Integrate vCO


vRO and the OpenStack Admin API

In this post we will start to interact with the OpenStack admin API. If you already followed my first two post, many things here are similar. The first two post can be found here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

vRO and the OpenStack Public API

So before we can start to interact with the Admin API we have to create a new REST Host entry in vRO.

The approach to create the Rest Host is the same then described in the Posts before. The difference here is the used Port which we take to access the Rest Host. If you have created different IPs for your OpenStack environment and access the Admin API over a different IP (which can be configured in the files for the service)  you have to adjust your URL. Like before we doesn’t use authentication for the Rest Host.

After we have created the REST Entry we have to take a look at the Authentication. For the Administration OpenStack uses an Admin Token which is created during installation. We can use this Admin Token for Authentication. You can find this token in the file /etc/keystone/keystone.conf

We can use that token to operate the Admin Interface. From Security prospective we must be aware, that everyone who can execute the Workflow with the Token has administration rights. So if you use the Workflow in production limit the access to the Workflow!

So let’s create a new Action element. I named it OpenStackCreateUser. In the Action we need some Inputs.

After we have created the Inputs we have to insert the code for our need:

// We need a Json fomated String for Authentication. We create the string with this Workflow

var content = '{"user": {"id": "' + TenantID + '","name": "' + Username + '","email": "' + Email + '","enabled": ' + UserEnabled + '}}';

//Authenticate the request with the Admin-Token

var SessionRequest = RestHost.createRequest("POST", "/v2.0/users", content);

SessionRequest.setHeader("X-Auth-Token", SessionID);

SessionRequest.contentType = "application/json";

var SessionResponse = SessionRequest.execute();

// Show the Output

System.log("Session Response: " + SessionResponse.contentAsString);

I insert some Comments in the Code for explanation. Take a look at the

var content = '{"user": {"id": "' + TenantID + '","name": "' + Username + '","email": "' + Email + '","enabled": ' + UserEnabled + '}}';

code. Be aware that if you have to use a type of Boolean you are not allowed to use double quotes for the value.

After we finished our Action element we can build up our Workflow. I created a new Workflow with the Name “OpenStackAddUser”

In this Workflow we add the Action Element OpenStackGetTenantID which we created before.

Here we use the Visual Binding Editor to create the In- and Outputs. After we are finished the Visual Bindings should like this:

Next we insert the Action element “OpenStackCreateUser” which we build up before.

Also here we use the Visual Binding Editor to create the needed In- and Outputs.

As you can see we doesn’t have an output from the action since the OpenStack API doesn’t provide one for that operation. We can see the success in the log files which we write to System.log.

After Validation of the Workflow we can start with a first run.

Some notes for the run:

–          We use the Rest Host Admin API Connection.

–          We Use the Session ID from the admin_token value in /etc/keystone/keystone.conf

–          We provide a Username and an Email Address.

–          The TenantID is catched from the Tenant Name dynamically

If everything went well you should see and output like mine.



So now let’s verify this on a console. As we can see the user is created



This is only a short example hot to work with vRO and OpenStack. As you could see a lot is possible and could be done in an easy way.

I have uploaded the Actions and Workflows with I showed in the Blogpost on Flowgrab ( From there you can install the vCO Plugin and download the content directly into your vCO.



I you have feedback, comments or when I showed / explained something wrong please comment.

Have fun and Orchestrator the World 😉


vRO and OpenStack thoughts on the Orchestrator

Some of you are maybe playing with OpenStack. Some of you with the native OpenStack of in a Distribution of your choice others with the VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) Beta. The VIO Beta is actual available as Beta. Information’s about VIO and other OpenStack Staff in context of VMware can be found here

Some general information about OpenStack and the different Modules are documented in the OpenStack Documentation. I want to include some Information from here:

About the different modules:


The OpenStack project is an open source cloud computing platform that supports all types of cloud environments. The project aims for simple implementation, massive scalability, and a rich set of features. Cloud computing experts from around the world contribute to the project.

OpenStack provides an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution through a variety of complemental services. Each service offers an application programming interface (API) that facilitates this integration. The following table provides a list of OpenStack services:

Table 1.1. OpenStack services

Service Project name Description
Dashboard Horizon Provides a web-based self-service portal to interact with underlying OpenStack services, such as launching an instance, assigning IP addresses and configuring access controls.
Compute Nova Manages the lifecycle of compute instances in an OpenStack environment. Responsibilities include spawning, scheduling and decommissioning of virtual machines on demand.
Networking Neutron Enables Network-Connectivity-as-a-Service for other OpenStack services, such as OpenStack Compute. Provides an API for users to define networks and the attachments into them. Has a pluggable architecture that supports many popular networking vendors and technologies.


