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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Amazon EC2 Configuration

Usually most people go straight for connecting vCAC to vCenter, but I have decided to connect to Amazon EC2 first. I’m doing this for a few reasons, but mainly because anyone reading this has access to EC2. All you really need is any computer with a Desktop Virtualization tool like VMware workstation and you can test vCAC with Amazon EC2. If you don’t have an Amazon AWWS account go to http://aws.amazon.com and sign-up.

Signing up for Amazon AWS is free and what’s even better is you can also provision “Micro.Instances” for free for an entire year as long as you stay within these guidelines. The basics are this:

  • 750 Hours of Linux/Windows Micro Instance Usage per month. (613Mb Memory). This is enough to run a single micro instance for the whole month.
  • 750 Hours of Elastic Load Balancing plus 15GB of data processing
  • 30GB of Elastic Block Storage
  • 5GB of S3 Storage with 20,000 Get requests and 2,000 Put requests
  • And some other goodies…..

You can run more than one micro instance at a time as long as the consecutive run time of your machines doesn’t go over 750 hours a month. Once you provision an instance it automatically counts as 15 minutes used. I don’t bother trying to calculate by the 15 minutes so the way I look at it is I can perform 750 provisioning tests per month if each test is less than an hour.

Backgroud information

Before we begin the configuration there are a few things we need in place. If you don’t already have vCAC installed and the foundation laid check out these posts to get going:

What were going to configure

In order to configure EC2 integration we are going to setup some additional components of vCAC as outlined below:

  • Credentials -Credentials will be utilized by out endpoints to authenticate us to the infrastructure element managers that we are going to communicate with.
  • End Point – Endpoints are how we manage connections from vCAC to other infrastructure elements in the environment. There are endpoints that allow us to communicate with EC2, vCenter, vCloud Director, vCenter Orchestrator, Hyper-V, NetApp Filers, as well as Physical Servers such as HP iLO, Dell iDrac, and Cisco UCS.
  • Enterprise Group – Although we already created an Enterprise Group we are going to add Compute Resources to the group in this exercise. FOr more information on what Enterprise Groups are see my earlier article “vCloud Automation Center – Laying the foundation“.
  • Reservations – A resource reservation is how we provide available resources to our provisioning groups. Resource Reservation are a one to one mapping to provisioning groups. Resource reservation will get created for any type of resources you want to make available to your groups. we will discuss these in more detail in another article.
  • Global Blueprints – A Blueprint is really a service definition that details what the consumer can request and all the policies and configuration of that service. We will create an Amazon Ec2 Blueprint that a consumer can request through the service catalog in this example. I will cover Blueprints in greater detail in another article.
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      Configuring vCAC to provision to Amazon EC2

      Crating Credentials

      1.) The first thing we need to do is log into the vCAC console at “http://[host]/dcac“, then go to the “vCAC Administrator” menu on the “Left” and select “Credentials“.
      2.) On the “Credentials” page select “New Credentials” in the “Upper Right” corner.

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      3.) Give your “Credential” a “Name” and “Description“. We then need to get your Amazon AWS “Access Key ID” and “Secret Access Key” which are covered in the following steps. The “Access Key ID” will be your “Username” and the “Secret Access Key” will be used as the “Password“.

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      Getting your AWS Access Key ID and Secret Access Key

      4.)Login to your Amazon AWS account at “http://aws.amazon.com“. At the top “Right” corner “Hover” over “My Account/Console” and then select “Security Credentials

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      5.) Scroll Down the page until you set to the section labeled “Access Credentials” and you will see your “Access Key ID” displayed. Copy and paste this in the “Credentials” “Username” field.

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      6.) Next “Click” “Show” to display your “Secret Access Key“. Copy and paste this into the “Credentials” “Password” Fields.

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      7.) Once you have input your “Username” and “Password” click the “Green” check on the “Left” hand side.

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      Creating an EndPoint”

      8.) Next go to “vCAC Administrator” menu and “Click” “Endpoints” Once the “EndPoints” page displays “Hover” over “New EndPoint” and select “Amazon EC2“.

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      9.) Give your “Endpoint” and “Name” and then “click” the selection box next to “Credentials“. Select the “Amazon EC2” “Credentials” you just created and “Click” “Ok“., then “Click” “Ok” on the “New Endpoint” Screen.

