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What’s New in VMware vRealize Automation 7.5

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Product Overview:
VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) is a key component of the vRealize Suite, enabling Programmable Provisioning and Application Operations.  vRA is a cloud automation software that accelerates the delivery of IT services through automation and pre-defined policies, providing high levels of agility and flexibility for developers, while enabling IT teams to maintain governance and control.

What's New in VMware vRealize Automation 7.5: VMware vRealize Automation 7.5 release these new capabilities.

Modernized UI and Consumer UX:
vRealize Automation has a new look and feel and streamlined flows for common self-service tasks.

  • UI updated to VMware Clarity standard.
  • Larger catalog cards show more of the description.
  • Cleaner catalog view- Multiple instances of the same catalog item across business groups are now rolled up; the user selects the business group at request time.
  • Items and Requests tab merged into new Deployments tab.
  • Request details for decommissioned resources moved to the Administration tab.
  • Improved status of in-progress requests.
  • History view shows all requests associated with a single deployment over time.
  • Improved search capabilities across product menus and objects.
  • Contextual access to documentation from the product UI.
  • Home page and portlets are deprecated in this release.
  • Save button on requests is deprecated in this release.

Improved Integration with vRealize Operations:

  • This release introduces deployment dashboards for application owners and enhancements to intelligent workload placement capabilities via integration with vRealize Operations.
  • Show deployment alerts and key metrics (CPU, memory, IOPS, and network) for machines in the deployment details view.
  • Enable optimization of vRealize Automation managed workloads to align with vRealize Operations placement policy.
  • This builds on an earlier integration for optimizing initial placement to allow ongoing optimization of existing workloads
  • For information, see vRealize Operations Manager Based Monitoring and Continuous Optimization Using vRealize Operations Manager.

Configuration Automation Framework:

Native integration with external Ansible Tower configuration management tool.

  • OOTB support for Ansible Tower as first class citizens in vRealize Automation.
  • Drag and drop Ansible Tower object in the Blueprint design canvas.
  • Parameterize and support early and late binding/request time.
  • Dynamically select Ansible job templates,including playbooks, for application configuration.
  • Support Day 2 actions to register or decommission machines.

NSX-T Data Center Native Integration:

vRealize Automation now has native integration with NSX-T Data Center.

  • OOTB support for NSX-T Data Center as first class citizen in vRealize Automation.
  • Drag and drop the following NSX-T Data Center services in the blueprint design canvas.
  • On-demand load balancer.
  • On-demand routed network.
  • On-demand NAT 1-to-many network.
  • Existing security group.

Support Day 2 actions -

  • Update security applied to a deployed VM.
  • Change NAT rules for on-demand NAT network.

Access Governance for Kubernetes Clusters with PKS Integration:

vRA now allows you to manage your Kubernetes clusters with ease. You can integrate with your PKS endpoints to create PKS (Kubernetes) clusters and associate them with business groups for simplified cluster life cycle management. It also allows you to deploy docker images as pods. vRA also simplifies the native cluster access for your development teams.

Manage PKS Clusters - 

  • After the PKS endpoint is registered, the container admin can create, update, and delete Kubernetes clusters and associate them with business groups as well as discover existing Kubernetes clusters.
  • Container admin can empower development teams by delegating the PKS cluster management capability to business group members (with governance).

Deploy Docker Images to PKS Clusters - 

  • Container Admin or developers can deploy Docker images to PKS clusters as ‘pod’.

Access to your PKS clusters natively - 

  • Developers can view their PKS clusters and access them natively by downloading the kubeconfig.

Microsoft Azure Blueprint Enhancements:

  • Support for Azure Managed Disks.
  • Enhanced Support for Azure regions.

Install, Upgrade, Migrate, and Patching Improvements:

Certificate management improvements-

  • API ability to retrieve certificate details.
  • All certificate management operations are logged for auditing purposes.
  • Pre-check run is automatically executed prior to certificate replacement.
  • Non-HttpActivation check was added for both DEM and Agent.

Virtual appliance management interface updates-

  • Automated migration from external vRO.
  • Improved resiliency in deleting a node and in database failover.
  • New prerequisites and validation checks added in upgrade.
  • Updated: No longer need to disable the load balancer's secondary nodes or remove the load balancer's health monitors during upgrade from vRA 7.4 to later version.

