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Top tools and techniques for VMware automation

Some IT professionals fear automation will eventually replace them, but proficiency with these tools can help bolster their credentials.

Introduction

VMware automation tools can help administrators accomplish a task in a shorter amount of time and can turn routine chores, such as taking a snapshot of a VM , into something that requires less intervention from IT. Reducing the manual fiddling of the infrastructure also reduces chances of human error.

In general, automation is something that can benefit a business as administrators build their proficiency with available tools. While virtualization has made certain aspects of the data center easier to handle, rising infrastructure complexity and growing business demands mean IT professionals need to develop more efficient methods to respond to everyday needs.

This guide covers the software, techniques and best practices VMware professionals are using in their environment to streamline common processes and speed up workflows.

1Tactics and tools-

Many facets to VMware automation

Companies are always relying on IT professionals to do more with less while also pushing for a presence in new areas, such as cloud computing. There are plenty of automation products an administrator can use to get the job done, but having a solid implementation strategy should be front and center with any initiative.

Tip

Automation, IT sprawl are an equation for trouble

Automation makes the data center work, but it also causes IT sprawl. When every department has their own automation regime, mistakes are bound to happen. Continue Reading

News

Puppet automation tools bring DevOps to vCenter

New DevOps automation tools from Puppet aim to ease vCenter management, but some VMware administrators need to ramp up their programming skills to take advantage. Continue Reading

Opinion

Automation tools can boost your job security

Don't fret over automating yourself out of a job. The added value of learning how to use an automation tool may be the best kind of job security. Continue Reading

Tip

Don't rush to automate everything

IT automation should scale with the size of your business. Don't rush to automate without a clear sense of how your scripting work will save time and resources in the future. Continue Reading

Tip

Adopting server automation in the data center

There are a lot of factors that may deter an IT team from adopting server automation tools. Here's how to determine whether server automation will benefit your data center. Continue Reading

Tip

Figuring out all of the automation tools

Server automation tools save time and reduce errors, but are point systems or suites the way to go? Continue Reading

Tip

Using vSphere Management Assistant for your benefit

With VMware vMA, a virtualization administrator gets a free tool that is simple to use with the flexibility of a virtual appliance. Continue Reading

2VMware PowerCLI-

Free and flexible

One automation tool that administrators can add to their arsenal is VMware's vSphere PowerCLI, which can automate vSphere and vCloud management. Administrators can tap into PowerShell cmdlets to execute commands across their environment's virtual inventory.

Feature

How PowerCLI commands can control vCloud and vSphere

VMware's Cloud Suite and other features can limit what admins can do with infrastructure options, but PowerCLI commands can give admins their power back. Continue Reading

Feature

An introduction to vSphere's free automation tool

Administrators can develop scripts and execute commands to keep control of their infrastructure with vSphere PowerCLI. Continue Reading

Answer

Which CLI option is right for you?

VMware offers three CLI choices -- vSphere CLI, PowerCLI and ESXi Shell -- to run commands in a vSphere environment, but which one is a better fit for you? Continue Reading

Feature

Reduce stress, save time with PowerCLI

It doesn't matter if it's a simple move or a huge migration project, using PowerCLI automation can make the task at hand easier, saving you time and stress. Continue Reading

Tip

New features in PowerCLI 5.5 make life easier for admins

System admins will be happy with the new additions in PowerCLI 5.5. New tagging functionality and new cmdlets will please automation-happy admins. Continue Reading

3vCloud Automation Center-

One way to handle your cloud

Another VMware automation tool that IT professionals can use is vCloud Automation Center. VMware's cloud management software product comes in three editions and gives administrators a utility to control VM sprawl and automate application delivery, among other things. VMware is planning to rename the product vRealize Automation by the end of 2014 as part of a rebranding strategy.

News

More cloud software added into vCAC 6.0

It was expected that VMware would add vCloud Director into vCloud Automation Center 6.0. Now they started the integration of Application Director and Data Director into vCAC as well. Continue Reading

Answer

Is vCAC required when using VMware NSX?

If you want to deploy vast quantities of compute at a high rate, you will need to use another VMware product to run NSX. Continue Reading

Tip

Ease the burden of forgotten virtual machines with vCAC

VMware vCAC allows admins to manage "orphan infrastructures" and prevent VM sprawl, which can save time and energy. Continue Reading

Tip

Installing vCAC in a cloud computing test environment

These steps will teach you how to install vCAC onto a virtual machine, which lets you test out the cloud computing tool without a lot of complications. Continue Reading

Tip

How to create virtual machines with vCAC

Learn how to create and configure a virtual machine test environment with vCloud Automation Center. Continue Reading

Tip

How to set up Amazon EC2 with vCAC

Are you sick and tired of seasonal spikes? Lighten the load of your servers by using an Amazon EC2 instance combined with vCAC instead of buying new hardware. Continue Reading

4vCenter Orchestrator-

Streamline your workflows

One VMware automation tool that can be used for bulk operations is vCenter Orchestrator (vCO). Admins can use vCO to automate the shutdown of a VM, to add extra vCPUs and to start a VM. VMware packages vCO for free with vCenter Server and is another tool for integrating scripting and automation in order to speed deployments.

Feature

Adding vCenter Orchestrator to your arsenal

If you haven't already, it's time to start integrating automation into your environment. Here's some expert advice on where to get started. Continue Reading

Tip

Remove the restraints of vCO by integrating PowerCLI

Combining the strength of PowerCLI scripts with vCenter Orchestrator gives vSphere admins increased automation capabilities. Continue Reading

Tip

How to build a PowerShell-based workflow in vCO

With the vCenter Orchestrator PowerShell plug-in, administrators can build a workflow to execute PowerCLI scripts on a Windows server. Continue Reading

Tip

How to use VMware Orchestrator

There may be a bit of a learning curve to understand VMware Orchestrator, but an administrator with a solid grasp of its functionality will be better for it. Continue Reading

Tip

The workflow-automation king

VMware Orchestrator automates all the work, eliminating a lot of manual virtualization tasks and easing the life of administrators. Continue Reading

Answer

Automatically consolidate VMware snapshots in vSphere 5

If you need to create snapshots of recurring tasks, experts suggest using VMware vCenter Orchestrator to consolidate them. Continue Reading

5Glossary-

Key automation terms

6Quiz-

How well do you know PowerCLI 5.5?

You might have known PowerCLI before, but how well do you know the newest features? This quiz will help determine if you're an automation expert.

Take the quiz

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