VMware ESXi Installation And Setup VMware. VSphere 6.7 67 IAG EN

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VMware ESXi Installation
and Setup
17 APR 2018
VMware vSphere 6.7
VMware ESXi 6.7
VMware ESXi Installation and Setup
VMware, Inc. 2
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Contents
1About VMware ESXi Installation and Setup 4
2Introduction to vSphere Installation and Setup 5
3Overview of the vSphere Installation and Setup Process 6
4About ESXi Evaluation and Licensed Modes 9
5Installing and Setting Up ESXi 10
ESXi Requirements 10
Preparing for Installing ESXi 19
Installing ESXi 70
Setting Up ESXi 188
After You Install and Set Up ESXi 208
6Troubleshooting ESXi Booting 212
Host Stops Unexpectedly at Bootup When Sharing a Boot Disk with Another Host 212
Host Fails to Boot After You Install ESXi in UEFI Mode 213
7Decommission an ESXi Host 214
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About VMware ESXi Installation
and Setup 1
VMware ESXi Installation and Setup describes how to install and configure VMware ESXi™.
Intended Audience
VMware ESXi Installation and Setup is intended for experienced administrators who want to install and
configure ESXi.
This information is written for experienced Windows or Linux system administrators who are familiar with
virtual machine technology and data center operations. The information about using the Image Builder
and VMware vSphere® Auto Deploy™ is written for administrators who have experience with Microsoft
PowerShell and VMware vSphere® PowerCLI™.
vSphere Web Client and vSphere Client
Task instructions in this guide are based on the vSphere Web Client. You can also perform most of the
tasks in this guide by using the new vSphere Client. The new vSphere Client user interface terminology,
topology, and workflow are closely aligned with the same aspects and elements of the
vSphere Web Client user interface. You can apply the vSphere Web Client instructions to the new
vSphere Client unless otherwise instructed.
Note In vSphere 6.7, most of the vSphere Web Client functionality is implemented in the vSphere Client.
For an up-to-date list of the unsupported functionality, see Functionality Updates for the vSphere Client.
VMware Technical Publications Glossary
VMware Technical Publications provides a glossary of terms that might be unfamiliar to you. For
definitions of terms as they are used in VMware technical documentation, go to
http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs.
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Introduction to vSphere
Installation and Setup 2
vSphere 6.7 provides various options for installation and setup. To ensure a successful vSphere
deployment, understand the installation and setup options, and the sequence of tasks.
The two core components of vSphere are ESXi and vCenter Server. ESXi is the virtualization platform on
which you can create and run virtual machines and virtual appliances. vCenter Server is a service that
acts as a central administrator for ESXi hosts connected in a network. vCenter Server lets you pool and
manage the resources of multiple hosts.
You can install vCenter Server on a Windows virtual machine or physical server, or deploy the
vCenter Server Appliance. The vCenter Server Appliance is a preconfigured Linux-based virtual machine
optimized for running vCenter Server and the vCenter Server components. You can deploy the
vCenter Server Appliance on ESXi hosts 6.0 or later, or on vCenter Server instances 6.0 or later.
Starting with vSphere 6.0, all prerequisite services for running vCenter Server and the vCenter Server
components are bundled in the VMware Platform Services Controller™. You can deploy vCenter Server
with an embedded or external Platform Services Controller, but you must always install or deploy the
Platform Services Controller before installing or deploying vCenter Server.
For detailed information about the vCenter Server installation process, see vCenter Server Installation
and Setup.
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Overview of the vSphere
Installation and Setup Process 3
vSphere is a sophisticated product with multiple components to install and set up. To ensure a successful
vSphere deployment, understand the sequence of tasks required.
