AWS IPAM with vRealize Automation Cloud and InfoBlox Part 2

This is the second part of this series. In this article we will complete the configuration of the InfoBlox, then setup IPAM in vRealize Automation Cloud (vRAC). And finally deploy a two machine blueprint to test the Allocation and Deallocation Lambda functions.

The first thing is to add some attributes required by vRAC within InfoBlox. Click on Administration -> Extensible Attributes. Add the two attributes shown below.

  • VMware NIC index (lower case I), type Integer
  • VMware resource ID, type String

Click on the Add Button, type in the new Attribute name and Type, then click Save & Close. Then repeat for the other Attribute.

Next we need to set up an IPAM range. Here I’m going to create a small range in 172.31.32.0/16. Click on Data Management -> IPAM. Select List, then check the box next to 172.31.32.0/16.

Click Add -> Range -> IPv4.

Add the range following these steps.

  • Step 1, Next
  • Step 2, Enter the range start/end and Range name. Then Next.
  • Step 3, Next
  • Step 4, Next
  • Step 5, Save & Close

Download the InfoBlox Plugin from the VMware Exchange.

Now to add the endpoint in vRAC. Click on Infrastructure -> ADD INTEGRATION. Then click on IPAM.

Click on MANAGE IPAM PROVIDERS.

Then IMPORT PROVIDER PACKAGE, then select the package you downloaded earlier.

The import will take a few minutes. Next select Infoblox from the Provider drop-down box.

Give the Integration a name, select your Running Environment (Cloud Account), Username, Password, and Hostname (IP or hostname. Example 10.10.10.10 or myipam.corp.local. Do not append HTTPS). Then check the box next to Infoblox.IPAM.DisableCertificateCheck. Then the pencil to edit.

Change Value to True to disable the certificate check.

Next Validate the connection and Save it.

Next assign the IPAM range to a vRAC network.

Goto Infrastructure -> Networks, then select the network hosting 172.31.32.0/16. Click the box to the left, then MANAGE IP RANGES.

Select External -> Your Provider -> and your Address space (default). Then check the network hosting your IPAM Range.

Add the network to an existing or new Network Profile.

Now it’s time to test the integration. Here I have a blueprint with two machines. The first will get the next available IP out of the Range (172.31.32.10). The second will be assigned the user requested IP of 172.31.32.20.

formatVersion: 1
inputs: {}
resources:
  Cloud_Network_1:
    type: Cloud.Network
    properties:
      networkType: existing
      name: ipam
      constraints:
        - tag: 'ipam:infoblox_aws'
  Cloud_Machine_1:
    type: Cloud.Machine
    properties:
      image: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
      flavor: generic.tiny
      remoteAccess:
        authentication: keyPairName
        keyPair: id_rsa
      Infoblox.IPAM.Network.dnsSuffix: corp.local
      # Infoblox.IPAM.createHostRecord: false
      # Infoblox.IPAM.createAddressRecord: false
      # Infoblox.IPAM.Network.enableDns: false
      # Infoblox.IPAM.Network.dnsView: somethingElse
      networks:
        - network: '${resource.Cloud_Network_1.id}'
          assignment: static
          # will assign first available if address is not set
          # address: 172.31.15.11
          assignPublicIpAddress: false
  Cloud_Machine_2:
    type: Cloud.Machine
    properties:
      image: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
      flavor: generic.tiny
      remoteAccess:
        authentication: keyPairName
        keyPair: id_rsa
      Infoblox.IPAM.Network.dnsSuffix: corp.local
      # Infoblox.IPAM.createHostRecord: false
      # Infoblox.IPAM.createAddressRecord: false
      # Infoblox.IPAM.Network.enableDns: false
      # Infoblox.IPAM.Network.dnsView: somethingElse
      networks:
        - network: '${resource.Cloud_Network_1.id}'
          assignment: static
          # will assign first available if address is not set
          address: 172.31.32.20
          assignPublicIpAddress: false

Deploy the blueprint, then check to see if the Lambda function run. Click on Extensibility -> Action Runs, then change the run type to INTEGRATION RUNS. Then click on the first Infoblox_AllocateIP Action. The assigned IP will be in the Outputs section near the end of the JSON.

