Despite VMware’s efforts to make vCAC look more appealing our customers still like a GUI that actually looks as if it was from this century. And it is really no problem to build something like the Telerik Kendo based ‘Self Service Portal’ (the one that will sadly be replaced by something in else in the next version of vCAC). My personal preference currently is to use ‘Lightswitch’ (a HTML5 RAD development framework in Visual Studio). This is especially useful when you want the customer only to see a few options and not the “standard” properties you always have to provide in vCAC.

Order Virtual Machine
Order Virtual Machine

Now the question: how do I easily provision a blueprint from my shiny new GUI? PowerShell to the rescue – again … Using the “mgmtContext” you will see there is a method called “SubmitVirtualMachineRequest” that has 2 overloads:

PS > $m.SubmitVirtualMachineRequest

guid SubmitVirtualMachineRequest(
 guid templateId,
 guid groupId,
 string requestingUser,
 string owner,
 string reason,
guid SubmitVirtualMachineRequest(
 DynamicOps.ManagementModel.Common.Requests.MachineRequest request

The former is actually a wrapper for the latter, building a ‘MachineRequest’ on the fly:

PS > $r = New-Object DynamicOps.ManagementModel.Common.Requests.MachineRequest
PS > $r |gm -Type Property

   TypeName: DynamicOps.ManagementModel.Common.Requests.MachineRequest

Name           MemberType Definition
----           ---------- ----------
GroupId        Property   guid GroupId {get;set;}
Owner          Property   string Owner {get;set;}
Properties     Property   System.Collections.Generic.List[DynamicOps.ManagementModel.Common.Shim.NameValue] Properties {get;set;}
Reason         Property   string Reason {get;set;}
RequestingUser Property   string RequestingUser {get;set;}
TemplateId     Property   guid TemplateId {get;set;}

With that you can easily set properties like blueprint, provisioning group, owner, … for this request.

PS > $r.GroupId = ($m.ProvisioningGroups |? GroupName -eq 'vCenterProvisioningGroup').GroupID;
PS > $r.TemplateId = ($m.VirtualMachineTemplates |? VirtualMachineTemplateName -eq 'BP01').VirtualMachineTemplateID;
PS > $r.Owner = 'SHAREDOP\someEndUser';
PS > $r.RequestingUser = 'SHAREDOP\ProvisioningAdmin';
PS > $r.Reason = 'doit';

The last step is to parametrise the request by adding new and setting predefined properties in the blueprint. Make sure you create distinct Property objects because adding them to the list only adds a reference of the property object:

$l = New-Object System.Collections.Generic.List[DynamicOps.ManagementModel.Common.Shim.NameValue];
PS > $p = New-Object DynamicOps.ManagementModel.Common.Shim.NameValue;
PS > $p

ExtensionData :
IsEncrypted   : False
IsHidden      : False
IsRuntime     : False
Name          :
Value         :

PS > $p.Name = 'aNewProperty'
PS > $p.Value = 'some Value'
PS > $l.Add($p)
PS > $l

ExtensionData :
IsEncrypted   : False
IsHidden      : False
IsRuntime     : False
Name          : aNewProperty
Value         : some Value

After adding all properties you can check your input and submit the request. A subsequent fetch for the returned machine id will give you all the details:

PS > $r
TemplateId     : b9fe831b-26fd-4ef0-b5c2-ee8f258f1727
GroupId        : da5e1157-cb38-4733-87fe-0779a5e6e127
RequestingUser : SHAREDOP\ProvisioningAdmin
Owner          : SHAREDOP\someEndUser
Reason         : doit
Properties     : {aNewProperty, SecurityLevelRequired, Sysprep.UserData.OrgName}

PS > $VirtualMachineID = $m.SubmitVirtualMachineRequest($r)
PS > $VirtualMachineID

PS > $vm = $m.VirtualMachines |? VirtualMachineID -eq $VirtualMachineID
PS > $vm
VirtualMachineID             : e8643ea7-ef59-4f5f-8577-e7c7cc73dacd
VirtualMachineName           : DUB100139
Expires                      : 10/22/2013 1:01:43 PM
InitiatorType                : Created
Notes                        : DUB100139
GuestOS                      :
VMUniqueID                   : dcbe279e-8658-48c5-8a8f-1a9f51afd5fe
PlatformDetails              : On
VMCreationDate               : 10/19/2013 11:01:43 AM
VMDeleteDate                 :
LastLoggedDate               :

As an alternative you check your machine properties in the vCAC console:

Machine Properties added by script
Machine Properties added by script

From there you can hook into the provisioning process as usual and change hostname and the like. Almost too easy …


  1. This is very nice article,
    In our requirement, we need to create a same new UI for request a machine in vCAC self service portal. Can you please suggest some solution or help links for create and implement a new UI in vCAC self service portal.

    • I already replied to the original message in But here is an additional approach you might want to take. You can build a new web page based on the same Kendo controls from Telerik as the SelfServicePortal and have it linked to the original portal (then you preserve the look and feel of the page). and with this you can still reuse it even after upgrading to the next version of vCAC.

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