VMware makes a tool that in my personal opinion is often overlooked. vCenter Orchestrator can be used to set-up custom automated workflows. You can automate any of the 800 plus tasks that are possible with vCenter (create virtual machines, start virtual machines etc…) You can also leverage this tool to use with 3rd party solutions like service desk, change management systems, and other solutions.
- Drag and drop components into workflows
- There are several out of box workflows that are included. A good example of this would be a startup notification when a virtual machine is powered on.
- Comprehensive list of functionality, a lot of which can be done by novice IT administrators.
- Can be used with VMwares Lifecycle Manager for added functionality.
- It is free and comes with vCenter Server!!
Why You Should Care:
Well one, time is important, you would be surprised how many of these tasks people do manually. Once Orchestrator is installed and running a lot of the mundane task can be assigned, I like to think of it as a personal assistant for your VM’s. Also, we have found that some customers actually pay professional services or for 3rd party applications when a lot of these features are included, so using this can save you some money.
Last Minute Notes:
- Orchestrator requires a database (MySQL, SQL, and PostgreSQL) to store information such as workflows, users, roles, and permissions.
- You will also need a LDAP server (Active Directory, eDirectory, or Sun Java Directory).
- Make sure you set-up a static or fixed IP.
- Because of workloads, best practices states that the database and the Orchestrator server are on separate hosts.