Installing vSphere includes the following tasks:
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Figure 31. vSphere Installation and Setup Workflow
Start the vSphere
installation and setup
End of the vSphere
installation and setup
Small envrionment with one
vCenter Server Instance
Large envrionment with multiple
vCenter Server Instances
Install ESXi
on at least one host
Set up ESXi
Deploy or install vCenter Server
with an embedded Platform
Services Controller
Log in to the vSphere Web
Client to create and organize
your vCenter Server inventory
Log in to the vSphere Web
Client to create and organize
your vCenter Server inventories
Start the vSphere
installation and setup
End of the vSphere
installation and setup
Install ESXi
on at least one host
Set up ESXi
Deploy or install the Platform
Services Controller instances
in a sequence
Deploy or install the vCenter Server
instances and register them with the
external Platform Services
Controller instances
1 Read the vSphere release notes.
2 Install ESXi.
a Verify that your system meets the minimum hardware requirements. See ESXi Requirements.
b Determine the ESXi installation option to use. See Options for Installing ESXi.
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c Determine where you want to locate and boot the ESXi installer. See Media Options for Booting
the ESXi Installer. If you are using PXE to boot the installer, verify that your network PXE
infrastructure is properly set up. See PXE Booting the ESXi Installer.
d Create a worksheet with the information you will need when you install ESXi. See Required
Information for ESXi Installation.
e Install ESXi.
nInstalling ESXi Interactively
nInstalling or Upgrading Hosts by Using a Script
Note You can also provision ESXi hosts by using vSphere Auto Deploy, but vSphere Auto
Deploy is installed together with vCenter Server. To provision ESXi hosts by using Auto Deploy,
you must deploy the vCenter Server Appliance or install vCenter Server.
3 Configure the ESXi boot and network settings, the direct console, and other settings. See Setting Up
ESXi and After You Install and Set Up ESXi.
4 Consider setting up a syslog server for remote logging, to ensure sufficient disk storage for log files.
Setting up logging on a remote host is especially important for hosts with limited local storage. See
Required Free Space for System Logging and Configure Syslog on ESXi Hosts.
5 Determine the vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller deployment model that is suitable for
your environment.
6 Deploy or install vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller.
For detailed information, see the vCenter Server Installation and Setup guide.
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About ESXi Evaluation and
Licensed Modes 4
You can use evaluation mode to explore the entire set of features for ESXi hosts. The evaluation mode
provides the set of features equal to a vSphere Enterprise Plus license. Before the evaluation mode
expires, you must assign to your hosts a license that supports all the features in use.
For example, in evaluation mode, you can use vSphere vMotion technology, the vSphere HA feature, the
vSphere DRS feature, and other features. If you want to continue using these features, you must assign a
license that supports them.
The installable version of ESXi hosts is always installed in evaluation mode. ESXi Embedded is
preinstalled on an internal storage device by your hardware vendor. It might be in evaluation mode or
prelicensed.
The evaluation period is 60 days and begins when you turn on the ESXi host. At any time during the 60-
day evaluation period, you can convert from licensed mode to evaluation mode. The time available in the
evaluation period is decreased by the time already used.
For example, suppose that you use an ESXi host in evaluation mode for 20 days and then assign a
vSphere Standard Edition license key to the host. If you set the host back in evaluation mode, you can
explore the entire set of features for the host for the remaining evaluation period of 40 days.
For information about managing licensing for ESXi hosts, see the vCenter Server and Host Management
documentation.
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Installing and Setting Up ESXi 5
You can install and set up ESXi on your physical hardware so that it acts as a platform for virtual
machines.
This chapter includes the following topics:
nESXi Requirements
nPreparing for Installing ESXi
nInstalling ESXi
nSetting Up ESXi
nAfter You Install and Set Up ESXi
ESXi Requirements
To install or upgrade ESXi, your system must meet specific hardware and software requirements.
ESXi Hardware Requirements
Make sure the host meets the minimum hardware configurations supported by ESXi6.7.
