windows servers to form a distributed, load balanced and highly available environment. For assistance with planning the architecture of an enterprise deployment you should review the vRealize Automation 7 Documentation Centre in detail.

enterprisedeployment

In terms of the vRealize appliance, the following services are now consolidated into a single instance:

  • vRealize Automation core services
  • vPostgress database
  • Embedded vRealize Orchestrator instance
  • vIDM (virtual identity manager)

In both deployment models management agents are used to register IaaS nodes with the vRealize Automation appliance to automate the install of IaaS components. This includes:

  • IaaS Website
  • Model Manager
  • vCAC Manager Service
  • Distributed Execution Managers
  • vRA Automation Agents
  • IaaS database (can also be external)

Prerequisites

The vRealize Automation appliance comes as a preconfigured OVA that is deployed to your existing vCenter server, it requires the following:

  • Components are identified by FQDN and as such DNS must be in place to resolve host names.
  • A service account should be used for the installation which has administrative access to vCenter.
  • Timekeeping must use a consistent source to ensure synchronisation across the vRealize Automation appliance, IaaS server and external database servers.
  • For minimal deployments the installer generates self-signed certificates. For enterprise deployments you can use an internal or external CA, multi-use wildcard certificates are supported.
  • The appliance needs 4 vCPU, 18 GB RAM and 60 GB disk for small active directories (under 25,000 users to be synced). For large active directories (over 25,000 users to be synced) the appliance needs 22 GB RAM.
  • vRealize Automation uses port 443 for communication but there are a number of other ports which should be open if you have firewalls between the management and database servers in your environment.

The IaaS components are installed on a separate physical or virtual Windows machine, the requirements are:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 or Windows 2012 R2 operating system.
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.2.
  • Windows PowerShell 2.0 or 3.0.
  • Microsoft Internet Information Services 7.5.
  • Java JRE 1.7 64 bit or above.
  • A service account should be used for installation which has administrative access on the Windows server.
  • Resource requirements for the IaaS components are 2 vCPU, 8 GB RAM and 30 GB disk.
  • For minimal deployments the installer generates self-signed certificates. For enterprise deployments obtain a multi-use certificate from an internal or external CA that your web client trusts.

The database can be on the same server as the IaaS components or an external database, the requirements are:

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1 / SP2 or SQL Server 2014 SP1.
  • SQL server must be configured on the default port of 1433.
  • TCP/IP protocol for SQL Server must be enabled.
  • If you use the IaaS server as a database server then you should also factor in additional SQL resource.
  • The Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator service must be enabled on all IaaS Windows servers and SQL Server nodes.

The software versions listed above may change based on product updates and as such before proceeding you should check the vRealize Automation Support Matrix.

Deploy the vRealize Automation Appliance

The first step is to download and deploy the vRealize Automation appliance. If you are entitled to download vRA you will see this listed in your myvmware.com downloads portal. If you are unable to download vRA speak to your account manager.

download

Download the OVA file and deploy this to your existing vCenter server. Follow the OVF deployment wizard and give your appliance a unique name in accordance with the naming convention of your organisation. You will configure network settings and a root password. Select power on after deployment or manually power on the appliance once it has been deployed.

Re-initiate Install Wizard

The installation wizard starts the first time anyone logs into the vRealize Automation appliance on port 5480. If the installation wizard was cancelled you can restart the wizard by completing the following steps:

  • Enable SSH under the Admin tab.
  • Use an SSH client to connect to the vRealize Appliance, log in as root.
  • Run vcac-vami installation-wizard.This command changes the start_wizard = false value to start_wizard = true in the /etc/vcac/vami.ini file.

Installation Process

Open a web browser and connect to https:\\:5480. Where is the fully qualified domain name configured during deployment of the vRealize Automation appliance. In a minimal deployment it simplifies things to run the vRA installation wizard from the Windows machine that will become the IaaS server.

Log in with the root account. The vRealize Automation installation wizard welcome page appears, click Next.

vra1

Accept the license terms and click Next. Select the deployment type, ensure Install Infrastructure as a Service is selected and click Next. The deployment type I will be using for the purpose of this install is minimal deployment.

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If you are running the install wizard from the Windows machine that will become the IaaS server then on the Installation Prerequisites page click vCAC-IaaSManagementAgent-Setup.msi. Save and run the downloaded file.

If you are running the install wizard from a separate client then save the msi file and copy it to the the Windows machine that will become the IaaS server, run the installer from there.

Alternatively log in to the Windows machine that will become the IaaS server and browse to https:\\:5480/installer. Where is the fully qualified domain name of your vRA appliance. Click vCAC-IaaSManagementAgent-Setup.msi, save and then run the downloaded file.

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On the vRealize Automation management agent installation window click Next to proceed. Accept the license terms and confirm the installation destination folder. In the vRA appliance address field enter https:\\:5480. Where is the fully qualified domain name of your vRA appliance.

Enter the root username and password configured during deployment of your vRA appliance. Click Load to load the SHA1 fingerprint and tick I confirm the fingerprint matches the Management Site Service SSL certificate, click Next.

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Enter the IaaS service account details and click Next and Install.

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Once the install is complete click Finish and return to the vRealize Automation install wizard. Configure the time server and click Next. On the prerequisite checker click Run.

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The wizard will now run the pre-installation checks, this may take a few minutes. Once complete and the status shows a green tick click Next. Attend to any discrepancies and make sure you have taken into consideration all the prerequisites listed above.

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In the vRealize Automation host screen enter the FQDN of your vRealize Automation appliance, click Next.

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Enter a password for the vRealize Automation administrator account, make sure you note down this password. At the time of writing passwords containing special characters, although accepted, may cause failures when performing operations later in vRealize Automation. Avoid using double quotation marks, commas, equals, blank spaces and non ASCII or extended ASCII characters.

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Enter the FQDN of the IaaS server and the username and password. The username should be in the format of DOMAIN\username. Enter a security passphrase, if you are installing a distributed environment this should be the same passphrase across all components. The security passphrase cannot be recovered so make sure you have recorded it, then click Next.

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Enter the SQL Server details and click Next.

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The Distributed Execution Managers page will be auto-populated as it picks up our single IaaS instance we installed earlier. Click Next.

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Likewise the Agents screen will also be auto-populated with our IaaS server.  Note the Endpoint field, you may want to change this from the default name to something easily identifiable if you intend on connecting vRealize Automation to multiple vCenter servers. All other options should be auto-populated, if these aren’t filled in go back and check your IaaS server installation, firewall and network connectivity of the server.

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Since we are using the minimal deployment model the appliance will self-generate an SSL certificate. Enter the requested details and click Save Generated Certificate, then click Next. On the Web Certificate page ensure Keep Existing is selected and click Next. Accept the default manager service certificate and click Next.

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On the Validation page click Validate to validate the installation settings and prerequisites.

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The validation process can take up to 30 minutes, once complete click Next.

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Skip the create snapshots message by clicking Next. The installation process can now commence, click Install.

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Once the installer has completed click Next to finalise the setup.

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Enter your vRealize Automation license key and click Next.

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Choose whether to participate in the customer experience improvement program and click Next. Click Finish on the installation wizard completion page.

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The installation is now complete and you can log into the vRealize Automation web interface using the IaaS web address and administrator account, both configured during the installation wizard.

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Once the components are installed there is further work to do to configure your environment. This post is the first in a series on vRealize Automation 7, subsequent links will be posted here at a later date.