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Uncovering the automation capabilities of vRealize Suite

VMware vRealize Suite cloud management platform offers a number of exciting features, including vRealize Automation and Orchestrator, to help users master the hybrid cloud.

VMware vRealize Suite is an enterprise-level cloud management platform designed specifically for the hybrid cloud. VRealize Suite bundles VMware's existing management software and extends the capabilities of vCloud Suite, making it a comprehensive software stack. VRealize has gained special attention for its ability to deploy and manage machines across multiple hypervisors and cloud platforms, in large part due to its automation tools, vRealize Orchestrator and vRealize Automation.

In early February 2016, VMware debuted vRealize Suite 7; the update includes six new components intended to further boost automation and extensibility. Before checking out the latest version, brush up on your vRealize knowledge with these top five tips.

Paving the way for vRealize

Before getting started with vRealize, there are some precautions admins would be wise to take. Although VMware has reduced the number of Windows machines required to run the vRealize Suite to simplify the deployment process, there are plenty of other pieces still left to the puzzle. From the vRealize automation server to the vRealize Orchestrator, there are a number of virtual building blocks admins should test in a lab environment before fully deploying the vRealize Suite. With a little patience and some careful planning, you can easily avoid troubleshooting woes down the road.

How vRealize Automation and Orchestrator differ

As automation and orchestration have become increasingly popular, software giants like VMware have churned out new products to meet business demands. VRealize Automation and vRealize Orchestrator, two integral parts of the VMware vRealize Suite, were designed to satisfy these needs. Though both platforms use automation to solve common problems, they are inherently different.

While Automation is a cloud automation tool designed to deliver IT services to cloud-based businesses, Orchestrator is a run-book automation platform which utilizes workflows to handle IT processes. Both tools work well separately, though they can also be used in harmony. In the end, it all boils down to use case, and admins should brush up on what each has to offer to determine which tool is the best choice for their environment.

Build extensibility with vRealize Automation and Orchestrator

Though vRealize Automation and Orchestrator perform different intended functions, they both work to increase extensibility by integrating with external technologies, from systems management tools to configuration management databases. VMware designed these tools with enterprise environments in mind, as vRealize tools cover more territory and work longer than other tools on the market.

But the benefits of vRealize Orchestrator and Automation extensibility don't end there -- both tools also increase lifecycle extensibility, meaning they add custom logic to steps of the default machine lifecycle pattern. For those who place a premium value on lifecycle workflow management, vRealize Orchestrator and Automation can make all the difference.

Workflows made simple with vRealize Orchestrator

When VMware acquired Dunes Technologies in 2007, the company began laying the groundwork for vRealize Orchestrator. Though Orchestrator has been around for some time -- an earlier incarnation was known as vCenter Orchestrator -- the interest has spiked as of late.

So why has vRealize Orchestrator suddenly been thrown into the spotlight? In recent years, VMware has beefed up the offering with new core features, more robust documentation and increased high availability. Orchestrator also uses automation to streamline otherwise lengthy processes, saving admins time and trouble. Though other competitors have entered the market to challenge its claim to the throne, Orchestrator's community support and open architecture have made it a mainstay in the world of virtualization.

Integrating vRealize Automation in your data center

VMware has gone a step above traditional automation with its vRealize Automation offering, released in December 2015. Designed to work with multiple hypervisors and public clouds, vRealize Automation is VMware's latest effort to provide an increased level of expandability. This expandability extends across four areas, including creating IT services, and ultimately serves the purpose of accommodating growth and allowing for seamless integration between Automation and preexisting infrastructure tools.

Next Steps

vRealize Orchestrator delivers enhanced administrative powers

Learn the basics of VMware vRealize

VMware vRealize Automation 7 builds on previous versions

Dig Deeper on Using VMware cloud computing tools