VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) Review

Requires an obscene amount of time to get anything done but has increased provisioning speed


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case of this solution is to automate with our various partners. It performs quite poorly, has a quite steep learning curve, and you have to invest an extraordinary amount of time to be able to do anything.

How has it helped my organization?

We did a POC with one of our customers. Their engineers do a lot of daily provisioning so let's say out of eight to ten working hours per day they'd spend around six or seven hours a day provisioning various kinds of stuff. We did the POC and we managed to cut those six or seven hours to around half an hour a day or so. It has helped increase the speed of provisioning. It cut out a lot of provisioning time on new virtual machines and new resources.

What is most valuable?

We like the various kinds of tools to automate stuff but not a lot of them have a self-service portal. If you were to compare it to different kinds of automation tools a self-service portal is unique.

I have not found this solution to be user-friendly. It's very complicated. The demo shows that you can automate anything but they only show basic scenarios. If you want to do anything more complicated than that, it becomes very complicated to set up. 

What needs improvement?

I would like to see support for multiple hypervisors. At the moment that support is only on paper, it doesn't actually work.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good enough. 

How is customer service and technical support?

Our experience with technical support hasn't been so great. It can take a long time for them to respond to our questions and often the answer will be "we don't know."

Which solutions did we use previously?

We also looked at Cisco. 

How was the initial setup?

The setup was straightforward. We upgraded to a newer version seamlessly. It worked really well. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

This solution is easier to set up than the alternative we looked at. The other one wasn't as powerful. If I were an automation ninja I could do much more with vRealize than the other solution I evaluated. 

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a neutral five. It has a lot of potential but it's very hard to use. It has a steep learning curve and you need to invest an obscene amount of time to be able to do anything. 

I would advise someone looking into this solution to be prepared to invest some serious time. 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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