VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) Review

We can deploy blueprints which are easier on day-to-day operations

What is our primary use case?

We use it for the deployment of new environments and multiple stacks, as well as deployment inside of NSX. It is also used for easy application deployment and container management.

How has it helped my organization?

We can do scripting and do customization after deployment. With vRA, we can integrate everything with a single-click. Then, there is also track management and change management control.

The repetitive tasks which took provisioning storage, network, and compute two to three weeks, now take five minutes.

What is most valuable?

I like the automation that it provides to deploy VMs and multiple apps. The integration with NSX and AWS for endpoints, which allows us to manage workloads, such as the comparison that it does between different VMs. It can do this in AWS or Azure.

Any new VM admin simplifies deployment. Instead of only deploying templates, we can deploy blueprints which are easier on day-to-day operations for an organization.

What needs improvement?

VMware should go the way of vROps, with everything in one machine, the ability to scale out, and a more distributed environment instead of having the usual centralized SQL database. 

Three-tier environments are not scalable.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

They need to get away from Windows.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It depends, because you are still dependent on the Windows machine that does all the requests and pulls from other agents. It can scale out if you size it right the first time.

How is customer service and technical support?

We used technical support with previous versions.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We knew we needed a new solution when we were falling behind and could not deploy what the business units needed.

How was the initial setup?

The product has come a long way. Now, it is more streamlined and GUI-based. 

I have done parallel upgrades, then used my grade settings for it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also evaluated CA.

We chose VMware because we are a VM shop and the product allows multiple endpoints. We could also have endpoints for AWS.

What other advice do I have?

While it's user-friendly use, you need to know what you are doing with it.

Get your requirements beforehand. Make sure of the services that you want to provide and have them nailed out. If you are just writing VMs, then you don't need vRA. If you are providing services, you're going to become a broker of services to people, so you have to plan ahead. Also plan the workloads that you're going to be providing because they will consume a lot.

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