VMware vRealize – What is vRealize Orchestrator(vRO)?


This is my interpterion of VMware vRealise Orchestrator at a high level. VMware vRealise Orchestrator is a centralised location to create workflows, create actions and define configuration elements to automate tasks. In ddition there is a useful tool built-in which can auto generate documentation based on your workflows created.

so, how does vRO compare to my previous work?

My first impression of vRO, is the tool reiterates the structure I have been putting in place via PowerShell scripts on previous projects and demonstrations.

Previously I would create a simple CSV which contained all the server / virtual machine information

See my previous work on bulk virtual machine deployments:

The logic is :

Within vRealise the procedures are all done in work flows. Its worth noting scriptable tasks are in JavaScript. Scripts can be added to workflows

The scriptable tasks are more interesting. You can predefine properties/variables to use within the script tasks.

Some nice key features :

  • Descriptions area for workflows
  • Version control work flows.
  • Simple Output to System.log

Is there a similar alternative product I’ve used.

Some of vRO features do have similarities to an alternative product I have recently been using called Octopus. Octopus has the options to create processes, add scripts including PowerShell and version control each release and control releases.

Moving on to more advance scriptable tasks in vRO, decisions can then be defined based on If …Else statements to define the output. When scripting within workflows, a simple but effective feature is when a variable is entered in a script, the variable name changes colour.

Out the box options
There are some out the box options such as VMware tools and Virtual Hardware upgrades with vRO workflows.
There are many more advanced topics and work flows. Feel free to share your favourite work flows or developed work flow on twitter @stephenhackers

Note : All opinions are my own.



Add VM Custom Annotation and Create a Report on Annotations

Add Custom Attributes for Notes Annotation

A request to add custom attributes for Virtual Machines when using the fat client. (Web client in 5.1 and 5.5 requires a plugin, see “vsphere-web-client-plugin-for-custom”) 6.0 doesn’t see the attributes in the Web Client, 6.5 does, see the 6.5 KB.

Fields required : Applications, Company Name, Owner, Role, VM Cost

Code Below

Connect-VIServer VC6.test.domain
New-CustomAttribute -Name “Company Name” -TargetType VirtualMachine
New-CustomAttribute -Name “VM Cost” -TargetType VirtualMachine
New-CustomAttribute -Name “Role” -TargetType VirtualMachine
New-CustomAttribute -Name “Owner” -TargetType VirtualMachine
New-CustomAttribute -Name “Applications” -TargetType VirtualMachine
disconnect-VIServer VC6.test.domain -Confirm:$false


Add the details required


Bulk Virtual Machines Deployment and Zero Clicks Part 1

Add additional code code to add annotation in to the bulk script

$companyname = $item.companyname
$applications = $item.applications
$owner = $item.owner
$role = $item.role
$cost = $item.cost

#Get the Specification and set the Nic Mapping
New-OSCustomizationNicMapping -Spec $custspec -IpMode UseStaticIp –Position 1 -IpAddress $ipaddr -SubnetMask $subnet -DefaultGateway $gateway -Dns $pdns,$sdns

#Create VM using Template with the adjusted Customization Specification
New-VM -Name $vmname -Template $template -Datastore $datastore -VMHost $vmhost -ResourcePool $resourcepool | Set-VM -OSCustomizationSpec $custspec -Confirm:$false

#Set the Network Name
Get-VM -Name $vmname | Get-NetworkAdapter | Set-NetworkAdapter -NetworkName $vlan -Confirm:$false

#Set the CPU and Memory
Get-VM -Name $vmname | Set-VM -MemoryGB $ram -NumCPU $cpu -Confirm:$false

#Set some custom attribute fieds
#New-CustomAttribute -Name “VM Cost” -TargetType VirtualMachine
#New-CustomAttribute -Name “Role” -TargetType VirtualMachine
#New-CustomAttribute -Name “Owner” -TargetType VirtualMachine
#New-CustomAttribute -Name “Applications” -TargetType VirtualMachine

#Set annotation value for custom attributes
Set-Annotation -Entity $vmname -CustomAttribute “CompanyName” -Value “$companyname”
Set-Annotation -Entity $vmname -CustomAttribute “Applications” -Value “$applications”
Set-Annotation -Entity $vmname -CustomAttribute “Owner” -Value “$owner”
Set-Annotation -Entity $vmname -CustomAttribute “Role” -Value “$role”
Set-Annotation -Entity $vmname -CustomAttribute “VM Cost” -Value “$cost”



RV Tools can be used to produce an MS Excel file to output a list of virtual machines and custom annotations RV Tools download


Alternative Report function used

Function Code Below
(greg-get-annotations tested successfully in our lab)……………….

