Tutorial

VMware automation: Site Recovery Manager, vSphere PowerCLI and more

Alyssa Wood, Associate Site Editor

VMware offers a variety of products for workflow automation and orchestration.

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VMware vCloud Director is a cloud management and deployment product that provides task automation and workflow orchestration. Other VMware automation products include vCenter Orchestrator, vCenter Chargeback and scripting tools such as the vSphere PowerCLI. In addition, Site Recovery Manager (SRM) helps to automate disaster recovery (DR), and Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) automates workload balancing.

This section of our workflow orchestration guide covers VMware automation and the products you might consider for automating a VMware infrastructure.

Host Profiles vs. vSphere PowerCLI: The war for VMware automation supremacy
By automating VMware host configuration, you can ensure consistency and reliability. When it comes to building hosts, automation also makes it easier to roll out a new product or rebuild a failed host. For configuration automation, you can use vSphere Host Profiles or the vSphere PowerCLI. Host Profiles allows you to create host templates with preconfigured settings and quickly apply them to new hosts. With the vSphere PowerCLI, a single script can configure an entire host.

Using VMware Site Recovery Manager for disaster recovery
VMware Site Recovery Manager allows for the automatic replication of VM data to a disaster recovery site. With Site Recovery Manager, you can execute DR plans with a single command and automate failover. Plus, this VMware automation tool allows you to perform non-disruptive environment testing and reconfigure VM networking at the DR site. Just make sure you follow the Site Recovery Manager requirements for storage and networking before implementing this VMware automation tool.

VCenter Orchestrator: The workflow-automation king
VMware vCenter Orchestrator provides workflow automation so you can get back to more important daily activities. If you want to add RAM to a Web server, for instance, vCenter Orchestrator can automate the entire process -- from altering the VM’s properties to provisioning a new host if the added RAM overextends the infrastructure. This VMware automation tool can also import and export workflows. Plus, it has an open, plug-in-based architecture that enables third-party companies to write code for custom workflow automation.

Enabling VMware DRS and HA: Advanced vSphere features
VMware High Availability and Distributed Resource Scheduler are two important VMware automation offerings that provide resource monitoring and distribution. High Availability monitors whether sufficient resources are available in the cluster and automatically restarts VMs on different physical hosts in the event of failure. DRS works a little differently: It automatically migrates servers across cluster hosts in an effort to eliminate resource contention.

How to install VMware vCenter Chargeback
Chargeback is a critical part of VMware automation for virtualization and cloud automation. A chargeback policy measures the resource usage of an organization’s different business units, including their compute cycle usage, storage consumption and licensing costs. Such a policy then allows the organization to automatically bill its business groups for their resource consumption. By installing VMware vCenter Chargeback, you can better measure infrastructure costs and do away with manual billing.

This was first published in August 2011

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