Troubleshooting vRealize Automation Provisioning

If you’ve worked with vRealize Automation (vRA) for any amount of time you’ve most likely experienced a provision that has either failed or gotten stuck in progress. I’m going to show how you can begin troubleshooting these scenarios.

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Using Powershell to work with vRealize Automation work items

I’m going to show how to use Powershell to access a vRealize Automation (vRA) work item and use the work item data to add the machine requestor to the local admins group of the provisioned machine.

This script is for demonstration purposes only and not intended for production use. Please do not call VMware GSS with questions relating to this post as they will not be able to assist.

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Provisoning vRealize Automation Catalog Items with Powershell and REST

I’ve dabbled with Powershell in the past but never considered it one of my go to languages since it was only available on Windows. This limited my usage of Powershell to primarily working with VMware’s PowerCLI, but now that Powershell has been ported to Linux and OSX I’ve decided to put more effort into learning it. At work I’m working with vRealize Automation (vRA) so I thought I’d try to provision some vRA catalog items via Powershell and REST. Compared to other languages I’ve used, Powershell makes working wtih RESTful APIs very easy. Let’s get started.

This post is designed so you can follow along line by line. You can find a functionalized version on Github.

You can follow along by opening up a Powershell window. Let’s set up some variables:

$vraServer = ‘vra72.vmware.local’
$catalogItem = ‘CentOS 7 Base’
$username = ‘cloudadmin’
$password = ‘VMware1!’
$tenant = ‘vsphere.local’

Getting a login token

The first thing we need to do is get a login token from vRA. You can find out more about this in the vRA API Documentation. You can see an example request in curl here. We can get a login token by making a request to the following URL:

$url = “https://$($vraServer)/identity/api/tokens”

As described in the above links, we must be a POST request and the body of the request must be our username, password and tenant in JSON format. Powershell makes this really easy. Let’s start by defining a hash table with the required values:

$properties = @{‘username’ = $username; ‘password’ = $password; ‘tenant’ = $tenant}

If we view the contents of our $properties variable, we will see the following:


Now let’s convert this into a Powershell object:

$bodyObject = New-Object –TypeName PSObject –Property $properties

Viewing the contents of $bodyObject gives us:


We still need to convert this to JSON as this is what the request for a token requires. This can easily be done like so:

$body = $bodyObject | ConvertTo-Json

The $body variable looks like this:


If you’ve worked with JSON in the past this should look familiar.

Now we are going to request another hash table containing our headers:

$headers = @{“Content-Type” = “application/json”; “Accept” = “application/json”}

We are now ready to request our login token:

$request = Invoke-WebRequest $url -Method POST -Headers $headers -Body $body

Here you can see we used Poweshell’s Invoke-WebRequest commandlet. We specified the method as POST along with our headers and body. The $request variable looks like this:


If you look at Content you’ll see that it contains our token along with other information such as the expiration date. The value of Content is a Powershell String, but we want it in JSON format so we can parse out the id. We can do this by running:

$content = $request.content | convertFrom-json

$content contains:


To get the id, we just need to grab the id field:

$bearerToken = $

The $bearerToken variable will look something like this:


Requesting a catalog item

To request a catalog item we need to perform the following:

  1. Make a GET request on the entitled catalog items
  2. Make a GET request to get the view of our catalog item
  3. Get a the request template for our catalog item
  4. Make a POST request for our catalog item

I’m not going to go into as much detail as in the Getting a login token section as it’s the same pattern over and over.

In the following block of code we specify the URL that contains our entitled catalog items, define $headers again but this time we specify an Authorization header and use our bearer token, make our request and convert the returned content into JSON:

$url = “https://$($vraServer)/catalog-service/api/consumer/entitledCatalogItems/”
$headers = @{“Content-Type” = “application/json”; “Accept” = “application/json”; “Authorization” = “Bearer ${bearerToken}”}
$request = Invoke-WebRequest $url -Method GET -Headers $headers
$content = $request.Content | ConvertFrom-Json

If we look at the content field of $contentJson, we see we have various catalog items:


How do we know what’s in each of these? Let’s grab the first one item and see what type of Poweshell object it is:


So we can see that the BaseType is an object. This means we can use the Get-Member commandlet to get all the objects members or fields:


The catalogItem field looks promising. Let’s check it out:


OK, so we know we look at $contentJson.content we get a list of catalog items and we can look at the catalogItem field to get details about each one. To find which item we are looking for $catalogItem, we can do the following:

$consumerEntitledCatalogItem = $content.content | where { $ -eq $catalogItem }

Let’s verify that we have the correct catalog item:


In the next block we will get the catalog item’s id since that’s what we will append to the catalog item view URL, make our request and convert the results to a Powershell object:

$consumerEntitledCatalogItemId = $
$url = “https://$($vraServer)/catalog-service/api/consumer/entitledCatalogItemViews/$($consumerEntitledCatalogItemId)”
$request = Invoke-WebRequest $url -Method GET -Headers $headers
$content = $request.Content | ConvertFrom-Json

If we look at at the links field of $content, we will see:


We need the href that ends in template and we can get it like this:

$requestTemplateURL = $content.links | ? { $_.rel -eq ‘GET: Request Template’ }

Let’s go ahead and get the POST URL while we’re at it:

$requestPOSTURL = $content.links | ? { $_.rel -eq ‘POST: Submit Request’ }

Now we can make a request to $requestTemplateURL. This will allow us to access a “template” of the request data. Once we have this we can either use the same data to make a request or modify somehow like changing the number of CPUs we want:

$request = Invoke-WebRequest $requestTemplateURL.href -Method GET -Headers $headers


Now we have everything we need to make the catalog item request:

$request = Invoke-WebRequest $requestPOSTURL.href -Method POST -Headers $headers -body $request.content

If the request was successful, you should see a status code of 201 and the request should be In Progress in vRA:


Here are all of the steps:

$vraServer = ‘vra72.vmware.local’
$catalogItem = ‘CentOS 7 Base’
$username = ‘cloudadmin’
$password = ‘VMware1!’
$tenant = ‘vsphere.local’

$url = “https://$($vraServer)/identity/api/tokens”

$properties = @{‘username’ = $username; ‘password’ = $password; ‘tenant’ = $tenant}

$bodyObject = New-Object –TypeName PSObject –Property $properties

$body = $bodyObject | ConvertTo-Json

$headers = @{“Content-Type” = “application/json”; “Accept” = “application/json”}

$request = Invoke-WebRequest $url -Method POST -Headers $headers -Body $body
$content = $request.content | convertFrom-json
$bearerToken = $

$url = “https://$($vraServer)/catalog-service/api/consumer/entitledCatalogItems/”
$headers = @{“Content-Type” = “application/json”; “Accept” = “application/json”; “Authorization” = “Bearer ${bearerToken}”}
$request = Invoke-WebRequest $url -Method GET -Headers $headers
$content = $request.Content | ConvertFrom-Json
$consumerEntitledCatalogItem = $content.content | ? { $ -eq $catalogItem }
$consumerEntitledCatalogItemId = $
$url = “https://$($vraServer)/catalog-service/api/consumer/entitledCatalogItemViews/$($consumerEntitledCatalogItemId)”
$request = Invoke-WebRequest $url -Method GET -Headers $headers
$content = $request.Content | ConvertFrom-Json
$requestTemplateURL = $content.links | ? { $_.rel -eq ‘GET: Request Template’ }
$requestPOSTURL = $content.links | ? { $_.rel -eq ‘POST: Submit Request’ }
$request = Invoke-WebRequest $requestTemplateURL.href -Method GET -Headers $headers
$request = Invoke-WebRequest $requestPOSTURL.href -Method POST -Headers $headers -body $request.content






















Getting Started with vSphere Integrated Containers using vRealize Automation


In this post how show how to set up vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) and integrate them into vRealize Automation (vRA). The vSphere Integrated Containers documentation can be found here. I’ll only reference the Install Guide in this post.

vSphere Integrated Container resources:

The following software versions were used:

  • vSphere Integrated Containers 1.0 (or 0.8?)
  • vRealize Automatin 7.2
  • vCenter 6.0 U2 Build:3634794
  • ESXi: 6.0 U2 Build: 3620759

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Simple Powershell Script to Monitor vRealize Automation

Lately I’ve been learning vRealize Automation (vRA) and it has involved bringing the environment up and down frequently as well as breaking and fixing various services to see how the system would respond. I got tired of going into the VAMI (port 5480 of the vRA appliance) and selecting the Refresh button to get status on all of the various services so I created a little Powershell script that will display the status of the vRA services.

The simplest way to invoke the script is with:

get-vRAHealth vra71.vmware.local

Where vra71.vmware.local is my load balancer VIP for vRA. By default the script will continously refresh every 5 seconds.

