VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) Review

The flexibility to build different components for VMs is a valuable feature


What is most valuable?

  • Automation
  • The flexibility to actually build different components, in terms of virtual machines.

Our group, we do mostly the virtualization and a creation of systems. Therefore, it's not a cookie cutter build of a template, and that's it, it's more dynamic for our group.

How has it helped my organization?

It's increased the efficiency. There's less manual work through vRA. Now, Orchestrator is the one doing most of the work and making everything more automated.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see this additional features in the next release: The ability to have more dynamic forms. Some of the static forms that vRA provides in the XaaS form, they are good, but they could be a little more efficient. For instance, the calendar selections should have the ability to only go to a certain spot, as opposed to going out to something like 2040, for the requests.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is really good. Once you got everything setup, even in its HA form, it's pretty stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not as good, but there are some components in vRA that you can scale out a lot more quickly than other pieces.

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

In our group, more of the web solutions and the blog posts helped to grow our ability to use vRA.

Technical Support:

They are always reachable by person and knowledgeable.

But because it's such a dynamic solution, at times VMware does have to go gather more resources in order to figure out the solution to things.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We had a previous VMware product called Lab Manager, then we had grown out of that box and decided to go with vRA.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the setup. In the original version 5, it was very complex. Version 6 got a little better. Version 7 is much more improved.

What about the implementation team?

In the first deployment, they sent an in-house team.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Microsoft.

What other advice do I have?

Advice for looking at VM solutions:

Definitely research the product and see what's out there.

Look at blog posts of vRA. There's quite a few resources that you can search and find on the web which will basically get you on the ground running for deployment, even simply XaaS forms.

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

  • Support
  • The cost is always important.
  • The ability of their features to match with ours.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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