{
  "ipAllocations": [
    {
      "domain": "corp.local",
      "ipRangeId": "range/ZG5zLmRoY3BfcmFuZ2UkMTcyLjMxLjMyLjEwLzE3Mi4zMS4zMi4yMC8vLzAv:172.31.32.10/172.31.32.20/default",
      "ipVersion": "IPv4",
      "properties": {
        "Infoblox.IPAM.RangeId": "range/ZG5zLmRoY3BfcmFuZ2UkMTcyLjMxLjMyLjEwLzE3Mi4zMS4zMi4yMC8vLzAv:172.31.32.10/172.31.32.20/default",
        "Infoblox.IPAM.Network.dnsView": "default"
      },
      "ipAddresses": [
        "172.31.32.20"
      ],
      "ipAllocationId": "/resources/network-interfaces/ebef4233-6e94-411d-9f9f-f26096acaa58"
    }
  ]

Looks good so far. Now let’s check InfoBlox. Login, then go to Data Management -> IPAM.

Then check to see the hosts where added to corp.local. Click on Data Management -> DNS -> corp.local. You should see the two new entries.

Now destroy the deployment to make sure the IPAM and DNS entries are cleaned up.

The DNS entries where also removed.

So there you have it, vRAC, AWS and InfoBlox integration.

AWS IPAM with vRealize Automation Cloud and InfoBlox Part 1

The next two articles will discuss how to setup InfoBlox for AWS as an IPAM provider to vRealize Automation Cloud (vRAC). InfoBlox will be hosted in AWS using a community AMI. I’ll be using the latest version (1.0) of the VMware InfoBlox vRA 8.x plugin available on the VMware Solution Exchange, and InfoBlox version 8.5.0 (Any version that supports WAPI v2.7 should work).

Two AWS accounts are needed, one for InfoBlox vDiscovery and the other for vRAC AWS Cloud Account.

First the InfoBlox vDiscovery user, create a role following the directions on page 35 of the vNIOS for AWS document. Then create a new user, and download the credentials.

Secondly, assuming you already have your AWS Cloud Account setup, add the following roles and permissions to your AWS vRAC user.

  • IAMReadOnlyAccess / AWS Managed Policy – Needed when adding the InfoBlox Integration
  • AWSLambdaBasicExecutionRole / AWS Managed Policy – Used by the plugin to run Lambda functions
  • IAM:PassRole / Inline policy – Needed when adding the InfoBlox Integration

Here is a screen shot of my working AWS Policy and Permissions for the vrac user account.

Now on to deploying the InfoBlox for AWS AMI. This deployment requires two subnets in the same availability zone. Detailed installation directions start on page 22 of the NVIOS for AWS document. Make sure to select one of the DDI BYOL AMI’s. I’m using ami-044c7a717e19bb001 for this blog. Here is a screen shot of the search of the community InfoBlox AMI’s.

Some notes on the AMI deployment. 1., Make sure the additional (new) interface is on a different subnet. The management interface (eth1) will need internet access. 2., Assign a Security Group which allows SSH from your local machine, and HTTPS from anywhere.

Take a 10 or 15 minute break as the instance boots and the Status Checks complete. You may use this time to assign an EIP to the ENI assigned to eth1. You can get the Interface ID by clicking on the instance eth1 interface under Instance Description and copying the Interface ID value (at the top of the popup).

Next assign a new or existing EIP to the Network Interface.

Take a 10 or 15 minute break as the instance boots and the Status Checks complete. SSH to the instance as admin with the default password of infoblox. Once logged in you will need to add some temporary licenses (Or permanent if you have them). Add the license options shown in this screen shot. When adding #4, select #2, IB-V825. This will force a reboot.

Give the appliance about 5 minutes before browsing to https://<EIP Address>. Login as admin with the default password of infoblox.

The first login will eventually send you the Grid Setup Wizard. My environment was setup using these settings.

  1. Step 1, Configure as a Grid Master
  2. Step 2, Changed the Shared Secret
  3. Step 3, No changes
  4. Step 4, Changed the password to something more complex than ‘infoblox’
  5. Step 5, No changes
  6. Step 6, Click Finish

Next enable the DNS Resolver in Grid Properties (Click on Grid, click Grid Properties, then add the DNS server under DNS Resolver.

Add a new Authoritative forward-mapping zone under Data Management -> DNS. I’m using corp.local for this article.

Then start the DNS server under Grid -> Grid Manager. Then click DNS, select the grid master, and click the start button.

