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Use Case: Provision and Protect with vRealize Automation

The Provision and Protect use case highlights how Rubrik can be integrated into existing or new vRealize Automation (vRA) blueprints surrounding VM Provisioning, requiring users to select an SLA Domain Name during the provisioning process. This ensures that each and every time a vRA catalog item is requested, data protection policies are applied to the newly provisioned VMs.

Abstract

vRA delivers a robust self-service architecture allowing end users, developers, and customers to request and deploy new IT services with increased efficiency. End users are able to gain access to services much faster, but this often leads to important business functions such as data protection being left by the wayside. Coupling Rubrik with vRA ensures that data protection policies are not an afterthought as new workloads are created. Instead, new workload requests are set up to require the selection of a Rubrik SLA Domain, giving IT Operations the guarantee that any data provisioned through vRA’s self-service catalog is protected and available.

At a high level, the Provision and Protect use case outlined in this document adheres to the following workflow:

  1. User requests catalog item, which deploys a new Windows 2012 R2 Server
  2. During the request process, a user is required to select which Rubrik SLA Domain to assign to the newly provisioned VM
  3. The VM is provisioned according to vRA restrictions and/or reservations
  4. A custom built vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) workflow is executed post-deployment, assigned the chosen SLA Domain Name to the newly provisioned VM

Prerequisites

The following are the prerequisites in order to successfully implement the blueprint outlined in this guide:

Note: For more information on how to install and configure the Rubrik Plugin for vRealize see the Rubrik Plugin for vRealize Quickstart on GitHub.

Creating the Provision and Protect Catalog Item

This section will outline the steps to create a vRA blueprint which involves adding a catalog item for provisioning and protecting a VM. This process can be broken down into three major categories:

  • Creating the appropriate Rubrik SLA Domain Property Definitions
  • Creating or assigning the Rubrik SLA Domain Property Definitions to a new or existing vRA blueprint
  • Creating the Workflow Subscription

Creating Rubrik SLA Domain Property Definitions

When requiring custom information from an end user during a self-service request, vRA requires that it be delivered through a Property Definition. The following section walks through the steps to require an SLA Domain assignment during provisioning by creating two Property Definitions and group.

Login to vRA with a user assigned to the IaaS administrator role. Select Administration, the expand Property Dictionary selecting Property Definitions. Click New to add a new property definition.

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The first Property Definition created will support the selection of a configured Rubrik cluster within vRO. Input the following information describing the property definition. Click Select to assign a vRO action to the property values.

  • Name: rubrik.cluster
  • Label: Rubrik Cluster
  • Display Order: 1
  • Data Type: String
  • Required: Yes
  • Display as: Dropdown
  • Values: External values

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Expand the com.rubrik.devops.actions folder and select the rubrik_GetRestHosts action from the list. Click OK to continue.

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Click OK to save the property definition

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Click New to add a new property definition.

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Input the following information describing the property definition. Click Select to assign a vRO action to the property values.

  • Name: rubrik.sla_name
  • Label: SLA Domain Name
  • Display Order: 2
  • Data Type: String
  • Required: Yes
  • Display as: Dropdown
  • Values: External values

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Expand the com.rubrik.devops.actions folder and select the rubrik_GetSlaList action from the list. Click OK to continue

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On the Property Definition screen, select Edit in the Input parameters section. Check the Bind checkbox and select rubrik.cluster from the dropdown for the value of the rubrik_host input parameter. This allows the SLA Domain list to be dynamically populated depending on the selected Rubrik cluster. Click OK.

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Click OK to save the property definition

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Log into vRA with a user assigned to the IaaS administrator role. Select Administration, the expand Property Dictionary selecting Property Groups. Click New to add a new property group.

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Give the new property group a name and click New to add a new property to the group.

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Create the following three properties in the group and click OK to save the property group:

Property 1:

  • Name: Extensibility.Lifecycle.Properties.VMPSMasterWorkflow32.MachineProvisioned
  • Value: __*,*
  • Encrypted: No
  • Show in Request: No

Property 2:

  • Name: rubrik.cluster
  • Value:
  • Encrypted: No
  • Show In Request: Yes

Property 3:

  • Name: rubrik.sla_name
  • Value:
  • Encrypted: No
  • Show In Request: Yes

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The required property definitions and groups have been created. The next step is to create a blueprint and associate the property group to it.

