Please share with the community what you think needs improvement with VMware vRealize Automation (vRA).
What are its weaknesses? What would you like to see changed in a future version?
We are migrating from vRA version 7 to 8, but the migration is really hectic and time-consuming. There are no straightforward paths to migrate. We are doing an entirely new deployment to go to vRA version 8.0, then somehow get all of the VMs to vRA 8.0. Therefore, it would have been great if VMware had some solutions to upgrade from vRA 7 to 8 seamlessly. This includes the management of all the objects or VMs from the older version. Unfortunately, it is not there.
It needs to be more dynamic with variable customization to make new workloads more reliable. It also needs to be faster. We are exploring vRA version 8 right now and maybe what I'm requesting is available in the new version, but we haven't explored it fully yet.
Interoperability is more of an industry problem. There are multiple cloud provisioning tools out there, and vRA is just one of them. There are a lot of components out there, which all do certain things. There are some hard drives, particular types of servers, particular types of routers, load balancers, and firewalls, where some are stronger in one area and some in another. Interoperability between them would be a good thing. With the workflow aspect, which has manual intervention, a policy needs to be approved by somebody. There could be better management of that piece with better templates. It is like a workflow engine, but does not have enough example templates to do certain things. A lot of people waste a lot of time trying to figure out the same thing, and everybody is trying to figure out the same thing, e.g., how to make a MySQL cluster in a Windows environment?
In the future, I hope to use a portal from GCP.
VMware needs to make it to where it is not as custom. Right now, you spend a lot of time making the services work. In order to get it up and running initially, that takes time. I would like it if they didn't require custom code and we could get it running out-of-the-box.
They should concentrate on navigation and service improvements.
I would like to see multi-tenancy in NSX and better functionality.
I have found bits of this solution to be intuitive and user-friendly. We've been on a training course for it because it's quite a big product. We don't really use it the way it's intended to be used. We don't use it the standard way, so it takes a bit more poking around.
I would like to see support for multiple hypervisors. At the moment that support is only on paper, it doesn't actually work.
We upgraded twice. The last upgrade was a bit problematic.
We would like them to improve the automation part. This is an upcoming area that we would like to focus on. We used to rely on other technologies to help us with VMware monitoring, but now, we're coming back to VMware technology. Hopefully, they will not take us down and provide something good. We have been watching their roadmaps, and it's promising. Therefore, I think it will be fine.
We have and we haven't found this solution to be user-friendly. In this case, we have another portal in the front because we have some use cases we can add to the products so we use another portal for that to reply to all of the requirements. This version has all of the features we want.
It is very difficult to make the automation work well. This is not product specific, but more due to environment and procedures that we have in our company. The back-end has a steep learning curve.
It is bleeding edge technology, but at times, it is buggy. It is too broad scale and complicated. It takes too many clicks to do things. I would like a simplified version of the interface for small businesses. We started with Lab Manager. For us, Lab Manager was the perfect tool. It was easy and simple. It had all the screens for machines right up. vRA is too many clicks for the normal, simple user.
I would like to see more automation, more ways to automate automation tasks. We are already working on the first evaluations of the next version of vRealize 8 and have found it to be promising.
The product was bought by VMware and they are trying to add features, which could be improved. For example, there is a Windows component and appliances with two different databases that have to be maintained in sync. This is a pretty nightmare to maintain. I would like to have infrastructure simplification, such as one box and one appliance which does everything. Having to have a Windows machine with dedicated DBs is sort of crappy.
More integration and out-of-the-box use cases would be nice.
I would like to see more stability, something that is integrated and that checks that all of the servers are working well. Also, the ability to customize templates. I would like to see them implement vRealize into the cloud. It would be very smart for us to have vRealize in the cloud as a service that can be deployed internally. Then we don't have to implement anything anymore. We only need to take care of templates.
We have found this solution to be user-friendly but there is room for improvement. The interface is not very modern, although version 7.5 is a lot better. I would like to see a richer GUI or Visual Studio. If you create a GUI with Visual Studio, it would be much richer than what we have now with the array. Most of the time the upgrade experience has been good but sometimes things break after upgrading. For example, some API codes stopped working. The Orchestrator also has a lot of room for improvement. It's a bit slow. I would rate this solution a seven and not a ten because there's still room for improvement.
It is not intuitive nor easy to use. Lab Manager was very intuitive, and it was built with VMware functions. However, VMware vRealize Automation bought it, and we have not been happy with it. We would like them to go back to the Lab Manager that we used to use.
This solution is intuitive for the end user. For the guys who need to manage it, it is a bit more complex. It is quite hard to maintain, especially since a lot of work has to be custom-built, which takes a lot of effort.