Now on to discovering the VPC, Subnets and used IPs. Click on Data Management -> IPAM, then click on vDiscovery on the right hand side. I used the following settings.

  1. Step 1, Job Name – AWS. Member infoblox.localdomain (assuming you left everything default when setting up the grid).
  2. Step 2, Server Type – AWS, Service Endpoint – ec2.<region>.amazonaws.com, Access Key ID – <vDiscovery User Access Key>, Secret Access Key <vDiscovery Access Key>.
  3. Step 3, no changes
  4. Step 4, enable DNS host record creation. Set the computed DNS name to ${vm_name}
  5. Step 5, Click Save & Close

Here is a screen shot of my settings for Step 4 (above).

Now to run the vDiscovery. Click the drop down arrow on Discovery and select vDiscovery Manager. Select the AWS Job, then click start.

Hopefully the job will complete in a few seconds (Assuming you have a small environment). My job ran fine and discovered the two VPC’s I have in my Region.

Drilling down into the first Subnet in my default VPC lists the addresses currently in use or reserved. Here I set the filter to show a Status equals used.

This should do for now. The next article will walk through the integration with vRAC, including the deployment of an AWS machine with defined IP, and one with the first available IP in a Range.

Stay tuned.

vExpert 2020

It looks like my efforts in 2019 finally paid off, as I was awarded VMware vExpert 2020 in late February 2020.

I started working on content early last year, publishing close to 10 articles between knotacoder and my employers website.

Plus I signed up for a couple of VMware Design Programs (vRA and vROPS) which also helped give me more items to claim on my submissions.

Thanks to everyone who visited this site since last year. I’m currently working on additional vRAC content even as I type.

vRAC Security Groups revisited

This is follow up to the previous article. A co-worker of mine came up with a better and much cleaner solution.

My original solution worked, but introduced a nasty deployment topology diagram.  In effect it showed every SG as attached, even unused ones. This diagram is very misleading and doesn’t reflect the actual assignment of the Security Groups.

The new solution is much cleaner and more closely represents what the user actually requested.  Here the two mandatory SG’s as well as the required role SG are attached.

The new conceptual code seemed logical, but vRAC just didn’t like it.

formatVersion: 1
inputs:
  extraSG:
    type: string
    title: Select extra SG
    default: nsx:compute_web_sg
    oneOf:
      - title: web
        const: nsx:compute_web_sg
      - title: app
        const: nsx:compute_app_sg
      - title: db
        const: nsx:compute_db_sg
resources:
  ROLE_SG:
    type: Cloud.SecurityGroup
    properties:
      constraints:
        - tag: '${input.extraSG}'
      securityGroupType: existing
  Cloud_Machine_1:
    type: Cloud.Machine
    properties:
      image: RHEL 8 - Encrypted EBS
      flavor: generic.small
      networks:
        - network: '${resource.Cloud_Network_1.id}'
          assignPublicIpAddress: false
          securityGroups:
            - '${resource.ROLE_SG.id}'

After some tinkering I came up the following blueprint.

formatVersion: 1
inputs:
  nsxNetwork:
    type: string
    default: compute
    enum:
      - compute
      - transit
  extraSG:
    type: string
    title: Select extra SG
    default: web
    enum:
      - web
      - app
      - db
resources:
  ROLE_SG:
    type: Cloud.SecurityGroup
    properties:
      name: '${input.extraSG + ''_sg''}'
      constraints:
        - tag: '${''nsx:'' + input.nsxNetwork + ''_'' + input.extraSG + ''_sg''}'
      securityGroupType: existing
  vmOverlay:
    type: Cloud.SecurityGroup
    properties:
      name: NSX Overlay
      constraints:
        - tag: 'nsx:vm-overlay-sg'
      securityGroupType: existing
  WebDMZ:
    type: Cloud.SecurityGroup
    properties:
      name: WebDMZ
      constraints:
        - tag: 'nsx:compute_webdmz'
      securityGroupType: existing
  Cloud_Machine_1:
    type: Cloud.Machine
    properties:
      remoteAccess:
        authentication: keyPairName
        keyPair: id-rsa 
      image: RHEL 8 - Encrypted EBS
      flavor: generic.small
      constraints:
        - tag: 'cloud_type:public'
      tags:
        - key: nsxcloud
          value: trans_ssh
      networks:
        - network: '${resource.Cloud_Network_1.id}'
          assignPublicIpAddress: false
          securityGroups:
            - '${resource.WebDMZ.id}'
            # Adding for NSX Cloud
            - '${resource.vmOverlay.id}'
            # if input.extraSG = "web" then WEB_SG else if imput.extraSG = "app" then APP_DB else DB_SG
            # - '${input.extraSG == "web" ? resource.WEB_SG.id : input.extraSG == "app" ? resource.APP_SG.id : resource.DB_SG.id}'
            - '${resource.ROLE_SG.id}'
  Cloud_Network_1:
    type: Cloud.Network
    properties:
      networkType: existing
      constraints:
        - tag: 'nsx:cloud_compute'