Object Storage Swift Stores and retrieves arbitrary unstructured data objects via a RESTful, HTTP based API. It is highly fault tolerant with its data replication and scale out architecture. Its implementation is not like a file server with mountable directories.
Block Storage Cinder Provides persistent block storage to running instances. Its pluggable driver architecture facilitates the creation and management of block storage devices.

Shared services

Identity service Keystone Provides an authentication and authorization service for other OpenStack services. Provides a catalog of endpoints for all OpenStack services.
Image Service Glance Stores and retrieves virtual machine disk images. OpenStack Compute makes use of this during instance provisioning.
Telemetry Ceilometer Monitors and meters the OpenStack cloud for billing, benchmarking, scalability, and statistical purposes.

Higher-level services

Orchestration Heat Orchestrates multiple composite cloud applications by using either the native HOT template format or the AWS CloudFormation template format, through both an OpenStack-native REST API and a CloudFormation-compatible Query API.
Database Service Trove Provides scalable and reliable Cloud Database-as-a-Service functionality for both relational and non-relational database engines.

This guide describes how to deploy these services in a functional test environment and, by example, teaches you how to build a production environment. Realistically, you would use automation tools such as Ansible, Chef, and Puppet to deploy and manage a production environment.

 Conceptual architecture“

As graphical view this is a good oversight about the different modules and how they work together. The drawing this from the OpenStack documentation. The original can be found here:

Independent which “Version” of OpenStack you use, the APIs and components are always the same. From automation perspective the Project Heat is interesting.

Quote (

OpenStack Orchestration

The mission of the OpenStack Orchestration program is to create a human- and machine-accessible service for managing the entire lifecycle of infrastructure and applications within OpenStack clouds.


Heat is the main project in the OpenStack Orchestration program. It implements an orchestration engine to launch multiple composite cloud applications based on templates in the form of text files that can be treated like code. A native Heat template format is evolving, but Heat also endeavours to provide compatibility with the AWS CloudFormation template format, so that many existing CloudFormation templates can be launched on OpenStack. Heat provides both an OpenStack-native ReST API and a CloudFormation-compatible Query API.

Why ‘Heat’? It makes the clouds rise!

How it works

  • A Heat template describes the infrastructure for a cloud application in a text file that is readable and writable by humans, and can be checked into version control, diffed, &c.
  • Infrastructure resources that can be described include: servers, floating ips, volumes, security groups, users, etc.
  • Heat also provides an autoscaling service that integrates with Ceilometer, so you can include a scaling group as a resource in a template.
  • Templates can also specify the relationships between resources (e.g. this volume is connected to this server). This enables Heat to call out to the OpenStack APIs to create all of your infrastructure in the correct order to completely launch your application.
  • Heat manages the whole lifecycle of the application – when you need to change your infrastructure, simply modify the template and use it to update your existing stack. Heat knows how to make the necessary changes. It will delete all of the resources when you are finished with the application, too.
  • Heat primarily manages infrastructure, but the templates integrate well with software configuration management tools such as Puppet and Chef. The Heat team is working on providing even better integration between infrastructure and software.

What does this mean for a VMware Administrator which want to orchestrate and automate his VMware and OpenStack environment?  At the Moment Heat is primary focused on the OpenStack environment. When you want integrate your Automation solutions you have to use other Automation Tools. I would speak from Infrastructure Orchestrator and Application Orchestration.

In this case Heat is the Infrastructure Orchestrator which offers the possibility to create new virtual machines. For the communication from Heat to VMware and API must be used to provide the Information from Heat to vRO. That is a possible way to Automate and Orchestrate the OpenStack Environment. When we take VMware into the Account, the drawing becomes somewhat more complex.

vCO is used to provision virtual Machines on the VMware Site. Heat is used to provision virtual Machines on the OpenStack Site.

I want to keep my Orchestration and Automation part as simple as possible so why we don’t only use vCO for provisioning new VMs?

From OpenStack site, you lose somewhat flexibility because can cannot use Tosca as description Language any more but from Orchestration Site it is simpler.