The API support could be better, because if your customers are developers, the first thing they do is Google, "How will this API function?" If you have vRA in the API, Google returns nothing. Therefore, my colleagues programmed an internal wrapper so the customers can talk with the API. We have to create our own documentation. It would be better if VMware would provide API documentation for developers and customers on the Internet.
The most important thing that we missed in vRanger was the possibility to mount several images instantaneously and present it so that we can run it immediately.
I find the solution to be intuitive and user-friendly for the end user. For the administrator, it can be a little challenging. For the administrator, there are a lot of moving parts. It is fine once you figure out where the knobs are you need to twiddle, but it can be a challenge to get it up and running. There are a lot of moving parts. It could be improved if the solution were more consolidated.
The deployment mechanisms for the initial deployment of the product line lack the appropriate documentation to give someone who's never used it before... Obviously, you want people who are knowledgeable in the product line before they deploy it, but there might be cases where someone wants to go to the website, go to the doc section, and do a step-by-step on how to deploy it. That's really not as brushed-up as other documents I've seen that they have. That would definitely be an improvement on their end.
vRealize Automation on the back-end is still a little complicated. It has a lot of moving pieces, simplifying that from a pure infrastructure point of view would be a good thing. I would then like to have more out-of-the-box functionality and integrations with VMware components.
I honestly don't see much room for improvement, but how can I take a new employee and ramp him up so he can be productive quickly? How do we get the training materials standardized so we can get him up and running really quickly?
To improve the product, possibly the interface could be more informational. There's a nice tree structure on the left, but being able to know what to do with that tree structure could possibly be improved a little bit with right-click menus or more information. I'm sure the Help menu is fine, but just more intuitive, maybe.
It would be nice in the next release if they added in tool tips. Whether you're putting it together, adding a blueprint, or you're making a change in the system, highlighting or selecting something and having it tell you what it does or what it will do would be nice. Because it's such a complex system, it's hard to work with unless you've been using it for years to know what everything is doing.
Early on, we had a lot of troubles. Most of those were short-knit runs. And we do have difficulties trying to upgrade. I also don't find it to be entirely user-friendly. There are a lot of complicated menus within menus within menus. Things move around from version to version We're looking forward to some of the Catalog enhancements that I know are coming in the upcoming versions.
We do partner with VMware on their beta testing, so we have already communicated some of the features we'd like to see back to VMware. I don't know that I'm allowed to speak about it because it's on an NDA.
It is not super-intuitive. It does require some skills to understand how to use it. I had no problem, but I had spent a lot of time already learning this product ahead of moving it to an operational status. But as we did so, we had a hard time bringing some people from other groups into the fold, to script and work against this environment. So, the ability to build workflows within that automation needs to be streamlined. In terms of additional features, I would like it to be able to poll my vCenter infrastructure more rapidly and adapt to changes quickly. It should alert me and let me know when there are broken components, as a result of underlying infrastructure changes. It needs to be more stringent.
I'm curious to test out the features that have been announced. We'll see how that goes from a hybrid perspective. I'm looking forward most to the hybrid capabilities.
I don't find it to be user-friendly or intuitive because, in my case, when I have to deploy SAP systems, I need to jump between the vRA, the vRO, and the actual vCenter itself. I need to go back and forth to do different things. For example, with the vRA I'll deploy the base machine. With vRO, that's where I may have to get an IP address. If somebody's SAP machine has a secondary, virtual name, I need to get the next available IP address from vRO. And then, inside the vCenter, I need to do some firewall stuff, NXS. So it's not that user-friendly. I wish they could make it just one application, just vRA, that does all that. There might be a way to do it but I haven't figured out how to do it yet. Also, vCenter and vRA, I believe they share two different databases so sometimes you have to somehow sync them up. I wish there was only one database between the two or, somehow, one database would rule over the other one, so if you have both products, the vCenter might use the vRA database. Otherwise, when you do stuff in vCenter, you have to write a command on vRA to update the databases.
We still struggle a little bit with the configuration as far as making sure that we have all the endpoints where they need to be, because that's not as agile as we'd like in the back-end. We're working towards that with our DevOps teams to make sure that we're touching the right endpoints and getting the right data. Also, what we would like to see is a lot more integration across platforms, multi-cloud. I think that's coming.
Turkey does not have a big presence on the automation side. We have only one customer. Maybe some new applications can be added based on the technology. For example, maybe SAP could be added, because the customer is currently only using it for the database site, and the other VMware systems.
I always like to see some improvement. I think they could probably do more if they created more actions and more use cases to automate things.
Other than the features that are supposed to already be in place with the new version - meaning the tight integration with vROps, which they said was there but wasn't - the ability to migrate between clusters is a big deal right now. If you try to migrate a current client, create a research pool for a client, and they have multiple ESX clusters, you can't get it. It's so painful to do. The new version that we will be going to is supposed to do that automatically. And I will believe it until it doesn't work.