function greg-get-annotations {
<# .DESCRIPTION Greg-get-annotations function stores information about annotation fields for vms in given cluster or in all clusters in VC. It stores the result in an arraylist $vms, you can either create a csv report from this object or display it on screen greg-get-annotations |export-csv -NoTypeInformation c:\file1.csv will export it to csv file etc… greg-get-annotations |format-table VMname,Cluster,CreatedOn,Notes will just display on screen a table with annotations that include : vm name, its cluster and field “CreatedOn” and Notes   .PARAMETER clustername Specifies the clustername against wchi report will be built   .EXAMPLE greg-get-annotations -clustername ‘cluster01’|Export-Csv c:\annotation-report.csv Will procude report on vms that resides in ‘cluster01’ and store it in csv file   .EXAMPLE greg-get-annotations -clustername ‘cluster01’|ft * Will procude report on vms that resides in ‘cluster01’ output it to screen   .EXAMPLE greg-get-annotations |Export-Csv c:\annotation-report.csv Will procude report on vms that resides in all clusters and output it to screen   .EXAMPLE greg-get-annotations Without specified -clustername switch, it will do report regarding all clusters in VC   .NOTES AUTHOR: Grzegorz Kulikowski LASTEDIT: 05/30/2011     #>
param ([string]$clustername)
if(!($clustername)){$clusters=Get-Cluster}else{$clusters=Get-Cluster $clustername}
$VMs=New-Object Collections.ArrayList
foreach ($cluster in $clusters)  {
foreach ($vmview in (get-view -ViewType VirtualMachine -SearchRoot $cluster.id)) {
$vm=New-Object PsObject
Add-Member -InputObject $vm -MemberType NoteProperty -Name VMname -Value $vmview.Name
Add-Member -InputObject $vm -MemberType NoteProperty -Name Notes -Value $vmview.Config.Annotation
Add-Member -InputObject $vm -MemberType NoteProperty -Name Cluster -Value $cluster.Name
foreach ($CustomAttribute in $vmview.AvailableField){
Add-Member -InputObject $vm -MemberType NoteProperty -Name $CustomAttribute.Name -Value ($vmview.Summary.CustomValue | ? {$_.Key -eq $CustomAttribute.Key}).value
return $VMs

greg-get-annotations |Export-Csv c:\annotation-report.csv


CSV Out Put



Bulk Virtual Machines Deployment and Zero Clicks Part 1

A recent project revisited deploying virtual machines via PowerCli. Its fair to say this isn’t a new tool but sometimes over looked.

Part 1 /  Part 2

My requirements were to deploy :

  • 100+ virtual machines (within a few hours)
  • domain join all machines
  • license the OS
  • various virtual machine specifications
  • various Windows OS versions.
  • to two different data centers within a linked vCenter setup
  • to resource pools
  • to different data stores
  • to different networks


The constraints:

  • vSphere 6.0 update 2
  • no budget for third party automation tools
  • small window of opportunity to deploy the VMs


On the plus side there was:

o    Loads of available CPU and RAM
o    Large datastores presented
o    Subnets prepared
o    Stretched VLANs across Data Centers


The tools I used to the task

  • Excel (CSV)
  • Notepad++
  • PowerCLi


The CSV file example

# Example Bulk_VMs_Deploy.csv

Template Datastore VMhost Custspec VMname IPaddress Subnet Gateway
2012_Template Storage1 ESXi.domain 2012_Spec test2003VL1
PDNS SDNS ResourcePool RAM CPU VLAN Size Format resource1 2 2 VM Network 10 thin


The Script

# Automate the deployment of customised virtual machines deployed in vSphere 6.0. Tested against u2
# Prereq’s
# 1) Populate the a CSV file called Bulk_VMs_Deploy.csv
# 2) Create a Windows Server template
# 3) Create a customization spec within vSphere for Windows
# 4) Run Bulk_VMs_Deploy.ps1 script via PowerCli as administrator (CSV file must be stored in the same location where the script is run from)
if ( !(Get-Module -Name VMware.VimAutomation.Core -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue) ) {

###### IMPORTANT, Check this file path is correct##########
. “C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\PowerCLI\Scripts\Initialize-PowerCLIEnvironment.ps1”
Connect-VIServer VC6.test.domain
#connect to a VC. This also works with Linked VC’s
$vmlist = Import-CSV .\Bulk_VMs_Deploy.csv
foreach ($item in $vmlist) {

#set variables to read from CSV
$template = $item.template
$datastore = $item.datastore
$vmhost = $item.vmhost
$custspec = $item.custspec
$vmname = $item.vmname
$ipaddr = $item.ipaddress
$subnet = $item.subnet
$gateway = $item.gateway
$pdns = $item.pdns
$sdns = $item.sdns
$resourcepool = $item.resourcepool
$cpu = $item.cpu
$ram = $item.ram
$vlan = $item.vlan
$size = $item.size
$format = $item.format