In my next Blog Post I will show you the way how vCO can talk with OpenStack.

Have fun and Orchestrate the World 😉


New Version of OVF Transfer Plugin for vCO released

After a long time of development I am pleased to announce the availability of the New Version of the OVF Transfer Plugin. We reviewed the whole code of the old Plugin and rewrote it. With this Version we also improved the available feature.  The Plugin Description reads as flowing:

The OVA/F Transfer plug-in allows you to import and export virtual machines as OVF/OVA template to/from the VMware vCenter via the VMware vCenter/vRealize Orchestrator.

This plug-in provides actions and workflows to use the OVF/A functionalities directly in your own workflows.

Here are some functions of the new Plugin:

This plug-in includes amongst others following features:

  • [Export]  Export of virtual machines as OVF templates
  • [Import]  Import of virtual machines as OVF or OVA templates
  • [Import]  Support for vSS and vDS PortGroups
  • [Import]  Support for multiple vNics
  • [Import]  Support for OVF properties, e.g. used for virtual appliance imports
  • [Import/Export] Supported sources/destinations: Locale file, HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, CIFS

We included a lot of new functions which some of you required and fixed all Bugs which were reported.

For this Plugin the following types of sources are supported:

–       Local file (local means on vCO Server e.g. vCO appliance or vCO Windows installable)

–       HTTP, HTTPS

–       FTP

CIFS/Network Share (only with vCO Windows installable version

The Plugin is available at the VMware Solution Exchange  and is free of charge.

Many thanks to my colleague Sascha Bitzer who wrote and maintains the Plugin!


Generate VMs based on load with vCO and vCAC

You do remember my video with the topic „Generate VMs based on actual load in a Resource Pool” (

In that video I showed a vCO workflow which provisioned new VMs when the load on a specific Resource Pools reached a defined Value. When the load was decreased, the VMs were thrown away. In this video, I worked on a simple vCenter Server base. A colleague of mine, Carsten Schäfer, took my Workflow and modified it to work with vCAC.  They changed the workflow so, that virtual machines will not provisioned as a “Single” VM, instead he used the add components function to deploy them to an existing Multi-Machine Service.

Oh yeah, one might call it some first PoC for auto-scaling in vCAC (yep, that’s just for the robots :mrgreen: )

Here is the video:

As I found great stuff 😉


NetApp OnCommand Workflow Automation package for vCO

Jeremy Goodrum (make sure to follow him on and Twitter @virtpirate)  from NetApp has published a powerful package to integrate vCO and NetApp Workflow Automation:

I “interviewed” Jeremy via email about his solution:

Can you introduce Netapp WFA in 2 sentences?
Jeremy –  OnCommand Workflow Automation (WFA) is NetApp’s automation framework that enables architects to create storage automation workflows and to integrate with third party SDK toolkits like VMware’s PowerCLI.  WFA gives NetApp storage administrators the ability to turn traditional scripts into full blown repeatable workflows that can intelligently provision and manage storage.

What drove you to build an integration of WFA and vCO?
Jeremy – I have had a lot customers tell me that they want to leverage vCenter Orchestrator as the orchestration portal, but needed storage automation as well.  People that have seen WFA’s intelligent storage placement and integration desired to add this to vCO’s already robust features.  We had this grand vision of vCO and WFA working together to build more than just traditional VMware Datastores.  We wanted to give vCO the ability to not only integrate with VMware environments, but also manage and provision NetApp storage .  Now vCO admins can build workflows that provision applications to use NetApp storage, manage CIFS home directories and even manage NetApp Snapshot backups.

When building the solution, what were your biggest challenges?
Jeremy – We wanted this to be simple to use and easy to drop in.  The big challenge was in trying to modularize the entire structure to allow end users to drop the package into their environment and just go.  It was important to me that the WFA package be a complete self-contained plug-in type of solution that required very little customization.

When you now (proudly 😀 ) review the solution, what do you like most about it?
Jeremy – Ok, I might be bragging a little here but honestly, I am proud of how simple it is to use.  A NetApp Storage Architect can now create fully intelligent and structured WFA workflows while enforcing NetApp and the customer’s best practices.  The architect can have the workflow build entire tenancies or application stacks and then share the workflow with the VMware team.  Within minutes, the VMware team can literally pull the workflow into vCO and be off the ground.  It really is that simple.

So, watch the videos, download the package, and enjoy the power of automation!

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