How to Optimize Your Workflows with vRealize Automation and vRealize Orchestrator

by bluemedora_editor on March 1, 2017

By: Scott Walsh

Here at Blue Medora Labs, our focus is helping our customers leverage products related to our platform extensions that we offer customers at Blue Medora through our True Visibility Suite for key platforms like vRealize Operations and vRealize Orchestrator.

This blog post kicks off a series where I’ll highlight how you can streamline your process and maximize your investment with vRealize Automation (vRA) and vRealize Orchestrator (vRO). Throughout the series, I’ll showcase some real-world examples we are seeing with current customers, how we are leveraging the technology in our environment, and key tips that will get you started building solutions specific to your business scenarios as well.


What are vRA and vRO?

Example of a blueprint in vRealize Automation

vRealize Automation consists of a self service dashboard, capabilities to build out blueprints for infrastructure resources (or combinations of resources), and the ability to create integrations with major on-premises, and cloud-based industry infrastructure endpoints. Essentially, vRA allows you to define your infrastructure, and surface functionality that will allow you to provide more of a self service experience to your users.

How you can define your own workflow in vRealize Orchestrator

vRealize Orchestrator is the workflow engine that allows you to extend the capabilities within vRA to allow for more elaborate and custom interactions to happen. vRO can be called from other applications such as vRealize Operations Manager, and has full REST capabilities to call out to external resources. The focus of vRO is workflow, and it can be your swiss army knife when trying to address more complex fulfillment scenarios.


What is the difference between vRA and vRO?

vRealize Automation and vRealize Orchestrator are easily distinguishable, but because they work so well in tandem, the line where one platform ends and the other starts can seem to be blurred.

At the most high level, vRA, and vRO allow you to fulfill requests for infrastructure resources in an automated fashion. The step-by-step process can be broken down by which technology fulfills that portion of the request. Below are a couple of scenarios to help illustrate this point.


Example 1: Application Development Resource Request

Request Fulfilled By
Application Development Lead requests new development environment vRealize Automation Self Service Portal
Request gets routed for approval based on requested specifications (RAM/CPU/Etc.) vRealize Automation Approval Workflow
Once approved, resources are provisioned vRealize Automation based on specified Resource Blueprints
Initiating user is provided access to resources vRealize Automation Self Service Portal


Example 2: Prepare Web Server(s) for Maintenance

Request Fulfilled By
IT Resource initiates Web Server(s) Maintenance Request vRealize Automation Self Service Portal
Workflow kicks off and drains F5 Pools to eliminate load on web server(s) and notifies initiator when servers are ready for maintenance Custom vRealize Orchestrator Workflow kicked off by vRealize Automation request


Example 3: Automatically Resolve Host Resource Contention

Request Fulfilled By
vRealize Operations shows CPU/Storage contention within Host vRealize Operations Manager
Based on rules, vRealize Operations Manager initiates workflow to adjust compute/storage resource(s) and notify Virtualization Administrator of change vRealize Orchestrator Workflow initiated by vRealize Operations Manager


These are very simple examples, but they illustrate how well vRA and vRO work together. That being said, I often recommend to our customers that instead of focusing on how to differentiate, see how you leverage them together to solve your business use cases and streamline your processes.  

Architect your solution, and apply the appropriate technology.  If you are fulfilling simple resource provisioning requests, you can probably achieve this within vRA with a simple workflow and blueprint.  

If there is some customization needed in the workflow, you may have to jump to vRO. At the same time, if you want automated workflows kicked off from outside resources, vRO is probably your starting point, but you may still rely on vRA blueprints.

In our next post in this series, I will highlight how you can use vRO/vRA — including some pointers on how to set it up.


Blue Medora Labs is the professional services arm of Blue Medora.  We provide custom integration with various components of the vRealize Operations Suite, as well as professional services utilizing more out of the box functionality.  We help our customers and partners provide a user experience which is more customized to their unique business challenges.

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