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Enable VMware automation with these top tools and techniques

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 tasks 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 with the infrastructure also reduces the chances of human error.

In general, automation is something that can benefit a business as administrators build their proficiency with the 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.

Orchestration is a complementary process that manages the interactions between automated tasks. It is becoming increasingly necessary as automation grows and workflows become more complex.

This guide covers the software, techniques and best practices VMware professionals are using in their environments to streamline common processes, speed up workflows and manage intricate policies

1Tactics and tools-

The 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 on any initiative.

Tip

Automation and 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

Feature

Puppet Enterprise removes manual configuration

Use Puppet Enterprise to automate software and server management. Puppet enables infrastructure as code, which removes the need for manual infrastructure configuration. 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 the automation tools

Server automation tools save time and reduce errors, but administrators should assess on a case-by-case basis whether point systems or suites are 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 VMware 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 vCloud Suite and other features may 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 maintain control of their infrastructure with vSphere PowerCLI. Continue Reading

Answer

Find out 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 the best 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

PowerCLI simplifies infrastructure management

Simplify the management of VMware infrastructure tasks with PowerCLI. Continue Reading

3vRealize Automation-

One way to automate

VRealize Automation (vRA) -- formerly called vCloud Automation Center -- is a part of VMware's vRealize Suite of hybrid cloud management products. VRA enables the rapid deployment of services across a number of hypervisors and public clouds. Its high extensibility, which helps companies create comprehensive workflows, services and reporting, is a prime feature. VRA gives IT admins the ability to define available services and make them available for users, freeing the admin from manual allocation.

Answer

How do you integrate VMware automation into your data center?

VRA integrates with many different tools and services to provide a high degree of extendibility, which makes it a flexible tool in data centers with third-party systems. Continue Reading

Tip

What improvements does vRA add?

VRA 7 builds on older versions with new automation tools and streamlined installation. Continue Reading

Tip

Use blueprints to build a vRA environment

Follow this in-depth guide to establish a basic vRA environment with VM blueprints. Continue Reading

Answer

How can you protect the vRA appliance?

Back up the vRA appliance with a variety of tactics, including snapshots and replication. Continue Reading

Answer

Use service catalogs to automate service requests

Bogged down with IT requests? Use vRA to set up self-service portals and to process requests without the stress. Continue Reading

Answer

Take advantage of vRA's backup and restoration tools

Proper backup and restoration are critical to success with vRA. Be strategic and perform a full backup or restoration, or be specific and target crucial components. Continue Reading

4vRealize Orchestrator-

Streamline your workflows

VRealize Orchestrator (vRO) is part of vRealize Automation in VMware's vRealize suite of products. Orchestrator comes packaged with Automation and enables the fine-tuned management of automated tasks and services. Whereas Automation is designed for cloud automation tools based on policies to deliver IT services, Orchestrator is designed as a platform for automated workflows that can handle nearly any IT process.

Answer

Coordinate vRA and vRO

VRealize Automation and Orchestrator are similar products, but they handle different needs. Learn the differences between them. Continue Reading

Tutorial

How to configure vRO

Curious about the basics of vRO? Use this guide to deploy an out-of-the-box configuration. Continue Reading

Tip

Automation and orchestration enable improved efficiency

The virtualized data center is getting more complex every day. Use vRO to coordinate complicated workflows and tasks. Continue Reading

Tutorial

How to use vRO

Follow along with this tutorial to learn the essential components of vRO and construct some basic workflows. Continue Reading

Tip

Use vRO to script workflows

Become a vRO expert and learn how to design complex, useful workflows with this tip. Continue Reading

5Other VMware automation tools-

Automate security, analysis and networking

VMware automation tools exist in a variety of VMware products beyond the vRealize suite. Admins can take advantage of the automation capabilities in AppDefense to catch problems quickly, Workspace One Intelligence to respond to security and performance data, and NSX to automate networking.

Tip

Catch problems as they arise with AppDefense

AppDefense uses security automation to identify changes to a VM's behavior. Continue Reading

News

Save time and automate IT decisions

Workspace One Intelligence automatically collects and analyzes data from deployed devices, which enables automatic responses to security and performance problems. Continue Reading

Tip

Automation is among many use cases for NSX

Interested in data center consolidation? NSX offers network automation that integrates with vRealize Automation. Continue Reading

6Glossary-

Key automation terms

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