You can create Microsoft Azure virtual machine blueprints that provide access to Azure virtual machine resources.

About this task

A default Azure Machine template appears in the Machine Types category on the vRealize Automation Edit Blueprint page. You can use this virtual machine template as the basis of an Azure blueprint as described in the following procedure. After you create an Azure blueprint, you can publish and deploy it as designed, or you can use it in conjunction with custom Azure resources or with other blueprints to create a composite blueprint.

After creating and publishing the blueprint, users with appropriate privileges can request and provision an Azure instance through the vRealize Automation Service Catalog.

Note that Azure blueprints define virtual machine requirements. vRealize Automation uses these requirements to select the most appropriate reservation for the deployment.

For information about the NSX Settings and Properties tab on the New Blueprint dialog box, see New Blueprint and Blueprint Properties Settings.

If you want to create two virtual machines from a single deployment simultaneously, you must create two network interface names and two virtual machine names.

Prerequisites

  • Obtain a valid Azure subscription ID and related information including resource group, storage account, and virtual network information that you may need to create a blueprint.

  • Configure an Azure endpoint to create a connection to Azure for use with your vRealize Automation deployment.

  • Configure Azure reservations as appropriate for your business groups.

Procedure

  1. Select Design > Blueprints.
  2. Click the New icon (Add).
  3. Enter a blueprint name in the Name text box.

    The name you enter also populates the ID text box. For most cases, you can ignore the NSX Settings and Properties tabs.

  4. Click OK.
  5. Click Machine Types in the Categories menu.
  6. Drag the Azure Machine virtual machine template to the Design canvas.

    If you created a custom Azure resource for use as the basis of a blueprint, you can select that resource from the assigned category in the Categories list.

  7. Enter the required information for the Azure virtual machine in the text boxes on the tabbed pages located on the bottom half of the Design Canvas that appear when you drag the Azure Machine template to the Design Canvas.

    Available selections for text boxes and other fields on all of these tabs are determined primarily by the Azure endpoint that was configured as a basis for blueprints.

    For most parameters, when you can click the text box beside the parameter name, a new pane opens on the right side of the page. In this pane, you can enter parameter values in the Value text box and indicate whether or not it is Required. Note that in some cases you can also enter a Minimum value and a Maximum value. Click Apply within the right pane to populate the initial text box.

    Figure 1. Azure blueprint right side menu

    Most fields also have an Advanced Options button. These options enable you to specify field lengths and even hide fields from end users.

    Note:

    Required fields must be populated in order to proceed with the blueprint configuration. If you want to leave a field empty, you can go back and delete the entry before saving.

    Tab

    Description

    Important Parameters

    General

    Select basic connection information for the Azure virtual machine such as the endpoint to be used.

    ID - Identifies the Azure virtual machine you are creating. If you change this name, the Azure virtual machine image on the Design Canvas is also updated automatically.

    Description - Identifies the virtual machine you are creating and whether or not it is required.

    Instances - This selection enables you to create a scalable virtual machine. Use the Minimum and Maximum fields to identity the number of Azure instances that can be spawned from this machine.

    Use password authentication: Select Yes to use password authentication or No to use SSH.

    Admin username - Leave this blank and it can be assigned by the user provisioning the machine.

    Admin password - Leave this field blank, and the individual who provisions the machine can supply the appropriate password,

    Build Information

    Enables you to configure information about the virtual machine being created.

    Location - Select the geographical location where this virtual machine will be deployed.

    Machine Prefix - Select the appropriate radio button to indicate whether you want to use the machine prefix from the associated business group or to create a custom prefix. If you want to use a custom prefix, enter it in the Custom Machine Prefix text box.

    Virtual machine image type - Choose the appropriate radio button for a Custom or Stock virtual machine image. A custom virtual machine is created from the Azure classic deployment and offers more configuration options regarding cloud services, storage accounts, and availability sets,

    Virtual Machine Image - Identify the Azure virtual machine image that the blueprint will be based upon.

    • For a stock virtual machine image, the machine image URN should match the following format: (publisher):(offer):(sku): (version).

    • For a custom virtual machine image, the machine image URN should match the following format:

      https://storageaccount.blob.core.windows.net/container/image.vhd

    Also you must complete OS Image Type (Windows or Linux) text box for Custom images

    Admin User - Type the name of the designated admin user configured for virtual machines based on this blueprint. Alternatively, it can be left blank here entered on the request form.

    Authentication - Select the appropriate radio button to indicate whether virtual machines based on this blueprint will require password or SSH authentication.

    Admin Password - The administrator password for the virtual machine instance.

