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Install older vRealize Automation version (8.0.x)

by

Matthias Eisner

By
Matthias Eisner
and
Tobias Paschek

Recently, I had to install an older version of vRealize Automation, being more precisely, version 8.0.1, which is still downloadable from the Homepage of VMware and is officially still supported. Why, that’s a different story.

OK, the starting point was a 100% defined, I download the easy installer from VMware, created all needed DNS entries, verified that NTP is working, mounted the ISO, started the installation process, filled out all the needed information and watched easy installer running into an epic fail. Hmm, being honest, was kind of expected, because I had in mind that there was a problem with an expired root password of the vRO container inside vRA. Nice, I started searching theInternet to find appropriate blog articles. Took me a couple of minutes and I was ready to SSH into the newly deployed vRA appliance to apply the fix and finish the deployment.

As all of you know, I wouldn’t have written a blog article, if it would have been that simple.

SSH into the appliance was not possible, weird. OK, logged into the vSphere client, opened the console of the virtual appliance, typed in username root and the configured password, can’t login. Very strange. Then I thought, the initial root password I’ve chosen is too simple or based on dictionary, and so on and so forth. I tried many many times, without any success. Triple-checking DNS,NTP, everything. At the end of the day, each single attempt ended with an epic-fail including a not correctly set root password.

The problem was, once the easy installer ran into its timeout, after 30-ish minutes, even using the known way getting into the appliance (https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/76530) and resetting the root password didn’t help, because the easy installer process was not able to continue und there was no retry button.

Long story short: After 2,5 days (not kidding) trying diverse approaches, I had a chat with some colleagues and Toby had an idea: he said: “Just use the KB article provided by VMware right after the appliance has been deployed, reset the root password, and let us see if the install continues”.

Believe it or not, but that did the trick.

What is wrong?? Hmm, that is a good question, and I can only assume. My best guess would be, that the default photonOS root password (which is well known) has expired and thus the easy installer can’t login to change the root password to the one provided in the easy installer. Furthermore, it can’t login to continue initializing vRealize Automation. But again, that is just a guess.

Summarizing the steps which, from my point of view, need to be taken to install vRA 8.0.x(tested 8.1 & 8.3, they are installing fine):

1.     Verify the basics: DNS & NTP

2.     Use the easy installer and monitor deployment of the virtual machines in vSphere

3.     Once the vRA appliance powers-on, immediately apply kb article: 76530

4.     Back to easy installer: once easy installer enters phase 2, SSH into the appliance and apply the vRO root password fix. I recommend the blog article from Maher AlAsfar: https://vmwarelab.org/2020/03/28/how-to-deploy-vra-8-0-1-while-dealing-with-the-built-in-containers-root-password-expiration-preventing-installations-for-vrealize-automation-8-0-and-8-0-1/

By now, you should have successfully installed a vRealize Automation 8.0.x version, for whatever reason.

Special credit and thanks goes to Yves and Toby helping me troubleshooting the whole thing.

Furthermore, because of referencing externally, credits to Maher AlAsfar for his great blog articles.