For those that are unaware, VMworld Barcelona is currently going on and with it brings new product updates. In my quest for automation knowledge I’ve become quite interested in vCAC. The unfortunate downside is that (like all “automation” systems, I’m sure) it is quite involved in setting it up. With that in mind I’ve only spent a little bit of time trying to get it going but I’ve learnt one thing, it sure isn’t a next, next, next install! If you want to give it a crack I would recommend looking at this blog post by Jonathan Medd as he has written a PowerShell script to at least automate the prerequisites.
Anyway! Back to the vCAC 6.0. The Elastic Skies blog has a good run down on what is new. Not mentioned but very important (IMHO) is integration with Puppet (as per the press release). A vCAC install will be able to log in, read and understand your Puppet manifests. From what I can tell the vCAC server will act as an ENC (External Node Classifier) allowing you to use Puppet to define a standard way nodes are to be configured and then have vCAC deploy and classify the VMs as to which role they should be.
To me this seems like a powerful way to “close the loop”, in a manner of speaking, from graphical drag and drop creation of services to allow user to request through to not only configuring a VM based on a definition but to enforce the definition. As someone with lots of “stuff” I find the idea of forcing the systems to conform even more powerful than building things in an automated way.