Hardware and System Resources
To install or upgrade ESXi, your hardware and system resources must meet the following requirements:
nSupported server platform. For a list of supported platforms, see the VMware Compatibility Guide at
http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility.
nESXi 6.7 requires a host machine with at least two CPU cores.
nESXi 6.7 supports 64-bit x86 processors released after September 2006. This includes a broad range
of multi-core processors. For a complete list of supported processors, see the VMware compatibility
guide at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility.
nESXi 6.7 requires the NX/XD bit to be enabled for the CPU in the BIOS.
nESXi 6.7 requires a minimum of 4 GB of physical RAM. It is recommended to provide at least 8 GB of
RAM to run virtual machines in typical production environments.
nTo support 64-bit virtual machines, support for hardware virtualization (Intel VT-x or AMD RVI) must
be enabled on x64 CPUs.
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nOne or more Gigabit or faster Ethernet controllers. For a list of supported network adapter models,
see the VMware Compatibility Guide at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility.
nSCSI disk or a local, non-network, RAID LUN with unpartitioned space for the virtual machines.
nFor Serial ATA (SATA), a disk connected through supported SAS controllers or supported on-board
SATA controllers. SATA disks are considered remote, not local. These disks are not used as a scratch
partition by default because they are seen as remote.
Note You cannot connect a SATA CD-ROM device to a virtual machine on an ESXi 6.7 host. To use
the SATA CD-ROM device, you must use IDE emulation mode.
Storage Systems
For a list of supported storage systems, see the VMware Compatibility Guide at
http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility. For Software Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), see
Installing and Booting ESXi with Software FCoE.
ESXi Booting Requirements
vSphere 6.7 supports booting ESXi hosts from the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). With
UEFI, you can boot systems from hard drives, CD-ROM drives, or USB media.
Starting with vSphere 6.7, VMware Auto Deploy supports network booting and provisioning of ESXi hosts
with UEFI.
ESXi can boot from a disk larger than 2 TB if the system firmware and the firmware on any add-in card
that you are using support it. See the vendor documentation.
Note Changing the boot type from legacy BIOS to UEFI after you install ESXi 6.7 might cause the host
to fail to boot. In this case, the host displays an error message similar to Not a VMware boot bank.
Changing the host boot type between legacy BIOS and UEFI is not supported after you install ESXi 6.7.
Storage Requirements for ESXi 6.7 Installation or Upgrade
Installing ESXi 6.7 or upgrading to ESXi 6.7 requires a boot device that is a minimum of 1 GB. When
booting from a local disk, SAN or iSCSI LUN, a 5.2-GB disk is required to allow for the creation of the
VMFS volume and a 4-GB scratch partition on the boot device. If a smaller disk or LUN is used, the
installer attempts to allocate a scratch region on a separate local disk. If a local disk cannot be found the
scratch partition, /scratch, is on the ESXi host ramdisk, linked to /tmp/scratch. You can
reconfigure /scratch to use a separate disk or LUN. For best performance and memory optimization, do
not leave /scratch on the ESXi host ramdisk.
To reconfigure /scratch, see Set the Scratch Partition from the vSphere Web Client.
Due to the I/O sensitivity of USB and SD devices, the installer does not create a scratch partition on these
devices. When installing or upgrading on USB or SD devices, the installer attempts to allocate a scratch
region on an available local disk or datastore. If no local disk or datastore is found, /scratch is placed on
the ramdisk. After the installation or upgrade, you should reconfigure /scratch to use a persistent
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datastore. Although a 1GB USB or SD device suffices for a minimal installation, you should use a 4GB or
larger device. The extra space is used for an expanded coredump partition on the USB/SD device. Use a
high-quality USB flash drive of 16 GB or larger so that the extra flash cells can prolong the life of the boot
media, but high-quality drives of 4 GB or larger are sufficient to hold the extended coredump partition.
See Knowledge Base article http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2004784.
In Auto Deploy installations, the installer attempts to allocate a scratch region on an available local disk or
datastore. If no local disk or datastore is found, /scratch is placed on ramdisk. You should
reconfigure /scratch to use a persistent datastore following the installation.
