VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) Review

It's self-service for creating your own virtual machine


What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are:

  • How it takes what we used to do in the same process as manual steps, and automates them, such as creating servers.
  • It's self-service for creating your own virtual machine.

How has it helped my organization?

It's shortened down our SLA's for VMs. When vendors request an application for various VM's, we used to take a two week process (approximately) from building a VM, QAing, and building it. Now, it can be done in a matter of two days, at max, thus, shortening the process.

What needs improvement?

Implementation directly with our SRM product, because we know what the other products are out there that VM is offering, such as Site Recovery Manager (SRM). There are ties which you can customize to put them into that, but it would be nice if it came as an out-of-the-box feature.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. Just like any other project, it does have its quirks and kinks, but like anything else you work through it. You have to customize it to get it used to your environment. There are growing pains.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We recently went through two or three upgrades, and now we're doing an upgrade for the most recent version. In that regard, it's pretty scalable. The way we can actually manage our virtual machines directly through the interface is somewhat of a gain as well.

How is customer service and technical support?

They are very knowledgeable of their product. This all goes back to customizing our kind of needs, because everybody's needs are not a one size fits all. You kind of have to customize it to fit to your environment. They have been helpful with this. Also, when we run into any issues, which have not been many, they've been very helpful with resolving them.

We actually have an onsite resident, which helps as well.

Which solutions did we use previously?

Because the way technology was going, such a physical footprint, people are now going virtual. When we realized that, we started getting a lot more virtual questions as opposed to physical, which is a good thing. We realized we needed to start pumping out these VMs at a much faster rate to meet with our demands. That's what steered us toward this product.

How was the initial setup?

It was a pretty straightforward implementation, but it was just mostly customizing it. We house somewhere around 3000+ virtual machines in our environment. It's hard to customize for that large of a footprint. We have a team who handles the automation piece, since we have such a large virtual footprint.

What other advice do I have?

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

  • Look at the support they provide, the backing of their product, and so on.
  • Have a big company name, like VM, where they have stability.
  • Fitting the your needs - nobody wants a product that they are never gonna use.

If you get a lot of virtual machine requests, this is the product to get.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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