In April 2020, VMware released vRealize Automation 8.1 – an incremental upgrade to vRealize Automation 8 – which includes a number of new features. Kubernetes support has been enhanced, Red Hat Openshift support has been introduced, approval policies have been added, support for Powershell in ABX and in vRealize Orchestrator, NSX and networking updates, RBAC enhancements and a slew of other new features.
Let me be honest – calling vRealize Automation 8.0 or 8.1 the same name as the previous product is actually a disservice. This is an entirely new product and way of automating infrastructure for VMware. The new product is modern and itself containerized and modular in the way that VMware built and distributes the software. It introduces modern concepts like code pipelines, continuous delivery and infrastructure as code definitions.
vRealize Automation 8 is made of 3 major components – Cloud Assembly, Code Stream & Service Broker. Also packaged is Orchestrator, which has been closely coupled with the legacy vRA for many years.
Cloud Assembly is the portion of the product used to create blueprints and workflows. This is the section that allows us to create infrastructure as code definitions for templates that can be deployed. Cloud Assembly allows for common definition of deployments through the abstraction of infrastructure. This allows the IaC definitions to be normalized while allowing the specifics to be mapped back for operational purposes. For instance, in AWS or Azure, you have a specific VM image and sizing to be determined. In vSphere, those options are a combination of choices of vCPU, RAM and disk space. Cloud Assembly allows you to setup definitions – t-shirt sizes, if you like – that defines small on vSphere as 2 vCPU, 8GB of RAM, 40Gb of Disk space and maps that to a specific SKU for a matching cloud instance.
Code Stream is a code pipeline allowing for continuous delivery. It is a DevOps tool with integrations to other tools that developers will be using to create software.
Service Broker is the catalog or portal for users to access and request services. This is the primary interface for non-infrastructure users. Governance is also built into Service Broker. In addition to blueprints created in Cloud Assembly, some services can be surfaced directly into Service Broker, like AWS Cloud Formation Templates.
The new vRealize Automation is made up of Kubernetes orchestrated containers.