It would be nice if, at the director level, the manager level, there was a pretty graphic. They don't like to see numbers and line items, they want to see graphs and scales and real-world pictures. That would support better reporting.
The user interface is not that intuitive. If it is for technical people like me, it is intuitive, but not for the common man. It's intuitive for me because I know what the technology is behind it. For me, because I use it repeatedly, the same type of use case, it's okay, but for our customers, it would be very difficult. I would also like to see a test environment, testing before implementing, to see how it will relate to existing things. That would make it feature-rich.
I don't think it's intuitive or user-friendly. I think it's a good tool. Any automation tool, these days, the learning curve is kind of high. You're teaching sysadmins who never developed stuff. Maybe they modified a little bit of code and now you tell them, "Hey, here's the tool, use it." But you have to know a little bit of DevOps. So you have to train them how to do the scripting. They could also improve a lot on the interface itself.
It is not intuitive or user-friendly. It's complicated as heck. We actually hired VMware Professional Services to come in. I understand the newer version, which we're not quite on yet, is easier and that the interface is better. But the product is really a profession unto itself. The user interface could be improved.
Regarding that networking piece, more hands-on pieces, that come with that purchase to help you get to that good spot might be an area that would help.
A lot of automation issues are coming up in the market. Customers are looking at containers, among the new technologies which are coming up. How we can integrate with the multi-cloud? I can see, in the sessions happening here at VMworld 2018, that all these things are getting addressed, but the container-related solutions are something I am looking forward to. We are thinking about containers. PKS is one of the issues. We would like to do a container service. In addition, the VMware Kubernetes Engine is something which we are focusing on. From the storage perspective, we will bring in vSAN; NSX-T from the networking perspective. But what is the is the overall solution? How would this compare with what the Cloud Native Computing Foundation is providing? That is something which we have to look at it. VMware has something called VVD, VMWare validated design. How far the container solutions are going to be a part of that is also something which we'll be looking at.
An improvement - and maybe this is already a feature that I don't know about - would be to be able to deploy to public cloud. Deployments to the public cloud would probably be a good feature if it's not already there, to be able to deploy to AWS or Azure, etc.
That ServiceNow implementation is a little rough, but those guys in Ohio are doing a great job on it. Seeing things like that, things that integrate would be great. Anything that has REST APIs should have a plugin, that's really what makes it powerful.
It has a learning curve.
I don't know if it can integrate with vRealize or vROps in order to already manage what has been done. Right now I'm very big into vROps to pull reports on all my VMs. I don't know if that capability is there already, but if I could integrate it more, if they went hand-in-hand, it would be easy. Not only could I deploy everything in one place, but I could go to another place just to pull my reports on what has been done.
One of the features that's a struggle today is some of the public cloud extensibility. Some of the plugins that are native to vRA and vRO, I'd like to see them come out earlier for vRO. I understand that in vRA, the plugins are a little bit more polished because vRA is the GUI. But we'd like to see them released earlier in vRO, prior to a GUI being released. Azure, for example, is a public cloud provider but we have some instability issues with the plugin in vRO. It's okay for us if we separate the vRA from vRO plugin releases. So I'd like to see some increased stability in some of those public cloud plugins.
I would like to see it expanding, growing in all of the cloud-based stuff that they are really pushing towards, and have it be more capable of what it is already doing. But in reality, that's probably our own fault because we're a little bit behind on the version of VMware that we're running. It's probably just that we need to get caught up on our version.
We don't have too complex of an environment, we're not doing machine-learning or any of the advanced features all that much. We're a pretty straightforward IT shop. We just provide servers, and then, from there, it's what the customer wants. The next step we would probably like to see is to have a customer portal, so instead of our having to punch the button, the customer could. But I believe that VMware offers enough that setting that up is more on us, rather than waiting for them offer it. We needto learn more, advance our usage of the product. We're doing what we can with what we have, but we have to learn a bit more. Better training, or training modules, wouldn't hurt. I haven't personally looked through what the portal has, but more training is always good, so we could take a new employee and point him to the training and get him up to speed quickly. I have had 10 years or so experience with VMware, but I'm the old the guy in the department. Everybody else is newer than me on this and not everyone has my experience. So the training would be nice.
The solution is intuitive, but not necessarily user-friendly. In particular, it's the documentation. It's a lot of going-through-the-weeds types of scenarios. There is just an abundance of information, so it's a matter of understanding how the objects or the relationships exist, and then, obviously, being able to access that information and knowing how to make use of it. If there were a tighter integration with either AWS or Azure - being able to have a little bit more out-of-the-box, flexibility-wise, and the ability to realize that - it would help. You're getting out-of-the-box workflows that will literally allow you to provision, but there's a large development gap to cover the use cases that we're trying to provide or support.
