vRealize Automation 7.3-Simple Installation: Part 10: Catalog Management

In last post of this series we learnt how to create and design blueprints. This post will be focussed on catalog management. Once you have created blueprint items, next thing is to associate them with a service and defining the entitlements so that end user can start requesting items from catalog to which they are entitled for.

If you have landed directly on this page by mistake, then I encourage you to read earlier posts of this series from below links:

1: vRA Lab Setup

2: Installing and Configuring NSX

3: Installing SQL Server for IaaS DB

4: Installing and Configuring vRealize Automation Appliance

5: Tenant and Users Initial Configuration

6: Configuring Endpoints

7: Creating Fabric and Business Groups

8: Creating Network Profiles & Reservations

9: Configuring Blueprints

We will start the discussion with service and then proceed to entitlements.

What is service?

Services are used to organize catalog items into related offerings to make it easier for end users to browse catalog items they needed in an easier and convenient way. The published blueprints are assigned to users and groups through the catalog management components of the Service Catalog. 

To enable blueprints to be available in the catalog we first need a service that we can publish them to. Services are the containers that hold the actual catalog items that can be requested. We must have at least one service in the environment to enable our catalog items against.

Below image shows an overview of how a service catalog looks like

vra7-Service-Catalog.png

                                           Graphic Thanks to https://theithollow.com/

To create a new service catalog, loginto vRA using tenant admin credentials and navigate to Administration > Catalog Management > Services. Click on + button to define a new sevrice. 

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  • Provide a name and description for the service.
  • For setting an icon, you can download the vRA Icon pack from here  and then select an appropriate image to be used as icon.
  • Set the Status of this service as Active. An inactive status will prevent the service to appear in the service catalog
  • Optionally you can specify owner of the service and support team etc. For keeping things simple, I have not selected any of them. 
  • If there is a downtime due to maintenance, you can specify a time interval in the Change Window

Click on OK button to save the service. 

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Once a service has been created, we need to add catalog items into it. Navigate to Catalog Items tab and select the blueprint which we created earlier and clcik on configure.

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Again you can choose an iconfor this item.

Set Status as Active.

Select a service from the list which we just created and hit OK to save.

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Next is to configure Entitlements. Before configuring it lets discuss in brief about entitlements.

Entitlements  allows you to grant users and groups access to Services and/or Blueprints as well as determine what actions they can perform with them. Entitlements offer a significant amount of flexibility in how you provide access to services through the catalog, who can access those services, what actions they can perform, and what is any approvals are required.

To define a new entitlement, navigate to Entitlements tab and click on + button.

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  • Provide a name and description for the entitlement.
  • Set the Status as Active.
  • Select the business group with which this entitlement will be associated. 
  • Also you can define Users/Groups for this entitlement.

For lab purpose, I selected All users and groups. In production you need more granualar control on which specific users/groups within a Business Group will be entitled for a given service/catalog item.

Clck on next button to go to Items and Approvals tab.

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Entitlements are made up of three components. Services, Catalog Items, and Actions. You can choose to entitle complete Services which encompass all Items within the service or just select catalog Items.

You can also determine what actions the users that belong to the entitle can perform against all the catalog items that are a part of the entitlement.

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Click on Entitled Services to specify with which service this entitlement will be associated. I Selected the service which I created earlier.

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Click on Entitled Items to specify which catalog items will be added to this entitlement. You can add more than one item here. Make sure Appears in Catalog option is set to yes.

There is no approval policy defined yet so I am leaving it blank at the moment.

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Click on Entitled Actions to specify what are the actions that an end user can perform while requesting an item from the catalog. For simplicity, I have selected All.

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And this is how the entitlement looks now. Click on Finish button to complete the entitlemet creation wizard.

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The newly created entitlement will be now visible in the list.

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Logout from vRA and login with any of the user from the business group with which we associated the catalog item and navigate to catalog tab. 

You will see the newly created item appearing in the list. Click on Request button.

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Provide a description and reason for the request and specify lease days for the requested item. 

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Hit OK to complete the request and you will be presented with message that your request has been submitted successfully.

cm-15 From requests tab you can track the status of the request. 

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And thats it. After few minute a new virtual machine will be provisioned for the user which requested this item.

There are plenty of things to play around in vRA but I am not going to explore it further as of now. In next post of this series I will discuss about vRA distributed deployment and will dedicate a post on deployment steps.

I hope you find this post informational. Feel free to share this on social media if it is worth sharing. Be sociable 🙂