One possible Use-Case for vCenter Orchestrator is to provide some kind of User Interface to vSphere Features which are not directly usable from vSphere Client.
The vCenter-Plugin bundled with vCO provides access to the complete vSphere API (even though some of the Library Workflows and Actions are not complete to the current version). So it is possible to create a Workflow that uses API-Calls that are not visible in the standard vSphere Client.
The vSphere API allows you to create Linked Clones of Virtual Machines.
This feature is not exposed to the vSphere Client (for some good reasons I guess 😆 , think about all the “Pebkac”-issues even with usual snapshots ).
However, in vCO there are some Workflows to create Linked Clones (in Library / vCenter / Virtual Machine Management / Clone / Linked Clone):
Other Example: Clone from Snapshot
vSphere Client olny allows you to clone the current state of a Virtual Machine, even if the Virtual Machine has one or more Snapshots.
However, often you want to clone the old state of a Virtual Machine, which is “conserved” in a Snapshot:
- in Lab/Dev/Demo/Test-environments you want to roll out several “branches” from the same state of a VM,
- in production environments you recognize the “bad-practice” to keep a lot of Snapshots, but before deleting them you want to clone these old states for later usage,
- everywhere you have a snapshot, but you don’t know the reason and state why it was created, and you want to go for sure before deleting it,
The vSphere-API allows you (since 4.1) to clone a Virtual Machine from a snapshot state by specifying the snapshot in the VirtualMachineCloneSpec.
For this there is no bundled Workflow in the Library, so can take my package with the solution:
How to use it?
1. Download the Package from http://www.vcoportal.de/download/workflow/com.vcoportal.snapclone.package
4. Select the source Virtual Machine, one of its Snapshots, all the target information as for a usual clone task, and watch the progress in vSphere Client 😎 !
How does it work?
(Well, the package allows you to inspect the content, so see for yourself 😛 )
The Package contains a Workflow and two Actions, all duplicated from original Library-content bundled with vCO. The only extension I did was to add the “snaphot”-Parameter to the Action which provides the VirtualMachineCloneSpec and extend the “Clone VM”-Action to allow filling this parameter.
A possible improvement: Add a “filter” to the Input Presentation to show only Virtual Machines which have at least one Snapshot.
Another possible improvement: Add some validation, that the Snapshot really belongs to the Virtual Machine (here it is done by the “tree-root”-Property of the Input Presentation of the Snapshot Parameter. However, if you call this workflow from other workflows, the input presentation is not been processed…).
Do you have ideas for more improvements of the package?
Or are you looking for other workflows with functionality the API provides but is not usable from vSphere Client?
Leave a comment, insert a coin (or spend a drink at VMworld 🙂 ) and be patient!