VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) Review

Enabled us to self-manage firewalls within NSX but the interface is outdated

What is our primary use case?

We use it to deploy virtual machines and for self-managed firewalls within NSX. It's a self-service portal to speed up things.

How has it helped my organization?

It has helped our company by speeding things up. For example, a year ago it took a long time for a potential VM owner to request a VM and we ultimately wouldn't be able to use it. Now, we can request it for ourselves with our self-service portal. We're using NSX firewalls and it's easy to protect ourselves. We had a Hadoop cluster and the data must be protected within the that cluster. The owner created a fence around his own VM's by using the self-service portal and creating a firewall.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature for us is the fact that it is self-service. 

What needs improvement?

We have found this solution to be user-friendly but there is room for improvement. The interface is not very modern, although version 7.5 is a lot better.

I would like to see a richer GUI or Visual Studio. If you create a GUI with Visual Studio, it would be much richer than what we have now with the array. 

Most of the time the upgrade experience has been good but sometimes things break after upgrading. For example, some API codes stopped working.

The Orchestrator also has a lot of room for improvement. It's a bit slow.

I would rate this solution a seven and not a ten because there's still room for improvement. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I'm setting it up as a simple solution. It's much more stable than the highest available variant. We have a lot of intel machines providing a solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is good enough as it is.

How is customer service and technical support?

We've had to use their technical support and I would say that it's pretty good. We're mostly happy with the service except when a service engineer needs to go to engineering it can take a lot of time. It would be very nice if they would improve that. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex. There were a lot of steps. I would suggest for them to cut back on the number of steps to make it easier. Although with every version, the steps are becoming easier. For example, the certificates in the previous versions were a lot more complicated. It has improved. 

What about the implementation team?

We implemented in-house. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We already had VMware, it was a logical step to choose this solution.

What other advice do I have?

If you're looking into vRA, I would advise that you to choose it but don't customize it.

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