Gonéri Le Bouder

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Managing a VMware Template Lifecycle with Ansible

When we manage a large number of virtual machines (VMs), we want to reduce the differences between them and create a standard template. By using a standard template, it becomes easier to manage and propagate the same operation on the different nodes. When using VMware vSphere, it is a common practice to share a standardized VM template and use it to create new VMs. This template is often called a golden image. Its creation involves a series of steps that can be automated with Ansible. In this blog, we will see how one can create and use a new golden image.


Prepare the golden image

We use image builder to prepare a new image. The tool provides a user interface that allows users to define custom images. In this example, we include the SSH server and tmux. The result image is a file in the VMDK4 format that is not totally supported by VMware vSphere 7, so this is the reason why we use a .vmdk-4 suffix.

We upload the image using the uri module. Uploading large files using this method is rather slow. If you can,  you may want to drop the file on the datastore directly (e. Continue reading

Audit your VMware vCenter Server using Ansible

vCenter has a graphical user interface if you want to interact with it, but what if you manage multiple vCenter servers and want to automate audits or the maintenance of those servers? In this blog, we will see how we can retrieve details about the VMware vCenter Server directly using Ansible. The practices laid out in the blog will help system administrators responsible for managing multiple vCenter servers. In addition, Ansible automation becomes imperative in development environments for testing against multiple instances in your CI/CD pipeline. 

The new vmware.vmware_rest Collection has recently been released and published, and it comes with a new set of modules dedicated to vCenter Server (VCSA) management.

VMware vSphere (Product bundle that includes vCenter Server and other features) 7.0.2 (a.k.a 7.0U2) comes with some new REST end-points. This REST API does not cover all the features exposed over the SOAP interface. Modules in the vmware.vmware_rest Collection are built on top of this API and face the same limitations.

The vmware.vmware_rest Collection contains these modules, which is supported by Red Hat and available on Ansible automation hub.


Validate the state of a vCenter Server instance from Ansible

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Introducing the VMware REST Ansible Content Collection

The VMware Ansible modules as part of the current community.vmware Collection are extremely popular. According to GitHub, it's the second most forked Collection1, just after community.general. The VMware modules and plugins for Ansible have benefited from a stream of contributions from dozens of users. Many IT infrastructure engineers rely on managing their VMware infrastructure by means of a simple Ansible Playbook. The vast majority of the current VMware modules are built on top of a dependent python library called pyVmomi, also known as vSphere Automation SDK for Python.


Why a new VMware Ansible Content Collection?

VMware has recently introduced the vSphere REST API for vSphere 6.0 and later, which will likely replace the existing SOAP SDK used in the community.vmware Collection.

Since the REST API’s initial release, vSphere support for the REST API has only improved. Furthermore, there is no longer a need for any dependent python packages. In order to maintain the existing VMware modules in the community.vmware Collection, a set of modules specifically for interacting with the VMware REST API is now available in the newly created vmware.vmware_rest Collection.

If you compare modules used with the VMware vSphere Continue reading