vRealize Automation 8.4 Released

VMware have released another update to vRealize Automation (vRA) 8. Like 8.3, I had issues updating to this version using Lifecycle Manager. This is why I never got around to writing about the 8.3 release. I ended up doing a fresh installation of 8.4 to see what’s new and changed.

What’s New

Going through the Release Notes, it seems that this release is a set of incremental changes. There is a change to how the Access Token for the API functions, which could have an impact on those who are leveraging the REST API. As per the notes, there’s also been a lot of improvements to accessibility. It’s good to see VMware pushing ahead with this sort of initiative.

There seems to be additional flexibility in how you can configure storage for Virtual Machines (VM). Day 2 actions can now be applied to all disks on a Virtual Machine, with easier identification of them. If the VM is of a vSphere type, you now have granular control over the order in which disks are created and which SCSI controller its attached to. For deployments that may have complex storage configurations (such as a high performance SQL Server) this is a great addition.

There’s some extra Azure related functionality. Firstly, the use of the Image Gallery is supported. This is a timely addition for myself as I’m just starting to look at how to create custom images on Azure using Packer. It’s now possible to create and manage snapshots on Azure managed disks.

vRealize Orchestrator Changes

Since vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) comes with vRA it’s always a good thing to check the separate release notes for that product. One item mentioned in the release notes of both products is the Plugin. The wording seems to imply it’s a reworking or major revision.

A nice feature that was included in vRO 8.3 is the Viewer role. This allows a user to be granted the rights to view vRO objects. But they cannot create, edit or execute items. While a use case doesn’t immedately come to mind, it’s good to see that it’s available.

Final Thoughts

The issues I’m running into with updating the product via Lifecycle Manager is becoming an annoyance. From a personal point of view, the extra capabilities being added around disks and storage is good. This was an area under vRA 7.x that was lacking and would’ve required a lot of custom code to achieve the same outcomes. Overall a nice set of improvements.

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