News, VMworld 2019

VMware vRealize Automation 8.0 Gets a Modern Makeover

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 26 – vRealize Automation, one of VMware’s key products, has gotten a full version upgrade, going from 7.6 to 8.0. The announcement was made during VMworld 2019, VMware’s showcase event. VMware has radically redesigned the entire architecture, ripping out the previous guts and replacing it with a container and Kubernetes-based microservices model. VMware believes the new version of vRealize Automation will greatly enhance the ability for its customers to deploy and manage multi-cloud environments.

What does that mean in practice for an admin, though? For starters, it means much quicker and easier deployment of vRealize Automation 8.0. VMware says that the entire suite of products within the umbrella offering—including vRealize Orchestrator 8.0 and vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager 8.0—can be installed from ground zero to running production workloads in an hour or less.

It also means better performance in operation, including improved high availability functionality. The underlying OS is now VMware’s Photon OS—meaning that Windows Server is no longer required. The various services are in containers, and managed by Kubernetes, which has quickly become the de facto container orchestration platform in the industry.

VMware also touts greater ease of use with vRealize Automation 8.0, including automated cloud setup for VMware on AWS, and API-driven configuration, deployment and management. In addition, there’s much better support for Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC), which allows for vastly improved automation and scalability.

The third category VMware highlighted with the 8.0 release was extensibility with the leading public cloud platforms. That includes enhanced migrations with AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). One of the more exciting features of this is what VMware calls “automated cloud-agnostic workload provisioning.” This lets cloud admins deploy any workload to any of the public clouds mentioned earlier, giving them the choice of the cloud that best suits a given workload.

Avoiding public cloud lock-in is a very good thing, and VMware deserves kudos for this. Although their products are most tightly integrated with AWS, they’re not forgetting that there are other public clouds out there, and they’re providing options.

VMware stressed that multi-cloud doesn’t only mean two or more public cloud providers—it also includes private and hybrid cloud settings, as well as the network edge. Although the focus is strongly on the public cloud, it’s also true that most organizations still do most of their work in their own data centers, and vRealize Automation 8.0 works just as well locally, whether or not it’s wired up to a public cloud or clouds.

The user experience will be the same, VMware pointed out, whether vRealize Automation 8.0 is used in any of those environments, whether they’re public, private, or hybrid clouds. The

With the 8.0 update, vRealize Automation definitely feels more modern. There was a big focus on DevOps and the Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) paradigm that forward-thinking companies are moving toward.

One example of this is the new Git integration. Git provides source control over software, and VMware said it was one of their most-requested features, with fully 90 percent of customers clamoring for it. Using Git speeds up the development process significantly by tightly maintaining version control, synchronizing code across disparate systems, and fast merging and resolution of conflicts.

vRealize Automation 8.0 can scale up and out to a much larger degree than previous versions, another result of its new container/Kubernetes foundation. Initially, v. 8.0 supports single-node as well as three-node configurations. VMware says that three-node setups (with enough hardware, of course), have been verified under testing to support 130,000 virtual machines. And that number will grow, the company says. In other words, it should be able to handle just about anything you can throw at it.

I keep coming back to the word “modern” to describe vRealize Automation 8.0, and it’s the word that fits best. The latest version installs in no time, handles workload automation, provisioning, and lifestyle management with ease, and fully embraces DevOps and cloud-native development with CI/CD. If you haven’t yet used vRealize Automation, I think it’s time to give it a try.

vRealize Automation 8.0 is discussed in greater detail here: vRealize Automation 8 – What’s New Overview