In terms of usability, It has had its challenges. It requires a lot of custom code to integrate into our environment. It can take a little while to get it to do what we want, takes some code instead of having built-in functionality. Part it is how we use it. It would be a lot easier to use in a greenfield scenario versus brownfield, which is the way we are using it. I would also like to see them streamline the install. It's split between Windows and Linux appliances, and it would be easier if it was all appliances. I think they're going that way.
They need to help in managing the change of corporate culture involved in establishing the solution.
Something as simple as formatting the catalog in a different way would be helpful because there is no option for doing so. A lot of the contents for the virtual machine, blueprints that you can request, are hidden from view and there's no way to change the view.
I would like to see more improvement in the way it integrates with other systems. That certainly wouldn't hurt.
There is room for improvement but, hopefully, everything is being been addressed already. For example, integrations. VMware is going crazy with M&A and integrations take time, so I can't complain.
I would like to see more out-of-the-box blueprints and workflows for the rest of VMware's products and its portfolio. We would like them to continuously improve the product with upgrades, as they have been.
I can't say what new features I'd like right now because we're looking forward to the stuff that's in 7.5. I need some stick-time on 7.5 and then I can tell you what I want to see in 7.6 or 7.7.
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.
They can improve on the dashboard representations and the options for non-technical people. I would like to see the ability to customize that and maybe provide them with helpful guides to what subscriptions they have. Sometimes, I find that I have to do more explanation to people who do approvals. I would really like to customize the display to the terms they use in their particular business unit. So a little bit more of a nod to the customization of the UI for non-technical users would be helpful. Also, I expect it's going to come with time, but there is not too much documentation out there because it's fairly new, and not very many people use the little niche product. So more documentation.
VMware should go the way of vROps, with everything in one machine, the ability to scale out, and a more distributed environment instead of having the usual centralized SQL database. Three-tier environments are not scalable.
I would like to see a simpler way of provisioning it. As is, we can automate the provisioning of a VM. However, when it comes to the external IPs, that is outside of VMware. But that has to be automated as well. If there was a way for us to have the virtual machines connect to switches that are external to VMware, that would be great. That way, it would handle the entire workflow from creation and provisioning of a VM to the connectivity to the external IP addresses which allow our customers to have access to the VM. Currently, that IP configuration has to be done manually.
I would like to see support for Google Cloud and Azure. Because they don't support Google and Azure today, we need something that's cohesive with our entire landscape. There is a gap right now with VMware. If you want support for these environments, you have to go elsewhere right now. Hopefully, product management will listen, hear, and change this. The basic support is not there for Google Cloud and Azure. They are unable to provision nor do cost controls. Google is still left out. It is great that they have done AWS, but we are a retailer which means nothing to us because it is a competitor. Azure is good, but Google is where a lot of our development environments are.
I would like to see easier custom components for it - that would be the best way I could word it. It's more like custom items for it. Also, the authentication piece could always use some work. They should make it a little bit more dynamic, a little bit easier to deal with large-scale AD deployments. They need to make it a little more enterprise-ready. That is the one thing that kills us. I hate harping on the authentication issue, but it is huge.
I would like to see more integration to do things like DR, from a court perspective. Today, for us, SRM doesn't scale because each of our customers has a local vCenter environment as well as the vCenter in our environment. So we can't get SRM to scale to the point to which we need. From an integration perspective, DR inside of that would be good. Also virtual desktops. I know you can spin up virtual desktops in vRA, but they're not thin-provisioned. I don't know if that's because the other product, Horizon View, is there, but it would be nice to see more integration. I know NSX is getting more and more integrated. We talked a little about vROps. I see that integration coming in. But for vRA, DR would be a service we'd like to be able to offer to the customers, and it should be integrated, in my opinion, in vRA.
Most of the areas for which there was room for improvement are being covered in the latest 7.4 release which will include all new workflows for additional management of a customer’s cloud and infrastructure, directly from the Web portal itself. Some of these features today require the ability to build out your own workflows, which can become complicated if you don’t have the knowledge base. VMware is aware of this and is making the next version of vRA and vCenter Orchestrator with this in mind. They are going to include additional granular-level controls from within the self-service portal itself. This will allow us, the service provider, to pass these additional features on to our customer base giving them greater control and management of their dedicated cloud. Some of the new vRA 7.4 release features include: * New and enhanced curated blueprints and OVF files * New custom form designer * Enhanced multi-tenancy capabilities * vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager now extends to IT content management * New IT content lifecycle management
Which is better and why?