vRealize Automation Architecture and Components

In previous post, we had an overview of the product including what generally consists vRealize Automation with high level perspectives. In this post, we’ll get in more details. so let’s begin.

There are three components to consider when planning a vRA installation:

  1. Lifecycle Manager
  2. Identity Manager
  3. vRealize Automation

Lifecycle Manager

Before we start diving into the vLCM, it’s better to take a look at the operations administrators do on a regular basis. consider that, it’s the day that new servers have been purchased and are ready to install and deploy your services on. After all the physical installation and so, there is a series of steps that needs to be taken.

  • Installation
  • Initial setup and configuration
  • Monitoring the health and making sure everything is OK.

these three tasks are those every vSphere administrator should do when new servers and generally new equipment are in the datacenter and ready to be added into the infrastructure. There is also another important task that we all do, although not immediately after these steps but when it’s required, yes, that’s updating, upgrading, and basically everything related to patch management.

to wrap up, if we put these steps in a cycle and name each step with an appropriate title, we’ll end up with the picture below.

vLCM

To long story short, as depicted above, vLCM automates the installation, patch management, content management, and health management of the whole vRealize suite in a single pane of glass. Needless to say that, vLCM is like a pain killer to all of us when it comes to upgrading the whole infrastructure for instance.

VMware Identity Manager

As the name suggests, it is the VMware Identity as a Service (IDaaS) solution, which with the use of its offered SSO service, literally plays a vital role in vRA access management. vIDM is a part of Workspace One platform, and it is used to conduct access controls when delivering SaaS, cloud, web, and native mobile applications. lastly, vIDM is based OAuth 2.0 authorization framework.

vRealize Automation Components

vRA Appliance

vRA appliance is based on VMware-developed Photon OS 3.0 and runs Kubernetes natively. You might have guessed that, vRA core services run as K8S pods and containers within each pod are hosted on Docker Engine.

RabbitMQ

it is the industry-standard message bus used in vRA running as a pod. One of the usage of a message bus broker service in vRA is to keep the cluster nodes in sync.

PostgreSQL

The only supported database on vRA which also runs as a pod.

There are 16 core services in vRA running as Kubernetes services. in fact, the very first time that vRA boots up, the K8s is installed and configured, then it gets the docker images form HELM package manager and gets them deployed as pods. The 16 services are as follows:

  1. ABX
  2. Blueprint
  3. Cloud config
  4. Automation
  5. Relocation
  6. vRO
  7. Pipeline
  8. Project
  9. Catalogue
  10. Provisioning
  11. EBS
  12. CMX
  13. Symphony
  14. Content Gateway
  15. Form
  16. Inventory

The picture depicts a high level diagram of what we have discussed so far.

vRA High level diagram

Deployment Options

There are two deployment models with vRA as Standard Deployment and Clustered Deployment options. In both options you can use the vRealize Easy Installer to install the components.

Standard Deployment

it requires the following components:

  • Lifecycle Manager
  • VMware Identity Manager
  • vRealize Automation

The easy installer will deploy these components in order, meaning the very first component to be installed is Lifecycle Manager. Then Lifecycle Manager is used to deploy and manage both VMware Identity Manager and vRealize Automation.

vRA Standard Deployment

Clustered Deployment

with clustered deployment, there are several possible configurations depending on the number of nodes being deployed for every component. As we all know, when there is a clustering system, there has to be a way to balance the load between the members, either. For that, we have a number of load balancers which is supported by vRA, from NSX and Citrix Netscalar, to F5 BigIP.

vRA Clustered Configuration

We now have a better understanding of the product and its components. In the next blogpost we’ll jump into the installation. I hope this’s been informative.

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