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HomeLab – Automated VMware Infrastructure Documentation

In this blog I will be talking about how to automate the creation of documentation reports of our virtual infrastructure. There are several commercial solutions to generate this type of report but I will be talking about “As Built Report” a free tool that uses powershell as a base to build the reports.

The “As Built Report” tool uses the VMware.PowerCLI modules that we explained previously in our blog. If you want to know more about PowerCLI follow this link here. An important fact about “As Built Report” is that it is not only used to generate reports on VMware but also supports the following products:

  • VMware vSphere, NSX & SRM
  • Cisco UCS Manager
  • Nutanix Prism Element
  • Pure Storage FlashArray
  • Rubrik
  • Zerto
  • Dell/EMC VxRail
  • Cohesity DataPlatform
  • etc…

First of all to use this tool we need to validate the requirements that in general consist of the following:

  • Windows PowerShell 5.1 o later
  • VMware.PowerCLI

To install the “As Built Report” powershell module use the command <Install-Module> followed by the module name AsBuiltReport.

PS /home/blabla> Install-Module -Name AsBuiltReport

Untrusted repository
You are installing the modules from an untrusted repository. If you trust this repository, change its InstallationPolicy value by running the Set-PSRepository cmdlet. Are you sure you want to install the modules from 'PSGallery'?
[Y] Yes  [A] Yes to All  [N] No  [L] No to All  [S] Suspend  [?] Help (default is "N"): A
PS /home/blabla>   

An optional requirement is to build a configuration file that allows you to set the organization parameters that are used to generate the report. This process generates a JSON file which is used as a template so that you do not have to fill in repetitive information when generating reports. To view the configuration procedure, simply click on the “+” icon.

AsBuiltReport JSON Configuration File

The powershell cmdlet New-AsBuiltConfig allows you to generate a template that will be used as the basis of the report. This template sets the non-technical parameters of the report.

PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> New-AsBuiltConfig

---------------------------------------------
 <        As Built Report Information      >
---------------------------------------------
Enter the name of the Author for this As Built Report [jocolon]: Jonathan Colon
---------------------------------------------
 <           Company Information           >
---------------------------------------------
Would you like to enter Company information for the As Built Report? (y/n): y
Enter the Full Company Name: Zen PR Solutions
Enter the Company Short Name: ZENPR
Enter the Company Contact: Jonathan Colon
Enter the Company Email Address: jcolonf@zenprsolutions.com
Enter the Company Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Enter the Company Address: Puerto Rico
---------------------------------------------
 <            Email Configuration          >
---------------------------------------------
Would you like to enter SMTP configuration? (y/n): n
----------------------------------------------
 <       As Built Report Configuration      >
----------------------------------------------
Would you like to save the As Built Report configuration file? (y/n): y
Enter a name for the As Built Report configuration file [AsBuiltReport]: HomeLab VMware Report
Enter the path to save the As Built Report configuration file [C:\Users\jocolon\AsBuiltReport]:

Name                           Value
----                           -----
Email                          {Port, Credentials, Server, To...}
Company                        {FullName, Contact, Phone, Email...}
UserFolder                     {Path}
Report                         {Author}


PS C:\WINDOWS\system32>

Once the process is completed, a JSON file will be created with the following content:

{
    "Email":  {
                  "Port":  null,
                  "Credentials":  null,
                  "Server":  null,
                  "To":  null,
                  "From":  null,
                  "UseSSL":  null,
                  "Body":  null
              },
    "Company":  {
                    "FullName":  "Zen PR Solutions",
                    "Contact":  "Jonathan Colon",
                    "Phone":  "787-203-2790",
                    "Email":  "jcolonf@zenprsolutions.com",
                    "ShortName":  "ZENPR",
                    "Address":  "Puerto Rico"
                },
    "UserFolder":  {
                       "Path":  "C:\\Users\\jocolon\\AsBuiltReport"
                   },
    "Report":  {
                   "Author":  "Jonathan Colon"
               }
}

The New-AsBuiltReportConfig command allows you to set the technical parameters of the report such as the verbose level and type of information collected.

PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> New-AsBuiltReportConfig VMware.vSphere -FolderPath C:\Users\jocolon\AsBuiltReport\ -Filename ReportConfig

Once the process is completed, a JSON file will be created with the following content:

{
    "Report": {
        "Name": "VMware vSphere As Built Report",
        "Version": "1.0",
        "Status": "Released"
    },
    "Options": {
        "ShowLicenseKeys": false,
        "ShowVMSnapshots": true
    },
    "InfoLevel": {
        "_comment_": "0 = Disabled, 1 = Summary, 2 = Informative, 3 = Detailed, 4 = Adv Detailed, 5 = Comprehensive",
        "vCenter": 3,
        "Cluster": 3,
        "ResourcePool": 3,
        "VMHost": 3,
        "Network": 3,
        "vSAN": 3,
        "Datastore": 3,
        "DSCluster": 3,
        "VM": 2,
        "VUM": 3
    },
    "HealthCheck": {
        "vCenter": {
            "Mail": true,
            "Licensing": true
        },
        "Cluster": {
            "HAEnabled": true,
            "HAAdmissionControl": true,
            "HostFailureResponse": true,
            "HostMonitoring": true,
            "DatastoreOnPDL": true,
            "DatastoreOnAPD": true,
            "APDTimeOut": true,
            "vmMonitoring": true,
            "DRSEnabled": true,
            "DRSAutomationLevelFullyAuto": true,
            "PredictiveDRS": false,
            "DRSVMHostRules": true,
            "DRSRules": true,
            "vSANEnabled": false,
            "EVCEnabled": true,
            "VUMCompliance": true
        },
        "VMHost": {
            "ConnectionState": true,
            "HyperThreading": true,
            "ScratchLocation": true,
            "IPv6": true,
            "UpTimeDays": true,
            "Licensing": true,
            "SSH": true,
            "ESXiShell": true,
            "NTP": true,
            "StorageAdapter": true,
            "NetworkAdapter": true,
            "LockdownMode": true,
            "VUMCompliance": true
        },
        "vSAN": {},
        "Datastore": {
            "CapacityUtilization": true
        },
        "DSCluster": {
            "CapacityUtilization": true,
            "SDRSAutomationLevelFullyAuto": true
        },
        "VM": {
            "PowerState": true,
            "ConnectionState": true,
            "CpuHotAdd": true,
            "CpuHotRemove": true,
            "MemoryHotAdd": true,
            "ChangeBlockTracking": true,
            "SpbmPolicyCompliance": true,
            "VMToolsStatus": true,
            "VMSnapshots": true
        }
    }
}

Finally, we generate the report using the <New-AsBuiltReport> command with the vCenter information parameters and referencing the JSON file we have created as templates.

PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> New-AsBuiltReport -Report VMware.vSphere -Target vcenter-01v.zenprsolutions.local -Username administrator@vsphere.local -Password XXXXX -Format Word,Text,HTML -OutputFolderPath 'C:\Users\jocolon\OneDrive\Desktop\' -EnableHealthCheck -AsBuiltConfigFilePath 'HomeLab VMware Report.json' -ReportConfigFilePath 'ReportConfig.json'

VMware vSphere As Built Report 'VMware vSphere As Built Report' has been saved to 'C:\Users\jocolon\OneDrive\Desktop\'.
PS C:\WINDOWS\system32>

Once the process of collecting the information from the vCenter is finished, the command saves the report as specified with the <OutputFolderPath> parameter. The following image shows the generated report in the <Word,Text,HTML> format.

Below I show you some images showing the result of the report collected from the vCenter <vcenter-01v>:

Summary

In this lab we learned how easy it is to create documentation about our virtual infrastructure by using freely available tools. “As Built Report” is a robust tool that facilitates the manual process of creating or updating our documentation.

Published inVMware

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