Set vCenter Server Annotations via vCloud Automation Center deployment

How can i update the virtual machine (VM) Annotations field in vCenter Server when requesting a VM via vCloud Automation Center (vCAC), soon to be renamed to vRealize Automation (vRA)? I have had this question a few times the last couple of weeks. This blog post will describe how you can solve this.

The below figures shows the Annotations section including both the attribute(s) and Notes areas.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 15.28.30

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 15.28.39

To add annotations (attributes) you will have to use the following vCenter Server parameters:

  • VMware.AttributeN.Name – The attribute name
  • VMware.AttributeN.Value – The attribute value

Change N to a number, start with 0, and add the once you need.

Follow the below steps to add vCenter Server attributes to VMs created via vCAC

  1. Create Property Definitions in the Property Dictionary section. In my case i wanted to add information about Billing, Company and Purpose to my VMs.
    Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 15.41.07
  2. Add Property Attributes for the above created Property Definitions via the Edit link to the right.
    The below figure shows the Property Attribute for the VMware.Attribute0.Value Property Definition
    Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 15.42.58
    The below figure shows the Property Attribute for the VMware.Attribute1.Value Property DefinitionScreen Shot 2014-11-13 at 15.43.09
    The below figure shows the Property Attribute for the VMware.Attribute2.Value Property DefinitionScreen Shot 2014-11-13 at 15.43.20
    You can create the drop down box values depending on a previous selections but that is not the focus of this blog post.
  3. Add all the required VMware.AttributeN.Name and VMware.AttributeN.Value to the Blueprint. In my case i added
    VMware.Attribute0.Name – with value “Billing Info” which will be displayed in the VM annotation section.
    VMware.Attribute1.Name – with value “Company Info” which will be displayed in the VM annotation section.
    VMware.Attribute2.Name – with value “Purpose Info” which will be displayed in the VM annotation section.
  4. Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 15.42.19

Now you can request a VM from the blueprint in the catalog and the annotations will be added to the VM


Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 15.51.34


Select billing information:Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 15.44.33

Select Company:Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 15.44.42

Select Purpose

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 15.44.53

Click submit

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 15.45.01

The vCenter Server VM annotation filed is now updated according to the below figure for all VMs created form the blueprint

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 17.14.44

Remember that Attributes are vCenter Server wide so all VMs will be populated with the attributes you create. However, they will be empty for all your existing VMs.

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  1. Newsletter: December 6, 2014 | Notes from MWhite

    […] have been asked about this, and in fact I may have even asked for this functionality myself.  But a nice article about how to set annotations and notes via vCAC.  Nice functionality so thanks for the […]

  2. Newsletter: December 29, 1014 | Notes from MWhite

    […] Set vCenter Server Annotations via vCloud Automatic Center deployment In the past I used Notes and Annotations in vCenter to keep track of things like owners and support contacts (now I use tags).  So pretty handy.  I wondered how I could do that when deploying virtual machines from vCAC.  So it is good that it is possible and you can find out here. […]

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