As you can see, there is more than one way to solve use cases with vRAC.  The key sometimes is just to keep trying different options to get the results you want.

vRAC Security Groups lessons learned

A recent vRealize Automation Cloud (vRAC) use case involved applying AWS Security Groups(SG) when deploying a new machine. First, every new AWS machine will be assigned two standard SGs. A third one will be assigned based on the application type (Web, App, DB).

After looking at the Cloud Assembly blueprint expression syntax page, it looked like we would be limited to only two options in our condition (if else). For example, ${input.count < 2 ? "small" : "large"}. Or if input.count < 2 then “small” else “large”.

But we have three options, not two. Effectively we needed.

if (extraSG == 'web' {
then web_sg }
else if (extraSG = 'app' {
then app_sg }
else {
db_sg
}

Or using javascript shorthand.

extraSG == 'web' ? web_sg : extraSG == 'app' ? app_sg : db_sg

Or converted into something vRAC can consume.

${input.extraSG == "web" ? resource.WEB_SG.id : input.extraSG == "app" ? resource.APP_SG.id : resource.DB_SG.id}

Lets see what happens when we deploy this blueprint selecting WEB_SG from the list.

formatVersion: 1
inputs:
  extraSG:
    type: string
    title: Select extra SG
    default: web
    oneOf:
      - title: WEB_SG
        const: web
      - title: APP_SG
        const: app
      - title: DB_SG
        const: db
resources:
  WEB_SG:
    type: Cloud.SecurityGroup
    properties:
      name: WEB_SG
      constraints:
        - tag: 'nsx:compute_web_sg'
      securityGroupType: existing
  APP_SG:
    type: Cloud.SecurityGroup
    properties:
      name: APP_SG
      constraints:
        - tag: 'nsx:compute_app_db'
      securityGroupType: existing
  DB_SG:
    type: Cloud.SecurityGroup
    properties:
      name: DB_SG
      constraints:
        - tag: 'nsx:compute_db_sg'
      securityGroupType: existing
  vmOverlay:
    type: Cloud.SecurityGroup
    properties:
      name: NSX Overlay
      constraints:
        - tag: 'nsx:vm-overlay-sg'
      securityGroupType: existing
  WebDMZ:
    type: Cloud.SecurityGroup
    properties:
      name: WebDMZ
      constraints:
        - tag: 'nsx:compute_webdmz'
      securityGroupType: existing
  Cloud_Machine_1:
    type: Cloud.Machine
    properties:
      remoteAccess:
        authentication: keyPairName
        keyPair: id-rsa
      image: RHEL 8
      flavor: generic.small
      constraints:
        - tag: 'cloud_type:public'
      tags:
        - key: nsxcloud
          value: trans_ssh
      networks:
        - network: '${resource.Cloud_Network_1.id}'
          assignPublicIpAddress: false
          securityGroups:
            - '${resource.WebDMZ.id}'
            # Adding for NSX Cloud
            - '${resource.vmOverlay.id}'
            # if input.extraSG = "web" then WEB_SG else if imput.extraSG = "app" then APP_DB else DB_SG
            - '${input.extraSG == "web" ? resource.WEB_SG.id : input.extraSG == "app" ? resource.APP_SG.id : resource.DB_SG.id}'
  Cloud_Network_1:
    type: Cloud.Network
    properties:
      networkType: existing
      constraints:
        - tag: 'nsx:cloud_compute'

Let’s take a look at the deployment topology from vRAC.

This diagram indicates that all of the SGs where attached to the machine. That can’t be right. I wonder what the machine looks like in AWS.

Hmm, looks like a bug to me.

