Many VMware shops have vRealize Suite licenses, but have not deployed the full suite. There are many reasons for this, but the most common ones are centered around complexity and lack of time/resources. VMWare is working to help overcome these challenges with an new offering, vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager. VRLCM can help VMWare shops that haven’t gotten around to deploying get more value from thier investment by increasing capability without adding any additional cost. Automation, Logfile Analysis, Cloud Costing/showback, Reclamations, and automated workload placement are just some of the capabilities you can unlock by deploying additional components of the vRealize Suite.
An added bonus is the VRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager will manage upgrades and configuration drift for all components of vRealize Suite! This gives you a one-stop shop for installation, configuration, and upgrades. It also enables you to save your installation parameters in a JSON file that can be re-used to re-create the entire environment with a single action. Very nice!
The best part of this whole story is the vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager is a no-charge item for new and existing vRealize Suite customers (all editions) ! So you don’t have any excuse not to download it and give it try.
Let’s walk through the vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager basics
Installing vRLCM is easy. You just download the .ova file and import into vCenter.
You just have to answer the standard import questions like cluster, datastore, hostname, IP, network, etc. Once imported, just start the appliance and point a browser at the hostname you gave it.
The first-time default login is in the docs here.
After logging in, you will see a screen similar to this one:
At this point, feel free to poke around a bit to get a feel for the UI and navigation.
To configure the environment, the first thing you will want to do is to connect an ova source. To make things easy, you can link directly to you My VMware account. This will make every current vRealize Suite ova you are entitled to, immediately available for installation. Very convenient!
To link to your My VMware account, select the small gear icon on the left
This takes you to the settings page.
You should get a message like:
Then you click on the Ova Configuration tab at the top. Once there all you need to do is select the My VMware source location and click GET
This will cause vRLCM to read your My VMware account and list all products and versions you can download to your local repo.
Now you can choose which versions of which products you want to download for installation/upgrade. vRLCM is smart enough to get both the clean install image and the upgrade files for everything you select.
Once the download is complete, you can verify the ova files are in your local repo by selecting source location as the ova source. Once you select GET, you should see all your downloaded ova file listed at the bottom of the screen
From here you can delete any of the images that you don’t think you will need. (for example, if you don’t need to do any upgrades, you can delete the upgrade files to save room).
The last thing you need to do to get set up is to provide some default values for all the installation user accounts you will want. That is done on the Common Configuration screen.
After getting the software repo set up, it’s time to tell vRLCM about your existing vSphere environment. First you will need to add a new data center, then you just need to supply your vCenter credentials. It’s pretty simple to do in the tool, you will select Manage Data Centers from the menu on the left and select the Manage VCenters tab. To add a vCenter, you will select the button and fill in the appropriate information.
Once complete, you will get a nice view of your environments.
Once you have your software repositories and vCenter information loaded, it’s time to deploy your environments.
To start, you will just click Create Environment on the home screen.
This will prompt you with the option of installing via the wizard or using an existing JSON configuration file. For this example, I am going to use the wizard, but the config file option is really nice if I want to re-install an environment using all the parameters I used before. Of course, this file can be source controlled to provide an Infrastructure as Code option for your vRealize environment.
Using the wizard option, I am presented with the following screens:
This is where I set the target Data Center I specificed in the previous step, as well as some meta-data about the environment like label, type, and email.
The next screen is where I select what product(s) from the suite that I want to install.
Notice that you can choose to import an existing deployment for any of the components or install new. vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager will discover these environments. This is a really nice feature for organizations that may have some of the suite installed, but want to use VRLCM to manage and upgrade their existing environments. This gives you the flexibility to install new components with existing ones and manage the whole environment as a single entity.
For new installations, you can choose the version and deployment size. The size options are small, small with HA, medium with HA, and Large with HA. The View Details link at the bottom of each product square will take you to the products documentation with sizing recommendations if you are not sure.
Another nice feature is that instead of choosing specific products, you can deploy be solution. These are common deployment configurations based on VMware best practices using our VMware Validated Designs (VVDs). This means that the individual products are per-configured to be fully integrated. This really takes a lot of the guesswork out of deployment!
Once you have selected all the appropriate selections for your environment, you click the Create Environment button. vRCLM handles all the deployment specifics like order of operation, integration, dependencies, certificates, etc. It gives you a nice dashboard that details the installation workflow and the current step/status.
If any step fails, you get a detailed error message and the ability to restart from the previous step. These steps act like installation checkpoints, so that you do not have to start the entire installation from the beginning if there is an error that you can easily resolve.
Once you have your environment installed (or discovered), you will need to manage it. There are a number of things vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager can do to help you with this task. You can access the management functions from the home menu.
From here you can download the logfiles to help with support. You can export the configuration as a file that can be source controlled and used as input for subsequent installations.
You can also set the baseline for drift analysis and add additional products to your existing environments.
Drilling down one level gives you some additional management functions. You will get an icon for every product installed and be able to do some more granular operations at the product level.
You can add additional components to an existing installation (like IaaS components for vRA or VRLI-workers for Log Insight).
You can create a snapshot of the individual appliances.
You can view the most recent compatibility matrix for the version you have installed
You can view a detailed configuration drift report for your installation. This may help pinpoint problems that can be caused by unrecorded changes to your environment.
vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager doesn’t just help with installation, it can provide an easy, go-to interface to manage the entire lifecycle of your installation. It can provide governance to both production and development instances of vRealize Suite.
You can use vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager to install, configure, import, perform drift analysis, health and upgrade vRealize Suite Environments. It is an extremely powerful tool and can help you unlock additional value of the Suite. Many vRealize Suite users understand the value of a fully integrated Cloud Management Platform, but due to the complexity of setting it up and managing day-to-day, have put off a full implementation. With vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager there is no longer any reason not to dust off those keyboards and get the full value of all the components the Suite!