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New Fling – VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) Configuration File Generator

Its been some time since I wrote an article on VMware Cloud Foundation. However, I recently caught up with my good pal Gary Blake who informed me about a significant new development in the VCF space. This is the release of a new fling called the VMware Cloud Foundation Configuration File Generator. This new fling will enable us to replace the Deployment Parameter Workbook with a containerized web application. This new application has the ability to validate all of the configuration inputs before generating the JSON file. This file is then used by the Cloud Builder appliance to bring up the environment. This is such a cool new feature that I decided to do a very quick post about it. Let’s take a closer look.

On launching the app, you are placed into the following landing page.

Now the cool thing about having the ability to create, save, export and import the configuration is that various parts of the organization can work independently to configure the environment. You might have someone responsible for vSphere infrastructure who can populate and save part of the form, and then export it so that the networking team can import it and populate the NSX networking section. The same goes for the licensing section, if there are certain team members in the organization responsible for that. A nice feature for sure. Let’s proceed with the creation of a new, blank config file.

We can see that there are a number of different tabs, all of which correspond to the parameters one would find in the Deployment Parameter Workbook. This is where the new validation method comes into play. Not only does the web application allow us to do things like check password criteria, but it also has the ability to do some additional validation against the overall configuration. For example, in the Credentials tab below, the password field can be checked to ensure it contains the minimum number of letters, numbers and special characters required for a password.

In the top right hand part of the window, note that there is a slide button to enable “Validation Status”. This will check that all of the necessary fields have been correctly populated. It will check items such as missing fields, verifying short-names of hosts where required (and not FQDNs), and will also check to make sure that the IP addresses are not inadvertently reused, e.g. primary and secondary DNS servers have unique IP addresses. Here is a look at the configuration when the validation is enabled, and only a few fields are populated. Lot of indicators appears showing you what needs to be addressed to make a valid configuration.

And now if all fields are correctly populated and validated, you should hopefully observe something that looks like this:

I think you will agree that this certainly beats filling in the Deployment Parameter Workbook spreadsheet and then hoping you did everything correctly before passing it on to the Cloud Builder to do the deployment. Gary also did a post on the Configuration File Generator which you can find here. And finally, the fling itself can be found here on the VMware Flings site. This also has a lot more information about what you can and cannot do with it. It also has a nice video demoing the Configuration File Generator in action.

Nice work I’m sure you will agree.

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