Cloud, Coding, VirtualAppliances, VMware

VMware & Puppet : One More Step Forward

I wake up everyday committed to not doing things the same old way. That is why my title has that funny word ‘Automation’ in it. I am tasked with finding a way to make what is fragile, expensive, risky, and complex; easier to manage.

While most of what I am working on at VMware is not ready for the light of day. There are some things that have come out of our work that would have a greater benefit being in the public space. If you are even an infrequent reader of this blog (which given my posts lately, is everyone) you know that I am a huge fan of PuppetLabs. More than that I am a huge fan of automation using DevOps-style toolsets enabled by community development.

Right now I belong to an amazing team of crazy talented engineers. I rarely go a week without seeing something that makes me wish I was capable of doing a backflip. I am proud to announce that today some of that magic is now being put in a place for everyone.

Today VMware and PuppetLabs are releasing the first set of modules for managing VMware environments. This brings a bunch of new features for the first time:

Management for the vCenter Appliance /w

  • Complete initialization – Just point as a VM that was deployed from the OVF and it will standup vCenter.
  • Datacenter and Cluster configuration – HA, DRS, and more. The one caveat being EVC (but coming soon)
  • ESXi Host – Grab and add ESXi hosts to clusters and manage them through Puppet. Something that *might* align nicely with another tool called Razor.

Management for vShield Manager

  • Complete initialization – Just like the VCSA, point Puppet at your deployed vSM appliance and watch it complete the setup and stand it up.
  • Association to vCenter – Bind the vSM to a vCenter automagically.
  • vShield Edge Deployment – Point it at a resource pool and easily deploy vShield Edges to vCenter.
  • vShield Edge Configuration – Control the firewall, NAT, load-balancing, and more using Puppet config. – Note: We are actually adding more this now so this may be in flux.

With the features above you may now deploy out VCSA and vSM appliances and automatically configure them into vSphere clusters with firewall, NAT, load-balancing and more. You can carve up the ESXi nodes into any number of clusters or config. And this is just the beginning.

The other great part of this is that we are today releasing all of these modules under the Apache 2.0 license and submitting to the Puppet Forge. We strongly believe that VMware admins that have not played with Puppet need a way to start. And even more importantly there is a great number of brilliant people that can add to this work and make it even better for the community as a whole.

The modules can be found on github:

If you want an awesome technical walkthrough. Then read the blog on this release from one of the main authors, Nan Liu:  http://nanliu.github.com/blog/2013/02/27/puppet-managing-vcenter-and-vshield/

I want to thanks the team behind these modules for the amazing amount of work they accomplished in a crazy short amount of time:

  • Randy Brown
  • Shawn Holland
  • Nan Liu
I cannot emphasize enough how this is just the tip of the spear. There is so much more to be done in the realm of automation for cloud uses cases. And before this year is up, I am personally hoping we can deliver some amazing technology for everyone in cloud.
.nick