Creating a Provision and Protect Blueprint

The next step in the provision and protect use case is to create a blueprint which provisions a VM and sets the requirement of obtaining the Rubrik SLA Domain Name custom property definition. The following outlines the steps to create a provision and protect blueprint.

Log into vRA with credentials containing the privileges to create and publish blueprints. Select Design, then Blueprints and click New to create a new blueprint

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On the General tab of the New Blueprint dialog, input a Name and Description. Select the Properties tab.

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On the Properties tab click Add under the Property Groups section. When prompted select the Property Group created in the previous section and click OK twice to proceed to the blueprint design canvas.

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Drag the vSphere (vCenter) Machine entity from the left-hand listing onto the blueprint design canvas.

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Set the desired information on the General tab. On the Build Information tab, configure the Action to Clone and select a valid template for the Clone from section. Click Finish to save the blueprint.

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Select the blueprint from the list and click Publish.

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The blueprint is now configured to require end users to select a Rubrik SLA Domain name during the provisioning requests. Ensure the blueprint and catalog item is configured with proper entitlements and services to provide access to the catalog. The final step is Create a Workflow Subscription to run the applicable vRO workflow to add the VM to an SLA Domain.

Create a Workflow Subscription

A vRA Workflow Subscription provides a means to run various vRO workflows at specific states of the blueprints deployment. For example, a Workflow Subscription could trigger a vRO workflow which retrieves an IP address from an IPAM solution before the VM is provisioned.

In the Provision and Protect blueprint, a Workflow Subscription is required to trigger a vRO workflow which assigns the VM to an SLA Domain after the VM has been provisioned. The vRO workflow to accomplish this is supplied by Rubrik and named “Rubrik Post-Provisioning Workflow”. The workflow takes a VM and SLA Domain name as inputs and executes as follows:

  1. Determine which vCenter Server instance is hosting the supplied VM
  2. Refresh the vCenter Server inventory within Rubrik CDM so the VM is available for policy assignment
  3. Adds the VM to the protected by specified SLA Domain

This section will outline the steps required to create the required Workflow Subscription:

From the Administrator tab, select Events, then Subscriptions. Click New to create a new Workflow Subscription.

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Select Machine Provisioning and click Next.

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Select Run based on conditions then select All of the variables defined in the following table. Input the following three clauses and click Next.

Clause Operator Value
Data > Machine > Machine Type Equals Constant > Virtual Machine
Data > Lifecycle state > Lifecycle state name Equals Constant > VMPSMasterWorkflow32.MachineProvisioned
Data > Lifecycle state > State phase Equals Constant > POST

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Expand the navigation tree to Orchestrator > Library > Rubrik-DevOps > Helper Workflows and select Rubrik - Post-Provisioning Workflow and click Next.

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Give the Workflow Subscription a name and select Finish to save.

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Select the Workflow Subscription from the list and click Publish to publish the subscription.

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The Workflow Subscription has now been configured. Users requesting the provision and protect blueprint will now be required to select an SLA Domain Name, which is automatically assigned to the provisioned VM.

Requesting the Catalog Item

The following illustrates the steps required and processes executed in requesting the Provision and Protect catalog item within vRA.

Log into vRA with credentials which can access the catalog. From the Catalog tab, click Request on the created catalog item.

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Complete the required information on the request form. The SLA Domain Name field is auto-populated with a list of SLA Domains residing selected Rubrik cluster. Select the desired Rubrik Cluster and SLA Domain Name and click Submit.

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The VM provisioning process has begun. More information around the status can be viewed by clicking In Progress.

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Once the provisioning process has finished the status of the vRO workflow to add the VM to an SLA Domain can be found by browsing Library > Rubrik-DevOps > Helper Workflows and selecting the associated run session from the Workflows tab. The workflow will be marked with either a green play icon indicating it is currently running, a red x icon indicating it has failed, or a green checkmark indicating it has successfully completed.

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Selecting the Variables tab shows the data that was passed from vRA to the vRO workflow.

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Selecting the Logs tab shows the result from all portions of the Rubrik - Post Provisioning Workflow workflow.

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The Rubrik CDM UI successfully shows that the newly provisioned virtual machine has been assigned the selected SLA Domain.

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Conclusion

Rubrik and vRA to work in harmony to provide complete automation around data management. Integrating Rubrik and vRA to build Provision and Protect blueprints delivers various self-serve options around backup and recovery to end-users, while still allowing IT teams to maintain the governance and control they require. For more information on the integration and architecture behind Rubrik and vRA see the Rubrik and vRA Reference Architecture.

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