Now on to leveraging NSX Cloud with vRAC. Stay tuned.

vRAC Ansible Control Host Lessons Learned

Now that I’ve spent a couple of months with vRealize Automation Cloud (vRAC) (AKA VMware Cloud Assembly) I figured it would be a good time to jot down some lessons learned from deploying and using several Ansible Control Hosts (ACH).

My first ACH was an Ubuntu machine deployed on our vSphere cluster. This deployment model requires connectivity to a Cloud Proxy. All of my ACH’s since then have been on an AWS t2.micro Amazon Linux instance. The remaining blog focuses on that environment.

First you should assign an Elastic IP if you plan on shutting it down when not in use. Failing to do so makes your vRAC integrated control host unreachable when it reboots, as the IP will change.

This leaves you with an unusable ACH, with no option but to replace it with a new one. A word of warning here, make sure to delete any deployments that used that ACH. Failing to do so will leave you with an undeletable deployment. Plus you may not even be able to delete the ACH from the integrations page. Oh joy!

Next is the AWS security group. The off shore developers cannot provide a list of source IP’s for any vRAC call into the ACH. Or in other words you have to open your server up to the world. I’ve been told they are working on this, but do not know when they’ll have a fix.

So, I’ve been experimenting with ConfigServer Security and Firewall (CSF). My current test is pretty out of the box and is using two block lists in csf.blocklists. So far so good, as I was able to add the test ACH without an issue, and it is blocking tons of IP’s. The host is using about 180K of RAM with the blocklists in place.

Changing the SSH server port to something other than port 22 doesn’t work right now. I brought this up on my weekly VMware call, so hopefully they’ll get it fixed in the near future.

I’m using an S3 bucket to backup my playbooks once a day. I did have to create an IAM Role with S3 permissions and assigned it to my ACH. I’ll eventually the files pushed up to a repository.

Now on to troubleshooting. One of my beefs is the naming convention of the log files in the ACH users home directory (var/tmp/vmware/provider/user_defined_script/). The only way to figure out which directory to look in is to list them by date (ls -alt) or do a find on the machine IP.

The ACH playbook log directory contains different files depending on the run state. A running deployment contains additional information like what the actual ansible command was called (exec). Exec disappears when the deployment is complete or it errors out, making it almost impossible to look at the ansible command and figure out why it failed. My work around is to quickly jump into the directory and print out ‘exec’.

The ansible command isn’t the only thing that is deleted when a deployment fails, they also delete the host and user variables under /etc/ansible/host_vars/{ip address}. I just keep two windows open, and print out the contents of anything beginning with ‘vra*’. However, ‘log.txt’ in the deployment log folder does contain the extra host variables, but does not contain the user variables.

I’m still figuring out how much space I need in the users home directory for log files. vRAC doesn’t delete folders when destroying a deployment. I suspect an active ACH will eventually fill up the ACH user log files (var/tmp/vmware/provider/user_defined_script/). Right now I’m seeing an average folder size of a bit less than 20k for completed deployments, or about 1G per 60 deployments. And no this isn’t on my grip list yet, but will be.

That’s it for now. Come back soon.

vRAC AWS Windows Domain Join using Ansible

My most recent vRealize Automation Cloud (vRAC) task was to leverage Ansible to join a new AWS Windows machine to an Active Directory domain.

First off I needed to figure out how to get WinRM working in an AWS AMI. Initially I just deployed a Windows instance, installed WinRM, added a new account admin account, then created a private AMI. This did work, sometimes, but really wasn’t the best solution for the customer. What I really needed was a way to install WinRM and create the new user in an EC2 instance deployed from a publicly available AMI.

The dots finally connected last week when it dawned on me that vRAC cloudConfig equals AWS instance User Data. Yes it was that simple.

After reviewing Running Commands on your Windows Instance at Launch, and some tinkering I came up with this basic vRAC cloudConfig PowerShell script. It adds the new user in the local Administrators group, then installs and configures WinRM. This leaves me a clean Ansible ready machine.

  cloudConfig: |
    <powershell>
    # Add new user for ansible access
    $password = ConvertTo-SecureString ${input.new_user_password} -AsPlainText -Force
    $newUser = New-LocalUser -Name "${input.new_user_name}" -Password $password -FullName "Ansible Remote User" -Description "Ansible remote user" 
    Add-LocalGroupMember -Group "Administrators" -Member "${input.new_user_name}"    
    # Setup WinRM
    Invoke-Expression ((New-Object System.Net.Webclient).DownloadString('https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ansible/ansible/devel/examples/scripts/ConfigureRemotingForAnsible.ps1'))
    </powershell>

The resulting instance User Data includes the expanded variables as seen below.