You can disable the looping like so:

get-vRAHealth vra71.vmware.local -loop $false

And control the refresh interval:

get-vRAHealth vra71.vmware.local -refresh 10

Here is the output:


The script can be found on GitHub and below:

function get-vRAHealth() {
  <#    .SYNOPSIS     Displays health status of vRA components   .DESCRIPTION      Displays health status of vRA components   .EXAMPLE     get-vRAHealth vra71.vmware.local   .EXAMPLE     get-vRAHealth https://vra71.vmware.local -loop $true   .EXAMPLE     get-vRAHealth https://vra71.vmware.local -loop $true $sleep 2   #&amp;amp;gt;




  $uri = [System.Uri] $url

  if ($uri.Host -eq $null -and $uri.OriginalString) {
    $uri = [System.Uri] "https://$($uri.OriginalString)"

  if ($uri.Scheme -eq 'http') {
    $uri = [System.Uri] "https://$($uri.Host)"

  if ($uri.LocalPath -ne '/component-registry/services/status/current') {
    $uri = [System.Uri] "$($uri.AbsoluteUri)component-registry/services/status/current"

  while ($true) {
    Write-Host "Checking $($uri.AbsoluteUri)"

    try {
      $content = Invoke-WebRequest $uri.AbsoluteUri

      if ($content.StatusCode -eq 200) {
        $json = $content.Content | ConvertFrom-Json
        $json.content | select serviceName, `
	                  @{N='Registered';E={ $_.serviceStatus.serviceInitializationStatus }}, `
	           	  @{N='Available';E={ if (!$_.notAvailable) {'True'} else {'False'}}}, `
	                       lastUpdated, `
		               statusEndPointUrl `
		      | ft -auto
        if ($loop -eq $false) { break }
      } else {
          Write-Host "Unable to access vRA Component Registry. Error: $content.StatusCode"
    } catch {
       Write-Host "Unable to access vRA Component Registry. Error: $_.Exception.Message."
  sleep $refresh

HAProxy as a Load Balancer for vRealize Automation

In this post I’m going to show how to use HAProxy as a load balancer for vRealize Automation. I used Ubuntu 14.04 LTS for the OS.

Install HAProxy

 sudo apt-get install haproxy

Add sub interfaces to VM


# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

auto eth0:0
iface eth0:0 inet static

auto eth0:1
iface eth0:1 inet static

auto eth0:2
iface eth0:2 inet static

HAProxy Config

A lot of this config are the defaults. I added the section so you can enable to the LB stats page. The bottom has my edits for vRA. There are three sections for the appliance, IaaS Web and IaaS Manager. I’m not an HAProxy expert so probably has some things that could be improved. I tried to add all the recommendations (persistence, load balancing policy, timeout, etc) as described in the vRA LB Guide.


 log /dev/log local0
 log /dev/log local1 notice
 chroot /var/lib/haproxy
 stats socket /run/haproxy/admin.sock mode 660 level admin
 stats timeout 30s
 user haproxy
 group haproxy

maxconn 2048
ssl-server-verify none

# Default SSL material locations
 ca-base /etc/ssl/certs
 crt-base /etc/ssl/private
 tune.ssl.default-dh-param 2048

# Default ciphers to use on SSL-enabled listening sockets.
 # For more information, see ciphers(1SSL). This list is from:
 ssl-default-bind-options no-sslv3

 log global
 mode http
 option forwardfor
 option forwardfor
 option httplog
 option dontlognull
 timeout connect 5000
 timeout client 50000
 timeout server 50000
 errorfile 400 /etc/haproxy/errors/400.http
 errorfile 403 /etc/haproxy/errors/403.http
 errorfile 408 /etc/haproxy/errors/408.http
 errorfile 500 /etc/haproxy/errors/500.http
 errorfile 502 /etc/haproxy/errors/502.http
 errorfile 503 /etc/haproxy/errors/503.http
 errorfile 504 /etc/haproxy/errors/504.http

listen stats
 mode http
 log global
 stats enable
 stats uri /stats
 stats realm Haproxy\ Statistics
 stats auth admin:VMware1!

# vRA 7.1 Distributed

# vRA VA

frontend vra71-va
 bind ssl crt /etc/ssl/private/wildcard.pem
 mode http
 default_backend vra71-va-backend

backend vra71-va-backend
 mode http
 balance roundrobin
 stick on src table vra71-va-backend
 stick-table type ip size 200k expire 30m
 default-server inter 3s
 timeout check 10s
 option httpchk GET /vcac/services/api/health
 http-check expect status 204

 server vra71c check ssl verify none
 server vra71d check ssl verify none

# vRA IaaS Web

frontend vra71-iaas-web
 bind ssl crt /etc/ssl/private/wildcard.pem
 mode http
 default_backend vra71-iaas-web-backend

backend vra71-iaas-web-backend
 mode http
 balance roundrobin
 stick on src table vra71-iaas-web-backend
 stick-table type ip size 200k expire 30m
 default-server inter 3s
 timeout check 10s
 option httpchk GET /wapi/api/status/web
 http-check expect string REGISTERED

