Installing Minimal vRA 7: Part 1 Which Version For The Lab?

Finally, after pretty much a full year of waiting VMware released version 7 of the vRealize Automation suite.  Rumour is that it’s far easier to install, more stable and bug free than before.  Given the difference between the hell that was 6.0.1 and the, much better but still poor, 6.2.2 releases I’ve had the pleasure of deploying I’m hopeful of significant progress.  Obviously I want to check it out as son as possible so this series of Blogs will be about getting it deployed in my home lab.

Installing In A Home Lab

vRA is a beast when it comes to system requirements 6.x was massive but 7 is much improved.  Gone are the requirements for a separate Identity appliance (SSO) and pSQL DB to talk to the vRA host.  Both of these as now included in the basic appliance.  It’s still beefy though so, for a 1st time I’m going to deploy the “minimal” version of vRA

So, What Does It Look Like?

The minimal install looks like this:

SnapCrab_NoName_2016-1-17_22-6-25_No-00

This is nice and simple for the lab.  We only NEED two boxes.  One vRA appliance and one Windows Box for the IaaS components, agents and SQL.

In this series of blog posts I’m going to be using a SQL server I already have as part of the lab (the same one that houses my Virtual Center DB). Therefore I’ll be interacting with three boxes that make up the install.

So, What’s Being Provisioned?

The vRA7 lab install will be made up of:

  • 1 x vRealize Automation appliance, which deploys the management console, manages Single Sign-On and houses the internal PSQL DB and Orchestrator server.
  • 1 x Windows Server box (2012 R2) for the  Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) components.  This includes the Web Server, Model Manager Data, Manager Service (agent), Distributed Execution Managers (worker and orchestrator) as well as the agents for vSphere / vCenter etc.

What Have I already Provisioned?

  • An MS SQL Server for the IaaS Database (Server 2012).  This is already set up in my lab.
  • An Active Directory Domain with a domain already set up.  This is fr creating users and groups with relevant permissions.

What We Need To Proceed

To complete the install you’ll need:

  • 1 x vRA7 OVF file from VMware to deploy the appliance.
    • Download from the MY VMware site.
  • 1 x Vanilla Windows 2012 R2 server for the IaaS components
    • 2 x vCPUs
    • 8GB RAM
    • 60GB HDD (30GB Windows, 30GB Free for IaaS Components)
  • 1 x Licence Key for vRA.
    • It doesn’t work without one so don’t try (installs, wont log in)

Accounts And Logins Required

Before you start it’s best to create any users and groups you may require now.  vRA has some specific requirements such has insisting that the IaaS server is installed as the account that has local admin rights on the Windows Server. I have created the following users and groups that are used in my Active Directory.

User: svc-vra-admin
This is my generic service account that I create for anything vRA related.  In this case it’s used to log on and install the IaaS components as well as run the vRA services (i.e. the service runs AS THIS USER).  It’s also the account I give permissions in vCenter to have admin access for data collection later in the process.  In a real world environment you probably shouldn’t just use the one account. However, as this is a lab PoC test I have.

Member Of Groups:
vRA Administrators 
– For defining an account as having vRA admin permissions.
vRA Users – For defining an account as a standard user.
VC Admins – Group giving members admin rights to my Virtual Center.
vRO Admins – Group giving members admin rights in vRO.

Additional Standard Groups This User Is A Member Of:
Domain Admin
Domain Users

NOTE:  This isn’t close to best practice.  In a shared environment, anything facing the internet or a real deployment Create seperate users as appropriate.  After this simple guide I will be doing an “Enterprise” install with the correct segregation of duties. This solution is, obviously, not production ready!

Once you’ve got all this downloaded and provisioned You’ll be ready for the Next Stage.  Deploying the vRA Appliance

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