Using custom properties to govern Service in vRA 6.2

We all have been impressed with governance engine of vRA/vCAC. Governance is biggest advantage over vCloud Director. Approval policies are the crux of governance. I have explained in detailed approval policies in my previous post. Approval policies can have multiple level and can span across your different divisions e.g. IT, HR, Finance. These policies are little bit revised in vRA 6.2 to leverage extensibility aspect. Again this revision is brought due to customer demand. In previous release if end user has specific requirement and is requesting something, If it is not available, workflow use to end and user has to request service again with different requirement. This was especially true for custom properties. For system property it was possible to do so, however system defined property have very limited scope.

Let me explain this via some example. Referring my previous blog, if User is requesting large VM, it goes to approval to his manager. Manager review the request, thinks large VM request is not needed for this users. He rejects the requests with comments “Please request Small VM”. Here user has to request new approval cycle. This can go into email loop.

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Starting vRA 6.2 this behavior is changed. Now user’s manager can modify the request which will allow provisioning workflow to continue.

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Let’s see how this is going to work in practice. In vRA 6.2 in What’s new feature it states “Supports editing of any machine property during the approval process”. If you recall my blueprint has drop down parameter to select the size of VM. It was Large, Medium and Small. It is custom property which I have defined as “VirtualMachine.Size” takes care of this input parameter, Please refer screen capture of my previous blog here. I’m going to use same custom property to override the decision made by the user. In vRA 6.2 this new feature can be leverage using field available under “Approval Form

Let’s learn how to explore this field. Let’s create approval policy.

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Most important item in above screen is selecting right Approval policy i.e. Point 4. It is Service Catalog – Catalog Item Request –Virtual Machine.

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After you press +, you need provide information for “Add Level” screen shown below

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Till this point, every step is similar to what we use to do in previous vRA releases. However the tab Approval Form is something new and it is where governance is made possible even for custom properties. Below I have added custom property “VirtualMachine.Size”. Do note there is no need to add any value here. It is the value which will be reviewed by the approver (Sales User in my case, point:04). In System Properties, default properties are exposed by the system. You may select the checkbox if you wish to override user selected System Properties

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Press Add twice to complete Approval policy creation process.

To associate approval policy to entitlement, navigate to Administration –> Catalog Management –> Entitlements and select catalog item of your interest where you wish to apply this policy.

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I have selected Windows2008 service, associated approval policy “Control VM Size”. That is all needed from configuration perspective.

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Now user experience. User logs into portal to request a service. He selects Large Virtual Machine.

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Since we have enable approval policy for such request, approver has to review this workflow before provisioning can proceed further. Approver reviews the request  and change the Virtual Machine.Size to Small which he thinks is appropriate for him.

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Virtual machine is provisioned with Small size. This can be confirmed in below screen.

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Things for consideration

  1. Starting vRA 6.2 you can edit custom property for approval process. This allows granular level of control on service request. Now workflow continues further even if custom properties is use. No need to repeat approval workflow. It saves time for requestor and approver.
  2. However please note, vRA 6.2 do not allow to make conditional choice using custom property
  3. When you change the VM size using Large, Medium or Small, Size is not reflected in vRA still next inventory collection happens. This may impact cost associated with VM till the collection is done.