Considerations while Bulk Importing VMs into vCAC/vRA

Why we need to import VMs

In 90% of the cases vRealize Automation (vRA) and formerly known as vCloud Automation vCenter (vCAC) will be a brown field deployment. Brown field environment suggest you already have virtual infrastructure in place. Post deployment of vRA, customer would naturally like to allow end users to manage their own VMs. What if customer has 1000 VMs and you need import these VMs. Very next question comes from customer  “is there a way to migrate existing VMs into vRA” Answer is of course Yes. It can be done using either Infrastructure organizer or Bulk import utility.

Bulk importing of VMs into vRA was introduced in vRA 6.1. Virtual machines which are not under vRA are referred as Unmanaged. If you would like end user to control their VMs using vRA, VMs must be imported into vRA. Such VMs are referred as Managed VMs.

Pre-requisite for Bulk Import

1.    Appropriate permission do this task. Privileges of Fabric Administrator and Business group Administrator

2.    List of VMs to be imported

3.    Business group to which these VMs would belong

4.    Storage location where these VMs to be imported. Or these storage must match the reservation attached to the Business group

5.    Owners of these VMs. Owner must be available in Identity source

6.    Blueprint to which these VMs will be attached. This is the most important step and needs cconsideration

7.    Business group to which these VMs will be attached must have sufficient reservation to accommodate these VMs

I have explained blueprint in this post. I will repeat it here again for emphasis. Blueprint defines how your VMs/services are going to be deployed. It defines very important parameters and they are

  • CPU
  • Memory
  • Storage
  • Machine Prefix
  • Maximum Per User
  • Archive (Days)
  • Cost Daily
  • Lease period and many more

Above parameters gets assigned to VMs when you attach a VMs to Blueprint. So what? Well when end user Re-provisions VM he is going to get altogether different VM as parameters will be driven from the blueprint and may not match the actual VM. This is extremely important consideration to be aware for you as Cloud Admin and End user as owner of the resource. However you can mitigate this problem by disabling the re-provisioning option to end user and educating end users.

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Archive (Days) and Lease period plays significant role when you are planning to import VMs in Bulk. These 2 policies can actually expire Virtual machines. During import when you attach VM with Blueprint and you have configured lease period and archive period on this blueprint, VMs attached to the blueprint will actually get those lease periods. This can potentially bring VM down.

How do we avoid this?

Well first and foremost you must be educated about this behavior and once you aware you must decide whether you need

  • Lease period and archival period
  • VMs which needs leases
  • Check VMs list using four eyes policies

My recommendation – do not apply any lease period while importing VMs. Once you attach Blueprint to VM, there after any changes made in the blueprint are applicable only to newly provisioned VMs only

Hope this helps.

NB: I’m not on linkedin and Twitter anymore.