Patching-

  • vRA API to get the progress of the patch being applied. vRealize Lifecyle Manager leverages this API.
  • Applying a hotfix is an idempotent operation. For example, if the same hotfix is applied twice, there are no side effects on the product. The product can either ignore the already applied hotfix or return an appropriate status message.
  • New metadata definitions for patch management commands.
  • Improve patch management UI (in VAMI).
  • Standard versioning of patch builds.

Troubleshooting Improvements:

  • Improvements to Force Delete/Re-Submit (failed/orphaned deployments).
  • Post-migration validation.
  • Consistent log tracing across solution.
  • Expose trace-id to the vRealize Orchestrator plug-in APIU.

vRO Database Clustering and Configuration:

  • The external vRO virtual appliance has been updated in 7.5
  • You can no longer upgrade to the Orchestrator appliance, you can only migrate to the embedded one provided with vRA or to another vRO 7.5 virtual appliance.
  • New Migration wizard that is available in the VAMI enables migration from external vRO to the embedded vRO deployed with vRA.
  • Embedded Postgres database changes
    • The embedded Postgres database can be clustered and supports automated database fail over.
    • You can only use the embedded PostgreSQL database that is available in vRealize Orchestrator 7.5. Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle Database as external database servers are no longer supported.
  • You can no longer configure clusters and perform migration by using the Orchestrator Control Center.
    • You must use the VAMI interface to manage the cluster and database, and to perform the migration.
  • Updated virtual appliance architecture to reduce the deployment footprint and to improve operability.

Custom Forms Improvements:

  • Support for vRealize business fields.
  • Out-of-the-box support for vRO context action parameters.
  • New editable drop-down component.
  • Ability to add or remove fields in storage datagrid.

Event Broker Improvements:

  • Improved failure/exception management by adding the ability to explicitly stop workflow execution of any subsequent workflows.
  • Enhance payload consumption mechanism by adding the ability to reuse and merge payload between the workflow subscriptions registered in the state.

Reservation Improvements:

  • Prior vRA 7.5 reservations would sometimes timeout while loading. The time to load a single reservation is a correlation between the host's configuration that is used in reservations and in the storage configuration that are attached to them. Calculating a reservation object was significantly improved in vRA 7.5 in the UI and in the API. Loading multiple reservations is also optimized.

Resolved Issues:

  • The vRealize Automation health service shows multiple errors when one or more virtual appliances are unavailable. - When one or more virtual appliances are unavailable, the health service shows errors. Some errors can obscure additional errors that are occurring.
  • Manager Service automatic failover mode is enabled after running the automatic IaaS upgrade to 7.4 - If you upgrade or migrate to vRealize Automation 7.4 from 7.3 or 7.3.1 and have deliberately disabled automatic failover before upgrade or migration, the feature is enabled during the automatic IaaS upgrade to 7.4.
  • The post provisioning operation Manage Public IP Address for an  Azure virtual machine times out. - The time required to fetch the Azure virtual machine's current and available public address through vRealize Orchestrator is too long. The process  times out in vRealize Automation with this error message: "The connection to vCenter Orchestrator Server time out."
  • BP profile details are not displayed in custom request form. - When Custom Request Form uses a BP profiles like size, the concrete property details are not shown in the custom request form.
  • When you cancel a catalog item request immediately after you submit it, the process appears stuck in the CANCELLING state. - System does not call the request completion event which could lead to the request being stuck in the CANCELLING state.
  • After successful migration from 6.2.4 to 7.3.1 reprovisioning returns a 404 error message for basic and support users. - A 404 error appears for basic and support users but not for the administrator user when running day 2 operations.
  • Changes in Property values are not automatically reflected in the custom forms. - When Custom request form is leveraging custom property, part of a property group, its values are set once during the initial usage. Consequent changes in property values are not reflected in custom request form.
  • When migrating vRealize Orchestrator you may experience failures related to duplicates in the database for the source vRealize Orchestrator service. The failure shown in the UI will be similar to: Failed to validate the source vRealize Orchestrator database. Duplicate entries found in the Orchestrator database: Action category duplicates: 1 item with name 'actionName'. Resolve duplicates by deleting unnecessary items. - This pre-migration step informs you about duplicate entries in your source vRO database and stops the migration process in the validation phase. It reports all duplicate entries in the source Orchestrator database and you will need to review and manually remove them before you rerun the migration. The migration to vRealize Orchestrator 7.5 fails in case of duplicate entries found in the source Orchestrator database. Those must be resolved before running the migration again.
  • The user experiences significant delay when requesting to download a log bundle. - Prior to fixing, the log bundle archive was generated on the fly on each download request. After the fix, the archive is generated as part of the log bundle generation itself, so it already exists on the file system.
  • vRA portal is down (services are unavailable) after upgrade or after changing the SSO admin password. - If the user has configured a custom vRO authentication provider in the vRO Control Center, this value gets overridden by the default value (vsphere.local\vcoadmins) after upgrade or after changing the SSO admin password.
  • vRA upgrade fails during IaaS upgrade phase because a database fail-over occurred. - In 7.3.1 and 7.4, the Postgres synchronous replication is disabled in the beginning of the VA pre-update scripts and started again at the end of the VA upgrade process. This can cause a failure during the IaaS upgrade phase as the fail-over can occur after the master VA is rebooted.
  • Database failover might fail due to expired user. - A system user account might have expired.
  • Run button for batch upgrade is not working when browser is maximized. - When you go to the Software agents tab in the VAMI and attempt to click Run while the browser is maximized, the button for batch upgrade is not working.
  • All the text boxes in Software Agents do not provide the default value as part of information tooltip. - The text boxes in SW Agents do not provide the default value as part of information tooltip.
  • Upgrade to vRA 7.5 fails because of duplicates in the vRealize Orchestrator database. - This can occur when there are duplicate entries in the vRealize Orchestrator database.
  • In the VAMI Update tab an error stating that the upgrade has failed in the pre-install phase. In the pre-update logs an error of the following type can be observed : System tables duplicates:
    • 2 items with ID 'xxx' in database table 'vmo_scriptmodulecontent'
    • Resolve duplicates by deleting unnecessary items.
  • Not possible to install plug-in with large size. - vRO configuration server is still limited to 512MB max size (not vRO service itself, rather the vRO configurator service). For the plug-in, this will be a major inconvenience for users to have to manually tune vRO configuration server before they can successfully install the plug-in due to its large size.vRO configuration service memory size is changed to 768 MB.

Known Issues During Installation:

  • Installation of a vRealize Automation 7.5 cluster fails during the join-va (join cluster) step. - A new install of vRA 7.5 cluster with 2 or 3 VAs is reporting 'validation failed' on the join-va (join cluster) step. After waiting up to 15 more minutes without clicking 'retry failed', the status eventually changes to "successful" and installation proceeds further. This is caused by a premature timeout in the UI wizard (30 minutes) could lead to a failure if the join operation takes longer than 30 minutes. See Knowledge Base article 58708.
  • The "Retry All IaaS" functionality in the product Installation wizard is failing with "Validation failed" status ,and a message similar to the following could be seen in the Description field: "An item with the same key has already been added" - That is a known issue affecting vRealize Automation. The workaround for this issue is to execute the following SQL update statement on the embedded vPostgres database: "update cluster_commands set output='' where type like '%install%';" before triggering the "Retry All IaaS" operation again.
  • Initial OVF deployment of vRA 7.5 fails with error: Deployment failed, you will need to redeploy. - After initial OVF deployment on the appliance console, you see error similar to: ERROR: DEPLOYMENT FAILED, YOU WILL NEED TO REDEPLOY. Error log is in /var/log/boot.msg, Workaround: See Knowledge Base article 59333.

Known Issues During Upgrade:

  • During IaaS automatic upgrade upgrade-dem or upgrade-agent command fails. Command result is similar to: Result: Service name contains invalid characters, is empty, or is too long (max length = 80). Alternatively same error could be found in the Management Agent All.log file. The name of the mentioned service is longer than 80 characters. - Microsoft .Net APIs used to handle Windows Service operations in IaaS have a restriction of 80 characters for Windows Service name, although the OS actually permits longer (256) lengths. The problem occurs in the end of the DEM/DEO/Agent upgrade when the service is attempted to be restarted. The Service name should be changed to a shorter one but the Windows command line tools / APIs do not allow such a change (only the Display name could be modified), so the workaround is to reinstall the service. This could be done by uninstalling the service, then downloading the IaaS installer (from the VAMI install page at https://:5480/installer) and running it on the respective IaaS host to install the service with an appropriate name. Bear in mind that each IaaS service is automatically given a prefix upon installation preceding the entered name. Depending on the service the prefixes are: VMware DEM-Worker, VMware DEM-Orchestrator, VMware vCloud Automation Center Agent. Note: In case of reinstalling an IaaS Agent to change its name - the name of the corresponding endpoint should also be changed in vRA.
  • Increased CPU load is present after upgrade from vRealize Automation 7.1 through 7.4 to 7.5 - When you upgrade vRealize Automation 7.1 through 7.4 to 7.5, , duplicate entries are added to the DynamicOps.Repository.WorkflowSchedules table in the IaaS database. The duplicate schedules are for metrics workflows. After upgrade, multiple metrics workflows running the same calculations at the same time increase the CPU load on the system. Workaround: See Knowledge Base article: KB 2150239.
  • Following an upgrade from vRealize Automation 7.3 or earlier, applications that use the Get Details Form API call stop working. -
  • In vRealize Automation 7.3 or earlier, the following list of XaaS request properties retrieved using the catalog service API "GET /api/consumer/requests/{id}/forms/details" were misspelled:
    • "vco.execurion.state"
    • "vco.execurion.business.state"
    • "vco.execurion.current.activity.name"
    • "vco.execurion.start.date"
    • "vco.execurion.end.date"
    • "vco.execurion.error.details"
  • As of vRealize Automation 7.3.1, "execurion" was corrected to "execution". Applications that continued to use the XaaS request properties with the original spelling stopped working. Workaround: If your content is dependent on any of the misspelled XaaS request properties and you are running vRealize Automation 7.3.1 or later, update your application to use the current XaaS request properties spelled as follows:
    • "vco.execution.state"
    • "vco.execution.business.state"
    • "vco.execution.current.activity.name"
    • "vco.execution.start.date"
    • "vco.execution.end.date"
    • "vco.execution.error.details"
  • Health Service configuration data is missing in vRA 7.5 after an upgrade from vRA 7.3 and later. - Health Service data is now stored in the vRA Postgres database as opposed to the internal datastore used in the Health Service in vRA 7.3 and 7.4. There is no migration path for the historical data and the health service needs to be reconfigured following an upgrade. Workaround: Configure the health service checks post upgrade.
  • Day 2 actions such as start, stop, and restart don't appear for Azure machines after upgrade or migration to 7.5 - After upgrade or migration from 7.x to 7.5, start, stop, and restart actions don't appear. Workaround: See Knowledge Base article 58864.
  • After upgrading to vRA 7.5, the storage grid under Reservation is not populated. - After vRA is upgraded to version 7.5, the storage grid under Reservation is not populated. Workaround: Restart the VMware vCloud Automation Center Service from the command line or from the vRealize Automation appliance management interface.
  • Custom updates in setenv.sh file for vRO are overidden after upgrading. - Post upgrade, manually update the values as needed post upgrade and restart the VCO server to apply the changes.

Known Issues During Configuring and Provisioning:

  • vRA cluster node could report as "down" on load balancer when under heavy load. - Under heavy load or a post failover operation, a vRA node might be flagged as 'down' (Error 503) on the external load balancer. As of vRA 7.5, vIDM health check is included as dependency on the vRA node health check.
  • Under stress, the healthcheck of the embedded vIDM instance is taking longer to respond, prematurely flagging vRA node as down in load balancer. See Knowledge Base article 58709.
  • Read-only text areas cannot be resized in Chrome Edge and IE. - When the XaaS blueprint contains a large text area, the text area cannot be resized properly in Chrome Edge and IE due to missing Microsoft CSS support. As alternative you can use use Firefox browser.
  • External vRO action with type Array of Any is not supported for populating fields or properties in Custom Forms. - Configuring field or custom property in a custom form to be populated by vRO action with type Array[Any] can lead to errors in the form and will not work properly. Using action with this return type can be very error prone in various use cases and we want to discourage customers of making such configurations in their forms. Workaround: None
  • Event Broker resources provisioned by software service do not clear up and software provisioning fails to happen on a machine level reprovision. - If you perform a Day 2 reprovision operation on a machine that has a software element deployed on it, the software doesn't redeployed on the provisioned VM. Workaround: None
  • Full day 2 action menu is not shown in IE11 and Edge browsers. - Full Day 2 action menu is not visible in IE11 and Edge browsers for deployments with only a 1 or 2 sub machines. Workaround: While the action list is cut off on the screen, it is possible to scroll to access the entire list. Alternatively, Firefox or Chrome browsers could be used.
  • When using Firefox browser to create or edit a blueprint, max storage value needs to be manually filled in for the Clone Template VM. - When composing a blueprint in Firefox, the max storage value is not auto-filled in on the Machine Resources tab after the Clone template is selected for VM build Information, and it will be marked red and highlighted. You must manually fill in the value for max storage.
  • Approval is not getting triggered for change lease day 2 action and change lease action goes through without waiting for approval. - When the approval is based on the condition of number of days of lease requested, such as approval policy using policy type as "Service Catalog - Resource Action Request - Change Lease - Deployment/Machine" where an approval is required based on a clause satisfying the number of lease days and is associated with the policy type in catalog entitlement. After the machine is provisioned when you change the lease of the machine, the action processes without invoking any approvals. Workaround: For Change Lease, use "Always" for approval types instead of adding a clause for number of lease days.
  • Using Subtenant Label as a binding field in Custom Forms design UI does not work. - When trying to use Subtenant Label as binding field in a custom form in the UI, the binding is reverted to Tenant Label. Workaround: Use Subtenant Reference field instead in the Custom forms UI. You can also export the Custom Form as yaml, modify the yaml file by putting the correct binding, and then re-import the form.
  • Unable to authenticate with OAuthToken! exception while accessing Business Management tab in vRA mode. - In vRA mode, when the user session expires in vRA, this error message appears on the Business Management tab: org.springframework.security.authentication.BadCredentialsException: Unable to authenticate with OAuthToken! The token is expired. Workaround: Log out and login again.
  • Azure virtual machine form details don't appear after upgrade or migration. - After upgrading or migrating from vRA 7.x to 7.5, existing forms for Azure VMs appear empty. Workaround: See Knowledge Base article 58864.
  • In an Azure catalog request, cannot delete a custom property defined in blueprints. - When an Azure blueprint that includes a custom property is added to a blueprint in catalog entitlement, you can use or override the default values of the property during the catalog request. But you cannot remove the property. Workaround: If you don't want the property to be used, you must remove the custom property from the blueprint.
  • Using CloudClient to import a blueprint into vRA, an operation status fails and an error message appears. - In vRA 7.5, a software component validation at blueprint creation and blueprint request time was added, which can result in an error message similar to:Example:"operationStatus" : "FAILED","operationErrors" : [ { "errorCode" : 900184, "errorMessage" : "In the [Common-Functions] component, the software component [VMware-vRA-Common-Functions is not linked to Common]" } ]The validation principle is that in any isolated vSphere machine, if more than one software component exists, they must have dependencies, for example, SWA depends on SWB, and SWB depends on SWC (SWA -> SWB -> SWC). The dependencies show an execution sequence at software component installation time. Simultaneous provisioning of two software components is not allowed causing error messages 'in the format of "In the <[component_name]> component, the software component [SWA is not linked to SWB]". Workaround: Locate the problematic software components in the yaml file according to the error message, and add "dependsOn: - " on separate line, as shown here:SWA: type: Software.SWA dependsOn: - SWB data:

System Requirements:

For information about supported host operating systems, databases, and Web servers, see the vRealize Automation Support Matrix.

Documentation:

For vRealize Automation 7.5 documentation, see VMware vRealize Automation at VMware Docs.

Installation:

Upgrade:

  • For general guidance, see Upgrading vRealize Automation at VMware Docs
  • You can also upgrade vRealize Automation by using vRealize Suite Life Cycle Manager. See vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager Installation, Upgrade, and Management. 
  • Before you upgrade from vRealize Automation 6.2.x - The vRealize Production Test Upgrade Assist Tool analyzes your vRealize Automation 6.2.x environment for any feature configuration that can cause upgrade issues and checks to see that your environment is ready for upgrade. To download this tool and related documentation, go to the VMware vRealize Production Test Tool Download Product page. 

Using vRealize Code Stream:

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