<powershell>
# Add new user for ansible access
$password = ConvertTo-SecureString VMware123! -AsPlainText -Force
$newUser = New-LocalUser -Name "ansibleuser" -Password $password -FullName "Ansible Remote User" -Description "Ansible remote user" 
Add-LocalGroupMember -Group "Administrators" -Member "ansibleuser"    
# Setup WinRM
Invoke-Expression ((New-Object System.Net.Webclient).DownloadString('https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ansible/ansible/devel/examples/scripts/ConfigureRemotingForAnsible.ps1'))
</powershell>

The playbook turned out to be fairly simple. It waits for 5 minutes, points DNS to the DC (also running DNS), renames the machine, and joins it to the domain.

- hosts: win
  gather_facts: no
  tasks:

  - name: Pause for OS
    pause:
      minutes: 5

  - name: Change DNS to DC
    win_dns_client:
      adapter_names: '*'
      ipv4_addresses:
        - 10.10.0.100

  - name: Rename machine
    win_hostname:
      name: "{{ hostname }}"
    register: res

  - name: Reboot if necessary
    win_reboot:
    when: res.reboot_required

  - name: Wait for WinRM to be reachable
    wait_for_connection:
      timeout: 900

  - name: Join to "{{ domain_name }}"
    win_domain_membership:
      hostname: "{{ hostname }}"
      dns_domain_name: "{{ domain_name }}"
      domain_admin_user: "{{ domain_user }}"
      domain_admin_password: "{{ domain_user_password }}"
      domain_ou_path: "{{ domain_oupath }}"
      state: domain
    register: domain_state

  - name: Wait for 2 minutes
    pause:
      minutes: 2

  - name: reboot if necessary
    win_reboot:
      post_reboot_delay: 120
    when: domain_state.reboot_required

Blending existing AWS User Data with vRAC cloudConfig finally provided a clean solution without having to write a super complex ansible playbook. Keeping it simple once again pays off.

The blueprint and playbook referenced in this article are available this github repo.

vRealize Automation Cloud Ansible Enhancements

VMware released some Ansible enhancements within the last couple of weeks.

First is the ability to use the private IP of the deployed machine.  Prior the this fix, disabling the public IP threw and error and the deployment failed.

To disable the assignment of a pubic IP (default), simply add ‘assignPublicIpAddress: false‘ in the network properties.

Cloud_Machine_1:
  type: Cloud.Machine
  properties:
    remoteAccess:
      keyPair: id_rsa
      authentication: keyPairName
      image: CentOS 7
      flavor: generic.tiny
      attachedDisks:
        - source: '${resource.Cloud_Volume_1.id}'
      networks:
        - network: '${resource.Cloud_Network_1.id}'
          assignPublicIpAddress: false

By default, vRAC will use the private ip address of the first NIC on the machine.

Just a few things about the placement of the machines.  First my Ansible Control Host (ACH) is on a Public AWS subnet.  My first attempt to install NGINX on a machine deployed to the same subnet failed as it could not find the repo.  After some troubleshooting I determined the new machine needs to be deployed on a private subnet, with a NAT Gateway.  Oh and make sure the ACH can connect to the deployed machine on TCP port 22 (SSH).

The second was having the ability to send extra variables to the ACH.  Here the use case is to join an AWS backed Windows server to a domain using an ansible playbook.

Ansible extra variables can be added under the properties in the Ansible component.  Here I’m going to add several just to demonstrate what it looks like.

Cloud_Ansible_1:
  type: Cloud.Ansible
  properties:
    host: '${resource.Cloud_Machine_1.*}'
    osType: linux
    account: ansible-control-host
    username: centos
    privateKeyFile: /home/ansibleoss/.ssh/id_rsa
    playbooks:
    provision:
      - /home/ansibleoss/playbooks/centos-nginx/playbook.yml
    groups:
      - linux
    hostVariables:
      bluePrintName: BP- ${env.blueprintName}
      message: Hello World
      domain: corp.local
      orgUnit: ou=sample,dc=corp,dc=local
      disks:
        disk1:
          size: '${resource.Cloud_Volume_1.capacityGb}'
          label: '${input.disk1_label}'
        disk2:
          size: 20
          label: Fake disk

These variables are stored in /etc/ansible/host_vars/vra_user_host_vars.yml.