For environments that boot from a SAN or use Auto Deploy, you need not allocate a separate LUN for
each ESXi host. You can co-locate the scratch regions for many ESXi hosts onto a single LUN. The
number of hosts assigned to any single LUN should be weighed against the LUN size and the I/O
behavior of the virtual machines.
ESXi 6.7 Installation on M.2 and other Non-USB Low-end Flash Media
Unlike USB flash devices, the ESXi installer creates a VMFS datastore on M.2 and other non-USB low-
end flash media. If you deploy a virtual machine or migrate a virtual machine to this boot device
datastore, the boot device can be worn out quickly depending on the endurance of the flash device and
the characteristics of the workload. Even read-only workloads can cause problems on low-end flash
devices.
Important If you install ESXi on M.2 or other non-USB low-end flash media, delete the VMFS datastore
on the device immediately after installation. See vSphere Storage for more information on removing
VMFS datastores.
Supported Remote Management Server Models and Firmware
Versions
You can use remote management applications to install or upgrade ESXi, or to manage hosts remotely.
Table 51. Supported Remote Management Server Models and Minimum Firmware Versions
Remote Management Server Model Firmware Version Java
Dell DRAC 7 1.30.30 (Build 43) 1.7.0_60-b19
Dell DRAC 6 1.54 (Build 15), 1.70 (Build 21) 1.6.0_24
Dell DRAC 5 1.0, 1.45, 1.51 1.6.0_20,1.6.0_203
Dell DRAC 4 1.75 1.6.0_23
HP ILO 1.81, 1.92 1.6.0_22, 1.6.0_23
HP ILO 2 1.8, 1.81 1.6.0_20, 1.6.0_23
HP ILO 3 1.28 1.7.0_60-b19
HP ILO 4 1.13 1.7.0_60-b19
IBM RSA 2 1.03, 1.2 1.6.0_22
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Recommendations for Enhanced ESXi Performance
To enhance performance, install or upgrade ESXi on a robust system with more RAM than the minimum
required and with multiple physical disks.
For ESXi system requirements, see ESXi Hardware Requirements.
Table 52. Recommendations for Enhanced Performance
System Element Recommendation
RAM ESXi hosts require more RAM than typical servers. Provide at
least 8GB of RAM to take full advantage of ESXi features and
run virtual machines in typical production environments. An ESXi
host must have sufficient RAM to run concurrent virtual
machines. The following examples are provided to help you
calculate the RAM required by the virtual machines running on
the ESXi host.
Operating four virtual machines with Red Hat Enterprise Linux or
Windows XP requires at least 3GB of RAM for baseline
performance. This figure includes approximately 1024MB for the
virtual machines, 256MB minimum for each operating system as
recommended by vendors.
Running these four virtual machines with 512MB RAM requires
that the ESXi host have approximately 4GB RAM, which
includes 2048MB for the virtual machines.
These calculations do not take into account possible memory
savings from using variable overhead memory for each virtual
machine. See vSphere Resource Management.
Dedicated Fast Ethernet adapters for virtual machines Place the management network and virtual machine networks
on different physical network cards. Dedicated Gigabit Ethernet
cards for virtual machines, such as Intel PRO 1000 adapters,
improve throughput to virtual machines with high network traffic.
Disk location Place all data that your virtual machines use on physical disks
allocated specifically to virtual machines. Performance is better
when you do not place your virtual machines on the disk
containing the ESXi boot image. Use physical disks that are
large enough to hold disk images that all the virtual machines
use.
VMFS5 partitioning The ESXi installer creates the initial VMFS volumes on the first
blank local disk found. To add disks or modify the original
configuration, use the vSphere Web Client. This practice
ensures that the starting sectors of partitions are 64K-aligned,
which improves storage performance.
Note For SAS-only environments, the installer might not format
the disks. For some SAS disks, it is not possible to identify
whether the disks are local or remote. After the installation, you
can use the vSphere Web Client to set up VMFS.
