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Manage and Automate VMware Virtual Environments With Puppet Enterprise

In virtual data centers both on-premises and in the cloud, lifecycle management is particularly challenging for administrators due to the dynamic nature and volume of nodes that need to be deployed and managed. Puppet Enterprise can ease a lot of these challenges by allowing  IT teams to automate the deployment and management of their VMware virtual infrastructure. VMware and Puppet Labs have co-developed modules for managing VMware virtual environments. Much of this work is discussed in a personal blog entry written by Nick Weaver, an automation architect at VMware. In the entry, he talks about the ways this cutting-edge integration work opens new horizons to IT teams managing VMware environments:

Management for the vCenter Appliance

  • Complete initialization – Just point at a virtual machine deployed from the Open Virtualization Format (OVF), and it will stand up vCenter.
  • Data Center and Cluster configuration – High Availability, Distributed Resource Scheduler, and more.
  • ESXi Host – Grab and add ESXi hosts to clusters and manage them through Puppet Enterprise

Management for vShield Manager

  • Complete initialization – Just like the vCenter Server Appliance, point Puppet Enterprise at your deployed vShield Manager appliance, watch it complete the setup, and stand it up.
  • Association to vCenter – Bind the vShield Manager to a vCenter node automatically.
  • vShield Edge Deployment(also called vCloud Networking and Security) – Point it at a resource pool, and easily deploy vShield Edges(vCloud Networking and Security) to vCenter.
  • vShield Edge Configuration(vCloud Networking and Security) – Control the firewall, NAT, load-balancing, and more using Puppet Enterprise configuration management.
With the features above you can deploy vCenter Server Appliance and vShield Manager appliances, and automatically configure them into vSphere clusters with firewall, NAT, load-balancing and more. You can carve up the ESXi nodes into any number of clusters or configuration. And this is just the beginning. All of the VMware/Puppet Enterprise integration modules are available under the Apache 2.0 license, making them free to download and modify, and are currently on the Puppet Forge. If you're a VMware administrator who hasn't tried Puppet Enterprise, the modules provide a great place to get started. Even more importantly, there's a great number of brilliant people who can add to this work and make it even better for the IT community as a whole.

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