#Get the Specification and set the Nic Mapping
New-OSCustomizationNicMapping -Spec $custspec -IpMode UseStaticIp –Position 1 -IpAddress $ipaddr -SubnetMask $subnet -DefaultGateway $gateway -Dns $pdns,$sdns

#Create VM using Template with the adjusted Customization Specification
New-VM -Name $vmname -Template $template -Datastore $datastore -VMHost $vmhost -ResourcePool $resourcepool | Set-VM -OSCustomizationSpec $custspec -Confirm:$false

#Set the Network Name
Get-VM -Name $vmname | Get-NetworkAdapter | Set-NetworkAdapter -NetworkName $vlan -Confirm:$false

#Set the CPU and Memory
Get-VM -Name $vmname | Set-VM -MemoryGB $ram -NumCPU $cpu -Confirm:$false

#Additional Disk
#Get-VM -Name $vmname | New-HardDisk -CapacityGB $size -StorageFormat $format -Confirm:$false

#Remove the NicMapping
Get-OSCustomizationSpec $custspec | Get-OSCustomizationNicMapping | Remove-OSCustomizationNicMapping -Confirm:$false

#PowerOn VM
Start-VM $vmname

#Disconnect from VC.
disconnect-VIServer VC6.test.domain -Confirm:$false



Disclaimer Please take the code and evolve it into a different project? Credit / Tag me on your project Twitter #StephenHackers

Any use of this code is at your own risk. Remember bulk automation jobs require the right resources to be available.

This project & code was based on :
Which progressed to : https://communities.vmware.com/thread/436734

Part 1 /  Part 2

In What Order Do I Upgrade VMware Products and…

In What Order Do I Upgrade VMware Products and What Is Compatible? – VMware Compatibility and Order of Upgrade Best Practices Review

In What Order Do I Upgrade VMware Products and…

After attending VMware TechSummit 2017 last week, I’ve got a ton of takeaways to share over the next few months, but I wanted to get this article out there because it’s about two of the most common requests I hear: product compatibility and the order of product upgrades.

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New vCenter Server Appliance Deployment…

New vCenter Server Appliance Deployment Walkthroughs – via VMware vSphere Blog

New vCenter Server Appliance Deployment…

vSphere 6.5 takes the VCSA deployment experience to the next level. The VCSA 6.5 installer no longer requires a plugin, making it browser agnostic. If that wasn’t enough, the VCSA installer now supports use on macOS, Linux, and Window. The VMware Feature Walkthrough site has two new VCSA 6.5 deployment walkthroughs. These two step-by-step guides cover the VCSA 6.5 embedded and external deployments.

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Learn NSX Day 9 : Load Balancing Feature

EDGE Load Balancing
Networking and Security > NSX EDGE > Manage > Load Balancer tab.



Three load balancing options available

  • Enable Loadbalance – For internal servers distributed traffic
  • Enable Service Insertion – Load balance with third party vendor appliances
  • Acceleration Enabled – For faster L4 LB engine instead of L7

You can also select a variety of logging options

Details can be found in the VMware Document Centre


vSphere standard switch – Load Balancing

Diagram try to display my understanding of the vSphere standard switch load balancing using Round Robin of physical NICs

Load Balancing Feature


Topics :
Learn NSX – Home
Learn NSX Day 1 : NSX Requirements
Learn NSX Day 2 : NSX Deployment Best Practice
Learn NSX Day 3 : NSX Manager and NSX Controller
Learn NSX Day 4 : NSX Roles
Learn NSX Day 5 : NSX HA, Edge, REST API
Learn NSX  Day 6 : NSX and Logical Switches
Learn NSX Day 7 : Deploying ESXi
Learn NSX Day 8 : vDS (vSphere Distributed Switch)
Learn NSX Day 9 : Load Balancing Feature
Learn NSX Day 10 : Layer 2 Bridging
Learn NSX Day 11 : NSX EDGE
Learn NSX Day 12 : Spoof Guard
Learn NSX Day 13 : Distributed Router and Distributed Logical Firewall
Learn NSX Day 14 : Monitoring
Learn NSX Day 15 : NSX Backups
Learn NSX Day 16 : Useful Commands & Errors


These are notes made during my study of VMware NSX for vSphere. Apologise if any of the detail is incorrect. Hopefully posts under “Learn NSX” help others to start learning about VMware NSX for vSphere.

Fix: vCenter failure to upgrade – unable to…

“Fix: vCenter failure to upgrade – unable to configure log browser windows service” via vnotions.com

Fix: vCenter failure to upgrade – unable to…

During a recent upgrade from vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2d to vCenter Server 5.5 Update 3b it kept failing at the web client upgrade. After successfully upgrading Single-Sign On I proceeded with the upgrade of vSphere Web Client. I got the following error during the installation: Error 29702 unable to configure log browser windows service…Read More

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