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Table 52. Recommendations for Enhanced Performance (Continued)
System Element Recommendation
Processors Faster processors improve ESXi performance. For certain
workloads, larger caches improve ESXi performance.
Hardware compatibility Use devices in your server that are supported by ESXi 6.7
drivers. See the Hardware Compatibility Guide at
http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility.
Incoming and Outgoing Firewall Ports for ESXi Hosts
The vSphere Web Client and the VMware Host Client allow you to open and close firewall ports for each
service or to allow traffic from selected IP addresses.
The following table lists the firewalls for services that are installed by default. If you install other VIBs on
your host, additional services and firewall ports might become available. The information is primarily for
services that are visible in the vSphere Web Client but the table includes some other ports as well.
Table 53. Incoming Firewall Connections
Port
Protoc
ol Service Description
5988 TCP CIM Server Server for CIM (Common Information Model).
5989 TCP CIM Secure Server Secure server for CIM.
427 TCP,
UDP
CIM SLP The CIM client uses the Service Location Protocol, version 2 (SLPv2) to find
CIM servers.
546 DHCPv6 DHCP client for IPv6.
8301, 8302 UDP DVSSync DVSSync ports are used for synchronizing states of distributed virtual ports
between hosts that have VMware FT record/replay enabled. Only hosts that
run primary or backup virtual machines must have these ports open. On hosts
that are not using VMware FT these ports do not have to be open.
902 TCP NFC Network File Copy (NFC) provides a file-type-aware FTP service for vSphere
components. ESXi uses NFC for operations such as copying and moving data
between datastores by default.
12345, 23451 UDP vSANClustering
Service
VMware vSAN Cluster Monitoring and Membership Directory Service. Uses
UDP-based IP multicast to establish cluster members and distribute vSAN
metadata to all cluster members. If disabled, vSAN does not work.
68 UDP DHCP Client DHCP client for IPv4.
53 UDP DNS Client DNS client.
8200, 8100,
8300
TCP,
UDP
Fault Tolerance Traffic between hosts for vSphere Fault Tolerance (FT).
6999 UDP NSX Distributed
Logical Router
Service
NSX Virtual Distributed Router service. The firewall port associated with this
service is opened when NSX VIBs are installed and the VDR module is
created. If no VDR instances are associated with the host, the port does not
have to be open.
This service was called NSX Distributed Logical Router in earlier versions of
the product.
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Table 53. Incoming Firewall Connections (Continued)
Port
Protoc
ol Service Description
2233 TCP vSAN Transport vSAN reliable datagram transport. Uses TCP and is used for vSAN storage
IO. If disabled, vSAN does not work.
161 UDP SNMP Server Allows the host to connect to an SNMP server.
22 TCP SSH Server Required for SSH access.
8000 TCP vMotion Required for virtual machine migration with vMotion. ESXi hosts listen on port
8000 for TCP connections from remote ESXi hosts for vMotion traffic.
902, 443 TCP vSphere Web Client Client connections
8080 TCP vsanvp vSAN VASA Vendor Provider. Used by the Storage Management Service
(SMS) that is part of vCenter to access information about vSAN storage
profiles, capabilities, and compliance. If disabled, vSAN Storage Profile Based
Management (SPBM) does not work.
80 TCP vSphere Web Access Welcome page, with download links for different interfaces.
5900 -5964 TCP RFB protocol
80, 9000 TCP vSphere Update
Manager
Table 54. Outgoing Firewall Connections
Port Protocol Service Description
427 TCP, UDP CIM SLP The CIM client uses the Service Location Protocol, version 2
(SLPv2) to find CIM servers.
547 TCP, UDP DHCPv6 DHCP client for IPv6.
8301, 8302 UDP DVSSync DVSSync ports are used for synchronizing states of distributed
virtual ports between hosts that have VMware FT record/replay
enabled. Only hosts that run primary or backup virtual machines
must have these ports open. On hosts that are not using VMware
FT these ports do not have to be open.
