Monday, May 6, 2013

vCloud Automation Center - a LabManager "rebirth"?

This week i had a very interesting conversation with a fellow at VMware. We talked about LabManager migrations and my experience in customer environments, when i was a consultant. There were two stages of migrations from VMware LabManager to vCloud Director in the past:

1. The organizational and administrative design
2. The migration of the virtual environment

The first one wasn´t easy to define, especially in large environments, caused by the different layers of administration. In VMware LabManager we had:
  • Workspaces
  • Organizations
  • Configurations

In vCloud Director we have:
  • Organizations 
  • vApps

So there is an organizational layer missed. To be honest, there is one: the SYSTEM organization, but: you can´t limit the administrator account. So there is no chance to give the SYSTEM organization to the end-user or customer.

In fact the migration from VMware LabManager to vCloud Director needs to compromise.

The migration of the virtual machines wasn´t easy too, because you needed to enable the virtual machine operations in the VMware LabManager database what doesn´t sounds good without a tested and released tool.

Using vCloud Automation Center since the last DynamicOps version we talked about the administrative layers and a possible implementation. After a few minutes i thought that this could be the answer to the organizational migration of LabManager including Self-Service, API support (REST) and different endpoints (vSphere, vCloud) without administer "real" resources in vCloud Director as a SYSTEM administrator.

With this combination of resources delivered by the "internal IT" you are now able to create your own business logic for your lab environments. Starting with the Enterprise Groups to add resources to your environment you are able to build your Provisioning Group (like Workspaces in LabManager):

Based on those you can add Resource Reservations for this particular group:

And with all that in place you can now add the Blueprints (like Configurations in LabManager):

With the Self-Service Portal in vCloud Automation Center you are now able to control (based on the rights) the virtual machines, making snapshots or destroy them.

As you can see this is just a simple example, not explaining API methods or workflow enhancements (Microsoft TFS integration for example) but it should be a good way to "upgrade" your LabManager to a broader audience.

Feel free to ask in the comments :)


  1. Wow, as someone who is currently going through this exact process at present, this article came a little too late for the initial setup.

    However the automation is now my focus and we are looking at getting a few things done via Orchestrator?

    Have you had any experience with automating tasks in a migrated Labmanger to Vcloud environment?

    Would love to get some info on a few things we had on labman that we are trying to get on Vcloud.

    1. Hi,

      sorry for the late post, I´m aware of the hard way :)

      From my point of you the data collection of LabManager inventory with vCO is really easy. Just use the SOAP plug-in and the LabManager internal API. You can also start the clone process (archive to library) to receive a full clone.

      There is no way to unregister the clones in the vCenter database (table is called disabled methods AFAIK) to move them automatically to vCloud Director.

      With the vCloud DIrector plug-in for vCO you can add the organization/names to vCloud Director, or as described with the REST plug-in to vCloud Automation Center.

      Yes, it takes a bit of work but should help :)