 server vra71c-web check ssl verify none
 server vra71d-web check ssl verify none

# vRA IaaS Mgr

frontend vra71-iaas-mgr-https
 bind ssl crt /etc/ssl/private/wildcard.pem
 mode http
 default_backend vra71-iaas-mgr-backend

backend vra71-iaas-mgr-backend
 mode http
 balance roundrobin
 stick on src table vra71-iaas-mgr-backend
 stick-table type ip size 200k expire 30m
 default-server inter 3s
 timeout check 10s
 option httpchk GET /VMPSProvision
 http-check expect rstring ProvisionService

 server vra71c-mgr check ssl verify none
 server vra71d-mgr check ssl verify none


This is the wildcard cert I’m using for vRA. You just need to include the cert and private key in the proper order.



Stats Page

Here is an example of what the HAProxy stats page looks like:




Creating a vRealize Service Blueprint to create Infoblox DNS records

In my last post I described how to create Infoblox DNS host records using the vRealize Orchestartor (vRO) HTTP-REST plug-in.  One of the use cases I presented at the end of this post was to create a vRealize Automation (vRA) advanced service to provide creating Infoblox DNS records as a vRA catalog item.  A day after that post I was asked to present on vRA and since we’ve been working with Infoblox a lot lately, I thought that this is something I could show.

Modifying the original workflow

Since I’ve already detailed how to create the workflow, I’m not going to cover it again, but we will have to modify the inputs of the workflow so that it makes more sense when calling it from vRA.  We can start off at section Modifying the workflow in the previous post.  Instead of having a single input named content with the full payload of our REST request, let’s go ahead and change it so that we have two inputs: hostname & ipaddress.  I’m not going to cover in detail how to add/modify attributes and other changes to the workflow.  It’s pretty tedious, I’m in a hurry, you probably already know how or can find the info in one of the previous posts or online.

Right-click the workflow and select Edit.

Select the Inputs tab, highlight the content attribute and click delete.


Select Add Parameter, select arg_in_0 and give the attribute a name of hostname.


Enter Hostname in the description field.  Repeat this step for the ipaddress parameter so that it looks like:


Now we need to bind these inputs to our Scripting workflow element.  Select the

  1. Schema tab
  2. Scripting workflow element
  3. In tab
  4. Check hostname and ipaddress and press Select.


With the Scripting workflow element still active, select the Scripting tab and add the following line of code:

var content = ‘{“ipv4addrs”:[{“ipv4addr”:”‘ + ipaddress + ‘”}],”name”:”‘ + hostname + ‘”}’

The content variable is the REST payload we will be sending to the Infoblox server.  Previously this was passed in as an input in its entirety.  Now we are building the content variable up via the ipaddress and hostname inputs.   The rest of the code is the same as in the previous post.

Now you can save and close the workflow.

Creating the vRA Advanced Service

Access the vRA portal and select the Advanced Services tab.  If you don’t see this tab, perform the following:

  1. Select Administration
  2. Identity Store and Users & Groups
  3. Enter your user id.
  4. Select your user id.
  5. Select View Details


On the next screen check Service Architect and press update.  If you reload the browser, you should see the Advanced Services tab.  I don’t know vRA permissions too well so if you still don’t see it, try to give yourself more permissions.


  1. Advanced Services
  2. Service Blueprints
  3. Add


From here we can browse to the vRO workflow we previously created and select next.


Name the service and press next.


You don’t have to do anything on the next screen, but notice how it created fields for the Hostname and IP Address that it pulled from the workflow’s inputs.


On the next screen press Add.

Creating a Catalog Item

We need to publish the service blueprint so that it becomes visible as a catalog item.  Highlight the new blueprint and select Publish.


  1. Administration
  2. Catalog Management
  3. Catalog Items


Now our service blueprint is available as a catalog item and has a source of Advanced Designer Service.  Select Configure.

Here I’ve added an Infoblox icon and added the catalog item to the Infrastructure service.


You can manage services by clicking the Services menu item under the Administration tab.

Add an entitlement to the service/catalog item

If your user account doesn’t already have access to the service where you placed the catalog item or you did not place the catalog item into a service, you’ll need to add an entitlement.


  1. Administration
  2. Catalog Management
  3. Entitlements
  4. The business group your in
  5. Edit


Either add the service where you placed the catalog item or add the catalog item individually:


Requesting the catalog item

Now we are ready to request the catalog item from the Catalog tab.  Simply select Request on the Create DNS Record item.


Give the request a description. Fill in the details and press submit.


You can see the status of your request on the Requests tab.


You will also see the workflow run in vRO:


The new DNS record should now be in Infoblox.