Thursday, June 8, 2017

Deploying vRealize Log Insight (vRLI) via API

I've finally gotten around to upgrading the vRLI Configuration Management and Audit Tool to handle the full deployment process as well as clustering! Let's take it for a spin to see what the new features allow us to do!

1. First we need to deploy the vRLI VMs from OVA that can be downloaded from Once they have been fully booted and you see them serving the following webpage we can start. You can close your browser at this point; nothing is required here other than we are checking to make sure that they are fully booted.

2. The tool uses a JSON configuration file that you can see a sample of by running the program with a "-d" flag or browsing the first part of the Python (my recommended approach). You can also generate a simplified version by calling the wizard using a "-b" flag. For now, I'm going to create my configuration file based on the sample in the documentation with a single Master Node under the "fqdn" key and 2 Secondary Nodes under the "nodes" key in my JSON file. This means that when the script is done I will have a new, 3 node vRLI Cluster. 

Let's kick off the program and tell it to use my configuration file by running:

python -f  ctest.json -r

Note: the "-r", otherwise known as"remediation enabled" flag is required since building a new cluster requires changing settings. If you forget this step, don't worry, it will remind you. Also, remember that when building a new node/cluster you must supply the "admin" user's credentials.

Now, what's going on behind the scenes in the newly added code?
1. The script detects that the Master Node is in pre-bootstrap mode and is awaiting the initial configuration.
2. We complete the initial bootstrap process as partially described in the vRLI API documentation. The missing piece here is that the documentation never tells you that you need to explicitly use port 9543 for these calls. During deployment is the only time this is required.
3. We license the first node which allows us to add additional nodes.
4. We add each secondary node and authorize it with the Master and repeat until complete.

The process looks like this:

The rest of the operations that we do to configure the various settings in vRLI are all old functionality but none-the-less, important.

The code can be run as often as you would like without any ill effect. Our approach is to store our configuration files in source control and have the job run on a reoccurring basis to catch any unauthorized changes and automatically remediate configuration drift. Below is an example of me re-running the job against the cluster we just built. Because it is matching the desired state, no changes are executed against the cluster.

Let's say that our vRLI Cluster is growing (excellent!) and we want to add another node to it. No worries, just deploy a new VM and add the new IP/FQDN to your JSON configuration file as a new "node" and run the script again! 

As you can see, the original nodes are recognized as already in a cluster and the 4th node (.40) is discovered as a new node and added to the cluster.