Installing Minimal vRA 7: Part 4 – Running Initial Content Creation Item

ow that the IaaS server is installed and vRA is up and running you can go and do STUFF with it!  But what if you don’t really know what ‘stuff’ is supposed to look like?  Well, at the end of part 3b of this series we pressed the button marked Create Initial Content.  This creates a nice catalogue item you can click on in vRA.

So, what we’re going to do in this stage is log in to vRA as the user configurationadmin (created by the install wizard in part 3b), run the initial content creation catalog item and then watch how this creates some ready made blueprints based on your vSphere environment for you to use and modify.

I should point out here that there are two types of catalog item in vRA. Either a published Blueprint (allowing the creation of a VM) or an Advanced Services item which is a way of instantiating vRO workflows with parameters from vRA (and yes, that is as powerful as you would think).

Before Step 0: Before You Start

You should ensure that you have at least one (preferably 2 or more)VMware machine templates ready and waiting in vCenter as this step will use them to create vRA Blueprints.  If there’s no templates, the process will run but do nothing interesting!

Step 1: Log on to vRA

To start, we need to log on to the default vRA tenant as the specially created user configurationadmin.  This was created at the end of the installer wizard.

Open a browser and navigate to https://<vraappliance&gt;.<domain>.<whatever>/vcac

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Yes, REALLY… ‘vCAC’ <rolls eyes>

You’ll see the logon page.  Log in as configurationadmin with the password you specified in the installer wizard.

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Tenant Logon box.

After a few moments the vRA default tenant portal should appear.  If you click on the Catalog tab at the top to see the current Service Catalog.  You should see the vSphere Initial Setup item ready to be requested.

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The initial catalog.

click on the Sphere Initial Setup item.

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Click Me.

Once you click, a multi stage form will appear asking many questions.  This is part of the power of vRA you can create single click items or complex workflows that appear simple to the end user.

The first window is all abut Tenant Settings.  Tenants in vRA are like organisations.  Logically distinct entities that have their own Service Catalog with their own set of actions and Blueprints published for them.  Generally they are aligned to a specific vCenter or compute resource.  The form give you these options:

Do you want to use current tenant (y/n): This is simply asking if you want the blueprints to be created in the default tenant.  You could do this but in this exampleI want to create a tenant as if it were a real life business unit/organisation.  Select No.

Do you want to create a new tenant (y/n): If you click yes (we we will) the process will create a new tenant for you.

System tenant administrator password:  This is the admin password for the default tenant (i.e. the one we’re logged in to) that you created in the installation wizard.  Type this here. NOTE: this is NOT the ‘configurationadmin‘ users password.

Tenant name: What would you like to call the tenant?  Enter this here.  NOTE: make it easy to type and simple. vRA tenants are accessed by appending the tenant name to a url e.g. https://vra7.lab.local/vcac/org/<tenant name>

First Name: Type in your (or a friendly) first name.

Last Name: Type in your (or a friendly) last name.

Email address: Type in an email address for approval and status mails to be sent to.  NOTE: this doesn’t have to be right but you’ll have to manually remember to check for pending approvals if you don’t use a real address (I don’t in the lab).

Username: Type a sensible username.  This will be created and then used by you to log on to this new tenant.

Password:  Type a sensible password for the above username.

Click next and continue with the process.

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Tenant Settings

Now we’re at the vSphere setting section.  The screen below doesn’t show it but you need to add this information in manually (my first screenshot was messed, this is a summary shot with the correct information). You’ll need to enter:

Endpoint name: This is the name you gave to the Proxy Agent back in step 3b. This MUST match EXACTLY what you typed before or it wont work.  Fi you check back (or remember) this is the part where I said you should name the agent and the endpoint the same thing.   NOTE:  This is case sensitive.

Endpoint host: Enter here the FQDN of your vCenter.

Endpoint compute resource: The name of the resource you wnat to coneect to. e.g. the cluster name of your lab.  In my case, ‘HomeLab’.

Username: The username of the account hat has admin rights on the vCenter server you used in the previous step.

Password: The password for the above.

Now you’re ready to run the action.  So click next / ok to continue.

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vSphere Settings

You’ll now get a standard vRA “Request Submitted Successfully” message as shown below.  This means the action is being processed and you should be able to track it progress.

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Success (probably)

For me, the initial part of this took a good 10-15 mins.  You can check on the status of a request by selecting the Requests tab. This lists all vRA requests chronologically in the order requested.   It’s a good idea to check here now as, although the process can take a while to complete, if you’ve typed a setting incorrectly it will fail FAST and the status of your request will change to Failed.

NOTE: This screen does not auto update.  You have to click the refresh icon at the bottom.

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What you would see is not blurred…

 

After about 10 mins, refresh and check that the request is still in progress. If it is, check for notifications in your inbox.  This is done by clicking the Inbox tab or going back to the home screen as there is an inbox widget on that to.

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You should see an item asking for approval.  Open it, read it and approve it.  The next bit is very fast and, by the time you’ve clicked on the requests page again, should now be complete

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Now you’ll want to see what the process has created so log out of the default tenant and in to the one you had created using the above process with the system admin password you specified.   In our case that means navigating to: https://vra7.lab.local/vcac/org/pepsicac7

Now click on the Catalog tab and you should see a shiny set of blueprints, one for each template you have available in your vCenter.

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Look! Blueprints!

Now it’s time to play around.  Try to provision a few VMs via the blueprints and see if  you can edit the settings.

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Success!

NOTE: when I initially tried out my blueprints they all failed with an error message “cannot find the template xxxx”  simply editing, changing nothing and then saving the blueprint caused everything to work.  Seems vRA7 still isn’t without it’s oddities.

Next up in part 5 of this series I’ll do a quick tour of the interface and manual configurations screens for vRA.  However, the install is essentially complete now so go forth an play around.

I’ll be adding in a how to series also in the near future for common operations.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Installing Minimal vRA 7: Part 4 – Running Initial Content Creation Item

  1. You actually can find your proxy name you setup during install if you ssh into the server and cat the following.

    cat /usr/lib/vcac/tools/install/ha.2016-10-27_17.56.52.properties

    Of coarse your ha file name will be different

    Like

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