VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) Review

It benefits the speed of our development, and the speed of anything we test and send through to production


What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is to deploy an automated self-service portal for virtual machines for testers and developers to use. It is performing well.

How has it helped my organization?

It benefits the speed of our development, and the speed of anything we test and send through to production. It helps us get things to market faster. We're able to get the application out and be more agile with it.

It also raises the caveat for people who like VM sprawl. We have people who don't clean up after themselves.

What is most valuable?

The self service portal: People don't have to come to us to request something. They can just go fill out a form. Within 30 minutes, they have what they requested.

What needs improvement?

Once you get in there and start to understand the product, it is more intuitive. However, for somebody coming in from the outside, it takes a while to understand it. There is a lot of terminology. I am the primary admin on it, but I have some guys who tend to support me when I'm gone, and they try to find stuff on it. They don't know the best place to look because some of the terms don't make a lot of sense to them. This is more of a training issue than just getting better familiar with the product. I would like them to improve the product training.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had a stability issue just this morning. This past weekend was patch day, so it was Monday and patches were done Saturday. The form didn't display properly, so I had to reboot the vRA. Due to the HA, we had to reboot the vRA appliances to get it working again. This might be because the database were ripped out from underneath of it and never reconnected. However, this is not a common occurrence.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Version 7.3 seems to be more scalable than previous versions.

How is customer service and technical support?

I have talked to some folks out of Denver who do a lot of the vRA support. We also use a partner out in the UK who helps to support us. Both are responsive.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We brought in vRA as part of a new product offering for our customers. It's what we have used from the ground up to provision virtual machines.

What about the implementation team?

I worked with the UK partner to set up the 7.3 version. The upgrade process 6.x to 7.3 was a significant effort. I'm hoping that 7.3 to the next version is much smoother.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I'm very interested in the integration with Puppet. However, my organization doesn't have the funding for something like Puppet right now. If VMware would integrate that feature set (Puppet) into vRA. That would be very awesome.

What other advice do I have?

Find out what the requirements are and what do you want do with it, then see if it fits. If you're looking to deploy virtual machines through a self-service portal, this product works well.

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: It meets our requirements.

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