    Series - Defines the general size of a virtual machine instance. See the Azure documentation at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/virtual-machines-windows-sizes/ for series information.

    Size - Defines the specific virtual machine instance size within a series. Size is related to the selected Series. If you have a valid connection to an Azure instance, the available sizes fare populated dynamically based on the subscription and selected location and series. See the Azure documentation for size information.

    Instance Size Details - Optional information about the virtual machine instance series and size.

    Machine Resources

    Organize virtual machine resources into buckets. A resource group is an organizational construct that groups virtual machine resources such as Web sites, accounts, databases and networks.

    An Availability Set is a mechanism for managing two or more virtual machines to support redundancy. See https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/virtual-machines-windows-manage-availability/ for more information about Azure Availability Sets.

    Note:

    If you configure a blueprint with the maximum number of Azure instances set to a value greater than 1, then you should use the existing resource group and availability set rather than create new ones. Using new resource groups or new availability sets on more than one instance in the same deployment will cause errors and other problems if associated with load balancers.

    Create or reuse Resource group: - Select the appropriate radio button to indicate whether you want to use the existing Azure resource group or create a new one. You can find this name of the existing resource group on the Resource Groups page in the Azure portal. If you choose to create a new resource group, an appropriate name for the new group appears automatically in the Resource Group text box.

    Create or reuse Availability set: Select the appropriate radio button depending on what you want to do. If you select Create New, the appropriate information for the new Availability set info appears in the text box.

    Storage

    Enables you to organize Azure storage accounts. A storage account provides access to the different types of Azure storage, such as Azure Blob, Queue Table, and File storage. For most blueprints, you can accept the defaults.

    Storage account - Enter the storage account name for the virtual machine if appropriate. The Azure virtual machine operating system disk is deployed to this storage account. You can find storage group information in the Azure portal. You may have one or more storage accounts.

    Note:

    Storage account names with underscores or other special characters may cause errors.

    Add Diagnostic Storage - Select this check box if you use diagnostic data with your Azure instance.

    Number of Storage Disks - Select the appropriate number of data storage disks as used with your virtual machine. You can specify up to four disks. These disks are in addition to the operating system disk as specified in the Storage account text box.

    Storage Disk #

    • Disk Name - Identifying name assigned to the disk.

    • Disk Type - Storage device type.

    • Disk Size - Storage size.

    • Replication - Redundancy method used for disk back up.

    • Host Caching - Indicates whether read/writes are cached to increase performance.

    Network

    Enables you to select networking for the virtual machine blueprint. For most blueprints, you can accept the defaults and the consumer will enter the appropriate network information during deployment.

    Note:

    You can create only one virtual machine per interface, but each virtual machine can have up to four interfaces.

    Click the table to open a dialog to the right that contains another editable table with the following fields.

    • Load Balancer Name - The load balancer used with the Azure instance.

    • Number of Network Interfaces - Select the number of network interfaces used with the Azure instance. The number of network interfaces must be supported by the virtual machine size as selected on the Storage tab.

    • Network interface - Select the appropriate network interface for the virtual machine blueprint. If you enter an existing network, you can ignore all other network tabs. If you enter a network interface name that does not exist, a new interface with that name is created, and you can use the other Network tabs to configure the interface.

    • NIC Name Prefix - The prefix for the network interface card.

    • IP Address Type - Indicate whether the virtual machine uses a static or dynamic IP address.

    • Networking Configuration - Enter the appropriate networking configuration. Network profiles are supported. There are two options, Specify Azure Networks and Use Network Profile, and the subsequent fields change depending on which option you select.

      • The following options are available if you select Specify Azure Networks. If you leave these text boxes empty, then default network constructs are used based on information specified in the applicable reservation.

        • vNet Name - Name of the virtual network

        • subNet Name - The domain name of the Azure subnet.

        • Public IP Address Name - The optional name for the public IP address construct in Azure that should be associated with the applicable network interface.

      • If you select Use Network Profile, the network configuration is detached from underlying Azure constructs and is instead coupled with the vRealize Automation networking profile.

        • If you leave the Network Profile text box empty, the default Azure vNet and subnet pair are resolved based on applicable reservations which have a network profile specified.

        • If you enter a network profile, then the Azure vNet and subnet are resolved based on the matching reservation.

  8. Click Finish to save the blueprint configuration and return to the main Blueprints page.

What to do next

If you want to publish the blueprint, select it on the main Blueprints page and click Publish. A published blueprint is available on Catalog Items page. Also, a business group manager or equivalent can use this published blueprint as the basis of a composite blueprint.