vRealize Orchestrator 6.0 – deployment gotchas

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Summary: vRealize Orchestrator v6.0 is now out but I found deployment wasn’t as simple as it could be. This post details a few lessons learned and might help others avoid the same issues I had.

Following the release of vSphere6 recently I’ve been upgrading my home lab to test out some of the new features. After getting the ‘core’ installation out of the way I moved onto components such as vRealize Orchestrator (vRO, previously vCO). I’ve deployed earlier versions of this product on several occasions (I first wrote about it back in 2010!) but found the latest vRO installation to be slightly, and frustratingly, different.

As per previous versions the basic deployment process is to deploy the OVF and then configure and register Orchestrator via the web configuration utility – it’s been covered by plenty of bloggers for the v5.5 release (good guide here, and here for example). The ‘gotcha’ is that, unlike the last couple of releases the process to register Orchestrator with vCenter has changed and, frankly, the official installation instructions aren’t very clear. Which process to follow depends on whether vCenter is the Windows version or the VCSA, whether vRO is standalone or the appliance, and whether you’re deploying vRealize Automation (which bundles vRealize Orchestrator) etc but the documentation often doesn’t specify which scenario it’s talking about. The v6.0.1 release notes state that there’s an ‘updated model’ for installation, but omits to mention the specifics of how to actually do it;

vRealize Orchestrator 6.0.1 has an updated model for installing the vSphere Web Client plug-in for vRealize Orchestrator. vRealize Orchestrator 6.0.1 supports the vSphere Web Client integration and context execution of vRealize Orchestrator workflows as part of vSphere Web Client 6.0.

Also in the release notes it states;

The Orchestrator configuration interface has been deprecated in vCenter Orchestrator 5.5.1 and it is planned to be removed in the next major release of vRealize Orchestrator. 

I’m not sure if this means VMware missed their target of removing it in v6.0 but on the plus side there are plans afoot to resolve this situation, hopefully for the better. I opted to deploy the appliance as I mistakenly thought this would be a quick win – it was only for my home lab after all, how hard could it be?

Setting up Orchestrator v6.01 – the missing ‘quick start’ instructions

The first two steps are largely unchanged from earlier versions;

  1. Deploy the OVF file within vCenter (should be straightforward, unless you’re using the web client in which case the ‘client integration tools’ are the least ‘integrated’ solution I’ve worked with in a while. That’s probably Windows 2012/IE 11’s fault as much as it’s VMware’s).
  2. Configure Orchestrator, using the web configuration service. Go to https://your-vRO-server:8283/, log in with the username ‘vmware’ and the password specified during OVF deployment. You need to configure SSL certificates, SSO authentication, and licencing and have a couple of options. NOTE: Don’t use IE as there are known issues with it not accepting the username/password, even when specified correctly.
    • Use the new configuration ‘wizard’ included with the vRO appliance. Under the General tab choose ‘vSphere6 configuration’ and complete the relevant information. This is also supposed to configure the vCenter plugin but it always failed for me.
    • Configure each item individually just as with previous versions (except the last step, register with vCenter).
  3. Register Orchestrator with vCenter. Again you have a few choices;
    1. Use REST API calls (documentation here) which wasn’t something I wanted to spent time on. Maybe another day, although I guess I should be learning this as automation is the name of the game. 😉
    2. Using Orchestrator workflows (as per VMware’s documentation). This requires installation of the Orchestrator GUI client, http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/maxalt/ which can be done via the link on the vRO webpage (http://your-vRO-server/).
      1. Install the Orchestrator GUI client and login. Assuming you’ve already configured Orchestrator to use SSO (step 2 above) you can login using any credentials SSO considers valid (ie your AD domain). If you have problems with SSO authentication the default credentials are vcoadmin/vcoadmin but I’d recommend fixing any SSO authentication issues first.
      2. Go to the ‘Workflows’ tab (fourth from left) and run the ‘Add a vCenter Server instance’ workflow;

        • On the first screen enter your vCenter IP or FQDN. Choose to ‘ignore certificate warnings’.
        • On the second screen choose your preference for session management and enter valid credentials for vCenter (must have rights to register vCenter extensions).
        • Then login to the web client and voila, you should see a registered Orchestrator server and a tree of workflows;



I spent a lot longer than planned to get this up and running in my lab and I wouldn’t have got it working at all without some excellent technical support from Jad El_Zein and Ilian Iliev via the vRO forums. Thanks guys – you managed to turn around an extremely frustrating experience into something more positive. Here are some things to check;

  • Check the vCenter plug-in (Home -> Configuration > Solutions/Client Plug-Ins) is enabled.
  • Check the vCenter extension is correctly registered;
    • Browse to https://vCenterIP/mob. Go to ‘content’, ‘extension manager’, and you should see (com.vmware.vco) listed. If not try re-running the Orchestrator workflows as they register the extension. If this fails try also unregistering the vRO extension first – instructions here. For me unregistering the vRO vCenter extension via the MOB didn’t work in IE 11, but worked fine in Chrome.
  • If the Orchestrator screen in the webclient is blank and doesn’t show registered servers or workflows check the vRO plugin has loaded;
    • Browse to https://vCenterIP/mob. Go to ‘content’, ‘extension manager’, then ‘com.vmware.vco’, then ‘client’. Put the ‘url’ field (under ‘ExtensionClientInfo) into a web browser and it should download the plugin .ZIP file. If not you may need to re-register the vCenter extension. This is the problem I encountered – for some reason my vCenter extension had an IPv6 URL registered which didn’t work;
  • Check the configuration in the Orchestrator GUI client. Go to Administer, then expand the
  • If you have permission issues registering with SSO, bear in mind the limitations around nested group memberships.
  • Check the Orchestrator logfiles.
  • Post in the vRealize Orchestrator community forum. This is how I finally resolved my issue – you can view my post and some good troubleshooting advice here.

Final thoughts

I’m not an Orchestrator expert but I’m no VMware newbie either, and if I had issues no doubt others are struggling too (yep – here, here, here, and here, and Steve Beaver knows his way around vSphere). It’s hardly the most streamlined deployment experience is it? The official instructions can be found here but why not offer an ‘express installation’ option which asks for the vCenter server name during the initial OVF deployment and then authentication, registration, and initial configuration could be done automatically. Feel free to give it the usual ‘not suitable for production’ caveats if needed and while you’re at it VMware, a ‘quick start’ guide would be good too! Maybe it’s a test – if you’re not smart enough to get it installed you probably aren’t a workflow developer…

Using the web client is still a pain in the proverbial, largely because web standards aren’t very standard. If you try something and it fails, try another browser first. I wasted countless hours on browser compatibility issues. 🙁

It’s ironic that an application designed to orchestrate operations can’t orchestrate its installation a bit better!

7 thoughts on “vRealize Orchestrator 6.0 – deployment gotchas

  1. Thanks for these instructions. I almost gave up a couple times but finally got it running thanks to you. I was very surprised when I finally got logged in. Complete pain and not intuitive at all.

  2. Actually, I also had to run “Register vCenter Orchestrator..” workflow in order to see the extension in the Manged Object Browser (and see the Orchestrator server in web client)

  3. There are two workflows that you’ll need to run. First one is the one described in your post. But that won’t install the web client extension. For that, you’ll need to run the ‘Register vCenter Orchestrator as a vCenter Server Extension’ workflow in order for the web client plugin to register.

    Not sure why this was made so complicated.

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