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      10.) You will now see your newly crated Endpoint listed on the Endpoints screen. At this point vCAC executes a workflows that connects to Amazon AWS and validates your Credentials. If your credentials are validated the workflow will proceed to do a Data Discovery. The discovery will detect the available Amazon EC2 resources available for use. Once the discovery if finished the Amazon EC2 resources will become available within the “Enterprise Group” for selection.

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      Adding Compute Resources to an Enterprise Group

      11.) Next let’s go to the “vCAC Administrators” menu and select “Enterprise Groups“. Once on the “Enterprise Groups” page “Hover” over the “Enterprise Group” we created and “select” “Edit

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      12.) In the “Enterprise Group” we now see the “Amazon Regions” that are available. Select the “Amazon Region” that you would like to use and “Click” “Ok“.

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      13.) Next if you go to the “Enterprise Administrators” Menu on the left and select “Compute Resources” you will see a “Compute Resource” for each “Amazon Region” you selected. Once the “Compute Resource” is available we can create a “Resource Reservation” to assign to our “Provisioning Group“.

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      Creating a Reservation

      14.)On the “Enterprise Administrators” menu select “Reservations” and then “Hover” over “New Reservation” in the upper right corner and select “Cloud

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      15.)On the “New Reservation – Cloud” page select the “Drop Down” dialog next to “Compute Resource” and select the “Amazon EC2” “Compute Resource

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      16.) vCAC will “auto-generate” a “Name” for the “Reservation” however you can change the name if you like. The select the “Drop Down” dialog next to “Provisioning Group” and “Select” the “Provisioning Group” we created.

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      17.) Next if you like you can set a “Machine Quota” to limit the number of machines that can be provisioned on to this “Amazon AWS Reservation“. You must set a “Priority” for the “Reservation” which is used to assist in making placement decisions if you have multiple reservations. I will talk more about this in another post. Once you have set your “Priority” “click” the “Resources” tab above.

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      18.)”Amazon AWS” utilized “Key Pairs” for enhanced security of machine management tasks. You ave a few options within vCAC. You can let vCAC “Auto-generate a key pair per Provisioning Group“, “Auto-Generate a key pair per Machine“, or you can use a “Specific key pair” that you have already created through the “Amazon AWS” console. I’m going to use the “Auto-Generated per Provisioning Group” option in this example.

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      19.) Next we need to select the “Locations” within the “Selected AWS Region” that we want to make available for use. I’m going to select them all. Then we need to select the “Security Group” we would like to make our machine part of. The “Security Group” can be looked at as a firewall rules for your machine. I’m going to select my “Default” “Security Group“. Optionally you can select a “Load Balancer” to attach the machine to as well. I will cover this in a later article. When you are finished “Click” “Alerts” above.

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      20.) Here you can optionally enable “Alerts” that will send notifications if the “Reservation” is nearing capacity. Set the “Quota Threshold” for your alert, the email addresses to be notified, and the “Reminder Frequency” and click “Ok

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      21.) You will now see your newly created “Reservation” listed on the “Reservations” screen. Now select “Global Blueprints” located under the “Enterprise Administrators” menu.

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      Creating a Blueprint

      22.) Once you are on the “Global Blueprints” page “Hover” over “New Blueprint” and select “Cloud

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      23.) Once on the “Blueprint Information” tab give your “Blueprint” a “Name“, and optionally change the “Display Icon“. Next assign it to a “Group(s)” and then optionally override the “Prefix” associated with this “Blueprint“. Then you can optionally set the max number of machines a user can request for this blueprint and a daily cost if you wish. Once complete select the “Build Information” tab above.

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      24.) On the “Build Information” tab change the “Blueprint Type” to “Server”

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      25.) Then next to “Amazon Machine Image” click the “Selection” box.

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      26.) Once the dialog box appears you can filer the results at the top to narrow the result for the AMI you would like to use. If you selected multiple regions for use make sure the AMI is in the Region you want to use. Select the “AMI” you would like to use and click “Ok

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      27.) “Optionally” you can “override” the “key Pair” setting that we configured in the “Reservation“.

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      28.) “Optionally” you can “Enable” network options for the “Bluepeint“. The will allow the requester to select the “Security Group” they would like to apply to the machine if more than one was selected in the “Reservation“.

