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Installing vRealize Automation 8.0 in a Home Lab

January 8, 2020

vRealize Automation (vRA) 8.0 is a new animal.  It is an on-premise version of VMware Cloud Automation Services, rather than an upgrade from vRA 7.x.  It has four main components:  vRA Cloud Assembly (build and deploy blueprints), vRA Service Broker (deliver and consume service catalogs), vRA Code Stream (implement CI/CD), and vRA Orchestrator (develop custom workflows).

In comparison to vRA 7.6 (which involves virtual appliances, Windows based IaaS components, an MSSQL database, etc), vRA 8.0 has a very simple architecture.  Primarily, it consists of:

  • A three node cluster of vRA appliances (or a single node when high availability (HA) is not needed)
  • A three node cluster of VMware Identify Manager (vIDM) appliances (or a single node when high availability (HA) is not needed) or an existing vIDM instance.
  • A vRealize Suite Life Cycle Manager (LCM) appliance.

Based on my experience, you may struggle to find any VMware Hands on Labs or other means to gain hands-on familiarity with vRA 8.0. (The Try for Free link in the my.vmware portal currently takes you to a vRA 7.x Hands on Lab, not a vRA 8.0 lab.)  Like me, you may decide to deploy vRA 8.0 in your home lab.  I implemented a home lab based on the following:

  • Windows 10 Home running on a Dell XPS 8930 PC with an 8 core Intel i7-9700 3 GHz CPU, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, 1 TB HDD
  • VMware Workstation Pro 15.5
  • VMs running directly in VMware Workstation:
    •  vCenter Server 6.7 Appliance:  2 vCPUs, 10 GB vRAM, about 25 GB SSD storage (13 thin-provisioned vDisks configured for 280GB total)
    • ESXi 6.7:  8 vCPUs, 48 vRAM, 310 GB SSD storage (2 thick-provisioned vDisks: 10 GB and 300 GB)
    • Windows 2012 R2 Server running DNS with static entries for each VM:  2 vCPUs, 4 vRAM, 60 GB thin-provisioned vDisk on SSD Storage
  • After the vRA installation, these virtual appliances are deployed in the ESXi VM (in a VMFS volume backed by the 300 GB SSD virtual disk)
    • vIDM 3.31, 2 vCPUs, 6 GB vRAM, 60 GB total thin-provisioned vDisks
    • LCM 8.0, 2 vCPUs, 6 GB vRAM, 48 GB GB total thin-provisioned vDisks
    • vRA 8.0, 8 vCPUs, 32 GB vRAM, 222 GB total thin-provisioned vDisks

NOTE: Your biggest challenge in deploying vRA 8.0 in a home lab may be the fact that vRA 8.0 appliances require 8 vCPUs and 32 GB memory.  After deploying vRA 8.0, I tried re configuring the vRA appliance with fewer vCPUs and less memory, but had to revert after experiencing performance and functional issues.

 

NOTE: If you building a home lab for the first time, here is a great reference that I used.  https://www.nakivo.com/blog/building-vmware-home-lab-complete/

Fortunately for me in my relationship with VMware, I have access to free product downloads and evaluation licenses.  If you do not have access to free product downloads and evaluation licenses, you may need to request a vRA 8.0 trial via your VMware Account Representative (Currently, the my.vmware portal does not appear to provide a link to a free trial).

To get started, you should use Easy Installer, which can be used to install LCM, vIDM, and vRA.   It can also be used to integrate with a previously deployed vIDM instance or used to migrate from earlier versions of vRealize Suite Life Cycle Manager.

In your first attempt, you could choose to use Easy Installer to deploy the minimum architecture, which includes a single LCM appliance and a single vIDM appliance, but no vRA appliances.  This enables you to verify that LCM and vIDM are deployed successfully and remediate any issues.  Next, you can use LCM to deploy a single vRA appliance.  Finally, you can use QuickStart to perform the initial vRA configuration.

To get familiar with the installation, I recommend that you review the How to Deploy vRA 8.0 article at VMGuru:  https://vmguru.com/2019/10/how-to-deploy-vrealize-automation-8/.

To learn what Easy Installer does, refer to this link:  https://docs.vmware.com/en/vRealize-Automation/8.0/installing-vrealize-automation-easy-installer/GUID-CEF1CAA6-AD6F-43EC-B249-4BA81AA2B056.html

Based on my experience, here is a summary of steps that you could use for installing vRA 8.0 in a home lab.  (Be sure to use the official documentation when you are installing vRA 8.0: https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vRealize-Suite-Lifecycle-Manager/8.0/com.vmware.vrsuite.lcm.80.doc/GUID-1E77C113-2E6E-4425-9626-13172A14D327.html)

Installation Steps:

To get started, download the vRealize Easy Installer and run it on a Windows, Linux, or Mac system.  https://docs.vmware.com/en/vRealize-Automation/8.0/installing-vrealize-automation-easy-installer/GUID-1E77C113-2E6E-4425-9626-13172A14D327.html

Use Easy Installer to:

  1. Deploy the LCM appliance to your vSphere environment.  https://docs.vmware.com/en/vRealize-Automation/8.0/installing-vrealize-automation-easy-installer/GUID-4D23B793-4EC8-4449-8B3A-34CB1D9A8609.html
  2. Deploy the vIDM appliance to your vSphere environment. https://docs.vmware.com/en/vRealize-Automation/8.0/installing-vrealize-automation-easy-installer/GUID-1C15C31B-D51F-4881-9CD1-EFB29C683EFF.html
  3. Skip the vRA installation.

Complete the Easy Installer wizard and monitor the installation progress.

Use LCM to install vRA 8.0 into a new environment.

vRA provides QuickStart to simply your steps for performing the initial vRA configuration, such as adding a vCenter Server cloud account, creating a project, creating a sample machine blueprint, creating policies, adding catalog items, and deploying a VM from the catalog.  You can only run QuickStart once, so get familiar with it before launching it. To learn more about what QuickStart does to vRA Cloud Assembly and vRA Service Broker, refer to the Take me on a tour of vRealize Automation to see what the QuickStart did at https://docs.vmware.com/en/vRealize-Automation/8.0/Getting-Started-Cloud-Assembly/GUID-4090D3A8-49C5-4530-8359-C8265B784C80.html .

NOTE: If you choose not to use QuickStart or if something goes wrong, you can use the Guided Setup.

Use Quickstart to perform the initial vRA 8.0 configuration. https://docs.vmware.com/en/vRealize-Automation/8.0/Getting-Started-Cloud-Assembly/GUID-91597976-E472-493B-8017-2D37DC8DC0E5.html

 

 

From → vTips

2 Comments
  1. John permalink

    In a vRA8 clustered deployment (3nodes), how to replace one of the nodes if it crashed (beyond repair)?

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