VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) utilizes a standard naming convention for VM deployments. That naming convention is <blueprint name>-randomnumber. Does that naming convention help you and your cloud team identify and understand which deployment is which? Or do you have to keep yet another spreadsheet with <blueprint name>-randomnumber and a deployment description? What if you could name your vRA deployments according to their function, purpose, or whatever you wanted to name them? Now you can.

With our recently-released SovLabs version 2019.10, the SovLabs vRealize Automation Extensibility Module for Property Toolkit now offers an automated way to re-name your deployment names. You can find the official documentation for the vRA Deployment Names functionality on our documentation pages, but here I’ll provide a summary.  

The solution involves leveraging a vRA Approval Process (new or existing) along with a name value that you can create using either the SovLabs Custom Naming module or the SovLabs Property Toolkit module.


Automated Renaming Requirements

There are a few things to know before you go about using this method:

  • You need to be on at least SovLabs version 2019.10.0
  • You need to have Property Toolkit licensed
  • If you want to use the Custom Naming module, you’ll need a license for that module as well
  • To create the name, you can use custom properties from the Business Group, Property Groups, and the Deployment
  • You cannot use Custom properties from the Reservation, Compute Resource, Endpoint, orcomponents (including VMs) on the blueprint to create the deployment name

To use the vRA Deployment Names tool you’ll need an approval policy of the type Service Catalog – Catalog Item Request.  You can use the SovLabs catalog item Manage Property Toolkit Approval Policies – SovLabs Modules either to create an approval policy to use or to update an existing policy to trigger the rename.

Note: If you don’t see Manage Property Toolkit Approval Policies – SovLabs Modules in the catalog, run the Configure the SovLabs Plugin part of the Upgrade process.

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If you already have an approval policy in use for your deployments, the Approval Policies catalog item can be used to update the policy for the Deployment names feature.  Otherwise, you can use the Approval Policies to create a new approval item.

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Create or Update an Approval Policy

Start with an existing approval policy, as shown in the screenshot below.

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Next, run the Approval Policies against that policy with the Add action.

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Now the Approval policy will be updated with a new Level 1 named “SovLabs Property Toolkit”.

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The new level will have a Custom Property “_deploymentname” added for Property Toolkit to use.

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If you choose to create a new Approval Policy with using the Manage Property Toolkit Approval Policies – SovLabs Modules, the resulting new policy will have just the “SovLabs Property Toolkit” Level 1 with the “_deploymentname” property added.    Either way, an event broker service (EBS) created for Deployment Names (the vRA EBS: Property Toolkit Pre Approval Policy – Catalog Item Request) will auto-approve the level during the request.


Add the Approval to the Entitlement

Once you have an approval ready, add it to the entitlement for the catalog item.  

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Set the Naming policy

There are two custom properties that can be set on the business group or as a deployment-level property of the blueprint to update the Deployment Name. Setting “SovLabs_vRADeployment_NamingStandard” will leverage a SovLabs Custom Naming Standard or setting “SovLabs_vRADeployment_Template” will use the SovLabs Property Toolkit and build the deployment name using a constant or the Template Engine.

If you use “SovLabs_vRADeployment_NamingStandard” you’ll need to pre-create the naming sequence and naming standard, then set “SovLabs_vRADeployment_NamingStandard” to the configuration label of the naming sequence.

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With the naming sequence referenced by the NamingStandard, the deployment name will be set during the request based on the next available sequence.

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If you use “SovLabs_vRADeployment_Template” you can build the deployment name in the blueprint properties, or get exotic with Properties Toolkit functionality.

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Here we’re using two blueprint properties, MyProp set to “myPropval” and Application set to “AppName”.  A basic Template Engine value of {{myProp}}-{{Application | upcase}} adds them together with a hyphen in between and sets the Application value to upper case.

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Note that if you end up with both “SovLabs_vRADeployment_NamingStandard” and “SovLabs_vRADeployment_Template” in use on a blueprint, the Naming Standard will take precedence.

You may now delete that spreadsheet and make your vRA deployment names a little more user friendly.

For more information, contact us at info@sovlabs.com and Happy Clouding!

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