What is this vRealize Orchestrator Thingy Anyway?
VMware vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) is an infrastructure orchestration tool. vRO is a administration tool that can greatly aid in simplifying complex tasks through the use of workflows, scripting and specific product plugins (Microsoft Active Directory for example).
Where Did vRealize Orchestrator Come From?
In 2007 VMware purchased a product called Dunes Virtual Services Orchestrator from a Swiss based company called Dunes Technologies. VMware re-branded the product to VMware vCenter Orchestrator version 4 inline with there then vSphere 4 platform and released it as bundled tool. vCenter Orchestrator continued to version 6 when it then changed product suite to the vRealize group of products and was re-branded vRealize Orchestrator 7. As a side note, if you are eligible to download vRO you may notice version 6 is named vRealize not vCenter; the name was changed from vCenter after the initial release of version 6 and now shows vRealize.
vRO was Included with vCenter
One very important thing to note is vRealize Orchestrator was included with vCenter up until version 5.5. Yep that’s right, if you have vCenter 5.5 (or downwards to version 4) installed you have vRO in your environment. In vSphere 6 vRO was removed from the vCenter install. This is probably a good thing as running vRO from the vCenter was never recommended as any resources used by the embedded vRO install would impact the performance of vCenter itself which defeated the point of using vRO in the first place! The end result is to use vRO in a vSphere 6 environment the vRO Appliance or the unsupported Windows version must be installed separately.
What Can vRO Do?
From a basic point of view vRO is a workflow engine that can be used to automate/orchestrate repeatable tasks with the VMware stack of products. But if you delve a little deeper in the product you will come to realise that vRO is far more flexible than just basic VMware related products. Highly complex tasks and many vendor products can be managed through vRO!
vRO can do almost any orchestration task, it is that flexible. Examples of tasks that may be performed with vRO are:
- User Creation
- Virtual Machine Provisioning
- Firewall Rule Automation
- Operating System Maintenance
- Software Deployment
- Load Balancer Configuration
The list could literally go on all day. The take home point is vRO is a great tool that is both very capable and very flexible.
Are You Saying I have to Learn a New Programming Language?
Yes and No…
Whoa, Whoa, What About PowerShell and PowerCLI?
For years now many Microsoft admins have been using PowerShell as the scripting language for Windows and by extension PowerCLI for VMware products. Fear not! vRO has a PowerShell plugin that will allow you to run PowerShell and PowerCLI scripts from a PowerShell host. It works well and fits almost all the scenarios you may have when completing administration tasks.
A Final Note on Scripting