This is the resulting YAML file for this blueprint request.

vra_user_host_vars

They also changed the default connection type to winrm (default is SSH) if the osType is set to ‘windows’.

This will be the topic of my next article.

Stay tuned.

vRA Custom Forms Regex

A recent customer request was to have the linux machine names entered manually, always be in lower case, and be 13 characters long.

Initially I tinkered with a basic Event Broker Service (EBS) Subscription to simply change the ‘Hostname’ to lower case, but then decided to enforce it in a custom form.

My first task was finding the correct expression using some search sites. After a few clicks I was able to find what I was looking for.

My working expression ended up looking like this.

^[a-z0-9]{13}$

Click on the Hostname field on your custom form, then the Constraints tab and paste the expression in Regular expression, and provide a useful error in the Validation error message text box.

hostnameregex

Make sure to click the form Save button before moving to another field.  I failed to do that a few times, only to discover a blank field when troubleshooting.

savecustomform

While the customer didn’t have a specific requirement for the other fields, I decided to research and test some other expressions for future reference. I’m sure some additional tweaking will be needed, but here goes.

IP Address / DNS Server / Gateway

^(([0-9]|[1-9][0-9]|1[0-9]{2}|2[0-4][0-9]|25[0-5])\.){3}([0-9]|[1-9][0-9]|1[0-9]{2}|2[0-4][0-9]|25[0-5])$

Subnet Mask

^(((255\.){3}(255|254|252|248|240|224|192|128|0+))|((255\.){2}(255|254|252|248|240|224|192|128|0+)\.0)|((255\.)(255|254|252|248|240|224|192|128|0+)(\.0+){2})|((255|254|252|248|240|224|192|128|0+)(\.0+){3}))$

Domain name

(?:[a-z0-9](?:[a-z0-9-]{0,61}[a-z0-9])?\.)+[a-z0-9][a-z0-9-]{0,61}[a-z0-9]

There you go. As always your mileage may vary.

 

vRA Custom Form CSS rendering issues

I ran into some interesting issues when trying to develop a custom form in vRealize Automation.

The first one was noticed when I tried to apply font-size to a field.  After doing some research and watching a few videos, it looked like some Field ID’s simply could not be mapped in CSS.  The main issue is the Field ID has a tilde ‘~’ in it, which is not a valid CSS ID.

tildeIssue

A quick search resulted in an amazingly simple solution.  Escape the tilde with a backslash ‘\’.  Stupid easy!

My CSS up to this point contained the following;

body {
font-size: 18px;
}

#vSphere__vCenter__Machine_1\~size {
font-size: 14px; 
}

#integerField_cda957b7 {
font-size: 20px;
font-style: italic;
}

#vSphere__vCenter__Machine_1\~VirtualMachine.Disk1.Size {
font-size: 32px;
}

Which produced this form.

improperlyFormattedForm

The integerField and Size (Component Profile) updated properly, but the Requested Disk Size didn’t.  (This field is actually updated using an external vRO action to change the Integer into a String, then applied to a custom property).  Ok, what I was actually after was getting rid of the Label word wrap, but stumbled across the font-size issue along the way.

After digging through some debugging info I ran into two classes, one was ‘grid-item’, and the second was ‘label.field-label.required’.

label-field-required

After updating CSS, I was finally able to change the Requested Disk Size font, as well as fixed the word wrap issue.

My final result is a good starting point.  Both Size and Requested Disk Size fields had a font size of 18, and the integer field had an italicized font with the correct size.  The shadow on the Size Label was just for fun 🙂

FormattedCustomForm

My final CSS looks like this;

body {
font-size: 18px;
}

.label.field-label.required {
width: 80%!important;
}

.grid-item {
width: 80%!important;
}

#vSphere__vCenter__Machine_1\~size {
/* font-size: 14px; */
color: blue;
text-shadow: 3px 2px red;
}
#integerField_cda957b7 {
font-size: 20px;
font-style: italic;
}
#vSphere__vCenter__Machine_1\~VirtualMachine.Disk1.Size {
/* does not work with custom properties */
/* need to dig into label.field.label.* */
font-size: 32px;
}

Well its’ about the time of day. Be well.