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      29.) Next select the “Instance Types” you would like the requester to be able to choose from.

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      30.) Then select the “Security” tab above.

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      Making a Request

      31.) “Hover” over the newly created “Blueprint” on the “Global Blueprints” page and select “Request machine” to test our configuration. You can also go to the “Self Service” menu and select “Request Machine

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      32.)On the “Confirm Machine Request” page click the “Drop Down” next to “Instance Type” and select the type of “Instance” you would like to request.

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      33.) Then click the “Drop Down” next to “Provision Into” and select “Non-VPC Location” because we do not have a “VPC” configured.

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      34.) Next select the “Drop Down” next to “Location” and select a location to provision to.

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      35.) Next click the “Storage” tab above.

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      36.) Optionally you can add “EBS Storage” volumes to your “Request“. Click the “Network” tab above.

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      37.) “Optionally” if you added more than one “Security Group” to your “Reservation” and “Enabled” “Network Options” in the “Blueprint” you can select a different “Security Group” for your machine. Click “Ok” when finished.

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      38.) Next under the “Self-Service” menu select “My Machines” to track the status of your request.

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      39.) Your newly “Requested” machine will appear under “My Machines” and the status will show “Requested“. Note: If you machine does not show up click refresh as it can take a few seconds for it to appear.

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      40.) If you continue to “Refresh” the page you will see the requests updated “Status“. The next “Status” your “Request” will go to is “CloudProvisioning“.

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      41.) After your request goes to “CloudProvisioning” If you login to your “AWS Console” and go to “AWS Management Console“, then “EC2“, and then “Instances” you will see your newly provisioned machine in the “Pending State

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      42.) Once finished the machine state in “vCAC” will go to “MachineProvisioned“, Then “Turning On“, and finally “On

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      43.) You will now see your machine “Running” in the “AWS Console“.

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      44.) In “vCAC” if you “Hover” over your newly created machine you will see the “Machine Options Menu” select “Edit

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      45.) On the “Machine Information” tab near the bottom you will see “Admin Password“. Here you can show the “Local Password” for your newly provisioned “Amazon AWS Instance” Click the “Storage” tab above. Note: It can take Amazon 30+ minutes to make the password available even through the AWS Console. Once it is available from Amazon, it will not be available in vCAC until vCAC performs a data collection.

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      46.) On the “Storage” tab you can add “EBS” storage “post-proviosioning” if you would like. Click on the “Network” tab above.

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      47.) On the “Network” tab you can assign an “Elastic IP Address” if you have made them available through “Amazon AWS“. You can also change the “Security Group” and assign the machine to a “Load Balancer” Click “Ok” when you are done. More on these option soon.

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      There are a few important things to note. If you add additional services such as Elastic IP Address, Elastic Block Storage, Elastic Load Balancers, Sucurity Groups, etc through the Amazon AWS Console they will not appear as available in vCAC until after the next Inventory Data Collection. You can perform a manual data collection as well as change the data collection frequency by doing the following:

      1. Go to “Enterprise Administrator” menu and select “Compute Resources
      2. Hover over the “Compute Resource” and select “Data Collection
      3. Under the “Inventory” section you can set the “Frequency” in hours as well as manually “Request” a “Data Collection“.
      4. If you “Request” a “Data Collection” you can select “Refresh” at the bottom of the page to get the status of the collection.

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More Stories By Sidney Smith

Sid Smith, founder of DailyHypervisor is considered to be a cloud expert in the IT field with over 10 years experience in Virtualization, Automation, and Cloud technologies. Sid Smith started in the industry designing and implementing large scale enterprise server and desktop virtualization environments for fortune 100 and 500 companies. He later went on to become a key employee at DynamicOps the well know creators of Cloud Automation Center. In July 2012 DynamicOps was acquired by VMware who has adopted Cloud Automation Center as a center piece for it’s vCloud Suite of products. Sid has helped dozens of fortune 100 and 500 enterprises successfully adopt both private and public cloud strategies as part of their IT offerings. The result of which was large operational and capital savings for his customers. Sid continues to help large enterprise customers reach their hybrid cloud strategies at VMware. On DailyHypervisor you will find exclusive content that will help you learn how to adopt a successful cloud strategy through the use of VMware Cloud Automation Center, Open Stack, and other industry recognized cloud solutions.