vRO star wars

May the Orchestration be with you

Recently together with a friend of mine we were discussing the most hot topic these days – the new Star Wars movie. He showed me this uber cool site http://www.asciimation.co.nz/ that plays Episode IV in ASCII. He also showed me that there is a more geeky version of it using telnet http://www.blinkenlights.nl/services.html. So it got me thinking, I have never used the Telnet client part of vRO’s Net plugin + I am a Star Wars fan, what a great opportunity! Streaming Star Wars Episode IV in vRO’s logs:

vRO star wars

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Visualizing ski pass statistics from Livigno

Recently I went snowboarding with friends in Livigno, Italy. Everything was perfetto! The variety of slopes and parks was impressive. The weather couldn’t be better with fresh snow every morning and sunny days. It was a full week of pure fun, sport and leisure. This was my first time in Italy, in the winter, and I must say that I love it as much as I love it in the summer.

One thing that I did almost the next day when I got back home, was to check the lift pass statistics as suggested on my pass at http://www.skipasslivigno.com/skicheck/

When I entered my pass number I was surprised that I received only one .csv file that if I open in Excel I will see raw data of few columns and many rows, representing all my lift entries. We also gathered with friends to compare and discuss when and where someone of us was riding. As you can imagine it was hard to compare anything using text editors.

And by talking with others I heard that it is common for other resorts also.

As a data visualization fan, I thought that it would be nice to have a way to visualize all of this raw data, in a user friendly way. I wanted to see which slopes/lifts I was riding the most, which my friends were riding, when and where we were together, when we were riding on opposite slopes and how our days were going. So I went over the stats and started experimenting with ideas, how such statistics will be nice to be shown.

So I started building a ski stats visualization library, having my own and my friends’ stats from Livigno. I can say that it is now ready for preview and I wanted to get feedback for it. You can see a demo of it here http://tgeorgiev.github.io/skistats/ . It is fully functional, so if you have visited Livigno and have your ski pass statistics, go ahead and provide them to see you visualizations. There is also a demo mode, that shows fake data, to have a better feeling of the project.

Skistats screenshot

It is still in early development stages, so if you find any issues, have feature requests or want to see stats for other resorts, please open a new issue in the GitHub project page or comment your thought bellow this post. You can also check here how you can contribute.

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Integrating ASD forms with Google Translate using External Value Definitions

Recently vRA 6.2 was released and together with that ASD got a new feature that allows you to bind the constraints and permissible values of fields in ASD forms to External Value Definitions, that are backed up by vRO scripting actions. This means that you can enhance the request form or resource details form by making fields more dynamic that calculate their state and values from scripting actions. By having all the various vRO’s plugins and especially the REST plugin, you can connect to any* 3rd party system and retrieve values from it.

To give you an example I will use this very nice post, by Cesare Rossi, that came just in time for me to write mine. You can see the post here http://www.ilvirtualista.it/2014/12/18/vrops-if-this-than-that/. His example is sweet, uses the “Send notification” workflow to create a catalog item to send emails and the IFTTT service to send text messages. I will not change anything on the functional level, but rather enhance the presentation of his request form, without touching the workflow nor it’s presentation.

Now, you may have noticed that his post is entirely in Italian. I love the Italian language, but since I know very little, I will build a catalog item that allows entering message contents in English and by using a vRO scripting action that uses Google Translate, the form will instantly translate my message in Italian. We will do it following the steps:

1. Create a scripting action in vRO that talks with the Google Translate service.

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Create Resource Actions for any vCAC resource with ASD

One of the coolest new features in the Advanced Service Designer in vCAC 6.1 is the “Resource mappings”. Resource mappings is the way to tell ASD how to map a resource from vCAC’s catalog, that was provisioned by a provider other than ASD, to an inventory item in vCO, so that you can execute custom ASD resource actions over this resource. Basically this we already had this in 6.0 but only for IaaS types Virtual Machine, vCD vApp and vCD VM, but it was only for these types without the ability to map other resource types. Now if you open the resource mappings view, you will se those 3 built-in there and you will be able to add others for any resource type and this is what we will do.

Resource mappings list

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Passing requester details to vCO presentation from ASD blueprint / resource action

So you probably know that when you request a catalog item in vCAC that is based on an ASD blueprint, some global parameters about the requestor will be provided to the workflow at execution time. This is great, but in many cases one would like to create such a workflow presentation that would allow adding constraints or filtering predefined values based on the requester, before the actual request is made (before the workflow starts the execution). Well, guess what, you can do that now with the new release of vCAC 6.1 .

How would you be able to do that? The good thing is that it is re-using well known methods in both vCO and ASD, so there’s nothing new to learn, and no hidden parameters.

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