10 Replies - 428 Views - Last Post: 13 September 2018 - 07:04 AM

#1 coolaboola   User is offline

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Want to build a simple automation platform

Posted 13 September 2018 - 03:21 AM

Hi All

I work in a cloud operations role and we do a lot of manual tasks. I would like to begin looking at how to stand up an automation platform.

Now for the fun part , i am a complete beginner to this kind of thing. I have written powercli scripts and have a basic understanding of other stuff but i am miles from being a developer. This is the kind of stuff i would like to try and accomplish :

1. Create automation server with a landing page with something like "welcome to cloud operations automation" and then present a login screen
2. I would then like to have buttons where users can do things like request disk space usage on vm's in a resource pool / check if snapshots are present and other data retrieval functions like that. I would then like the report to be created in html or something

for now , i just want to do data retrieval and i can move to more complex functions later.

Any idea how i even start this ? What languages to use ? How to structure the whole thing ?

I appreciate this is probably a silly question but its something i would like to try out...

Thanks for any help

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Replies To: Want to build a simple automation platform

#2 coolaboola   User is offline

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Re: Want to build a simple automation platform

Posted 13 September 2018 - 03:38 AM

Just to note also that all VM's are windows based and based on a VMware platform (vCenter and vCloud Director)
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#3 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: Want to build a simple automation platform

Posted 13 September 2018 - 04:35 AM

Why not just give your users access to vCenter and vCloud?
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#4 coolaboola   User is offline

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Re: Want to build a simple automation platform

Posted 13 September 2018 - 05:04 AM

View PostSkydiver, on 13 September 2018 - 04:35 AM, said:

Why not just give your users access to vCenter and vCloud?


Why would i do that ? I want to build a platform where i can run remote reporting and other functions
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#5 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: Want to build a simple automation platform

Posted 13 September 2018 - 05:39 AM

Why re-invent the wheel? Just give us ers limited access rights to the software that already has the information.

For full disclosure, I am one of those disgruntled VMWare users who can't believe that I need to spend 30-45 minutes calling op somebody like you in "cloud ops" simply to have a snapshot taken, or have a machine rebooted because RDP is hanging due to the bug in VMWare that does not work well with Windows Server. Like you, they also have grand plans of giving us a self-service web page to automate the same tasks: see resources, request or verify snapshots, get console access to force reboots. Those grand plans keep on being postponed due to lack of budget and/or higher priority projects.
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#6 coolaboola   User is offline

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Re: Want to build a simple automation platform

Posted 13 September 2018 - 05:46 AM

But as i said , i want to learn how to build a portal for us to use. Its not for any external users , its just for operations ourselves. I want to be able to log into the portal and select for example "customer A disk usage on all vm's" and just get the report

Currently i have to copy a script up to a jump server, run it and then copy the output back down again.

This post has been edited by Skydiver: 13 September 2018 - 05:54 AM
Reason for edit:: Removed unnecessary quote. No need to quote the post above yours.

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#7 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: Want to build a simple automation platform

Posted 13 September 2018 - 05:50 AM

When we asked for VMWare console access they say that company the policy does not allow that, but when we ask them to point to the specific document and paragraph within the document, we just hear crickets. If pressed, they say it's a SOX requirement. When I show them the SOX law, it only talks about financial controls that heads of businesses must adhere to. When I try to press further and ask if perhaps they are following COBITT guidelines for complying with SOX, they say they don't follow COBITT.

My suspicion is that there is no such policy. I suspect that simply are used to having full control and assume that giving anybody else access will also grab them full control. This is ironic since the VMWare hype is that granular control is a major selling point. Doesn't that mean granular control can also be given for what can be done at the console?

Or is everybody just paranoid about the security maxim that "once they have physical access to the machine, game over". But why be paranoid if the company already trusts us to deploy, administer, maintain, and troubleshoot these VMs where we deal with not only millions of dollars worth of transactions, but people's personal health information as well.

Sorry for the rant there. As you can guess, a lot of resentment has built up over the multiple poor interactions with "cloud ops".
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#8 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: Want to build a simple automation platform

Posted 13 September 2018 - 06:00 AM

Why do you even need a logon screen if it is just for OPs? Simply host your web site on a server which will only service pages requests from a narrow set of IPs. You can do this kind of filtering in IIS (probably the URL Rewrite Module), or at worse in your application itself.

As for the actual tasks, simply host and run PowerShell to do the set of steps that you need to to. MSDN has a great set of tutorials about hosting and running PowerShell. PowerCLI is simply a module built on top of PowerShell.

Speaking of which, why do you even need to copy the scripts unto the jump server? Why not simply use PowerShell remoting?
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#9 coolaboola   User is offline

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Re: Want to build a simple automation platform

Posted 13 September 2018 - 06:44 AM

View PostSkydiver, on 13 September 2018 - 06:00 AM, said:

Why do you even need a logon screen if it is just for OPs? Simply host your web site on a server which will only service pages requests from a narrow set of IPs. You can do this kind of filtering in IIS (probably the URL Rewrite Module), or at worse in your application itself.

As for the actual tasks, simply host and run PowerShell to do the set of steps that you need to to. MSDN has a great set of tutorials about hosting and running PowerShell. PowerCLI is simply a module built on top of PowerShell.

Speaking of which, why do you even need to copy the scripts unto the jump server? Why not simply use PowerShell remoting?


These are private data centers with no access from our laptops so we need to connect via vpn's and copy scripts from there

I dont need a logon screen i suppose. So you recommend getting started with IIS and hosting and running powershell ?
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#10 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: Want to build a simple automation platform

Posted 13 September 2018 - 06:45 AM

Thinking on this some more... Do you even really need a web page? You can create a GUI using PowerShell.
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#11 coolaboola   User is offline

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Re: Want to build a simple automation platform

Posted 13 September 2018 - 07:04 AM

View PostSkydiver, on 13 September 2018 - 06:45 AM, said:

Thinking on this some more... Do you even really need a web page? You can create a GUI using PowerShell.


I will take a look at this, thanks
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