44046, 31031 TCP HBR Used for ongoing replication traffic by vSphere Replication and
VMware Site Recovery Manager.
902 TCP NFC Network File Copy (NFC) provides a file-type-aware FTP service
for vSphere components. ESXi uses NFC for operations such as
copying and moving data between datastores by default.
9 UDP WOL Used by Wake on LAN.
12345 23451 UDP vSAN Clustering
Service
Cluster Monitoring, Membership, and Directory Service used by
vSAN.
68 UDP DHCP Client DHCP client.
53 TCP, UDP DNS Client DNS client.
80, 8200, 8100, 8300 TCP, UDP Fault Tolerance Supports VMware Fault Tolerance.
3260 TCP Software iSCSI Client Supports software iSCSI.
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Table 54. Outgoing Firewall Connections (Continued)
Port Protocol Service Description
6999 UDP NSX Distributed
Logical Router
Service
The firewall port associated with this service is opened when NSX
VIBs are installed and the VDR module is created. If no VDR
instances are associated with the host, the port does not have to
be open.
5671 TCP rabbitmqproxy A proxy running on the ESXi host. This proxy allows applications
that are running inside virtual machines to communicate with the
AMQP brokers that are running in the vCenter network domain.
The virtual machine does not have to be on the network, that is,
no NIC is required. Ensure that outgoing connection IP addresses
include at least the brokers in use or future. You can add brokers
later to scale up.
2233 TCP vSAN Transport Used for RDT traffic (Unicast peer to peer communication)
between vSAN nodes.
8000 TCP vMotion Required for virtual machine migration with vMotion.
902 UDP VMware vCenter
Agent
vCenter Server agent.
8080 TCP vsanvp Used for vSAN Vendor Provider traffic.
9080 TCP I/O Filter Service Used by the I/O Filters storage feature
Table 55. Firewall Ports for Services That Are Not Visible in the UI by Default
Port
Proto
col Service Comment
5900 -5964 TCP RFB protocol The RFB protocol is a simple protocol for remote access to graphical user
interfaces.
8889 TCP OpenWSMAN
Daemon
Web Services Management (WS-Management is a DMTF open standard for
the management of servers, devices, applications, and Web services.
Required Free Space for System Logging
If you used Auto Deploy to install your ESXi 6.7 host, or if you set up a log directory separate from the
default location in a scratch directory on the VMFS volume, you might need to change your current log
size and rotation settings to ensure that enough space is available for system logging .
All vSphere components use this infrastructure. The default values for log capacity in this infrastructure
vary, depending on the amount of storage available and on how you have configured system logging.
Hosts that are deployed with Auto Deploy store logs on a RAM disk, which means that the amount of
space available for logs is small.
If your host is deployed with Auto Deploy, reconfigure your log storage in one of the following ways:
nRedirect logs over the network to a remote collector.
nRedirect logs to a NAS or NFS store.
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If you redirect logs to non-default storage, such as a NAS or NFS store, you might also want to
reconfigure log sizing and rotations for hosts that are installed to disk.
You do not need to reconfigure log storage for ESXi hosts that use the default configuration, which stores
logs in a scratch directory on the VMFS volume. For these hosts, ESXi 6.7 configures logs to best suit
your installation, and provides enough space to accommodate log messages.
Table 56. Recommended Minimum Size and Rotation Configuration for hostd, vpxa, and
fdm Logs
Log Maximum Log File Size
Number of Rotations to
Preserve Minimum Disk Space Required
Management Agent (hostd) 10 MB 10 100 MB
VirtualCenter Agent (vpxa) 5 MB 10 50 MB
vSphere HA agent (Fault
Domain Manager, fdm)
5 MB 10 50 MB
For information about setting up a remote log server, see Configure Syslog on ESXi Hosts.
VMware Host Client System Requirements
Make sure that your browser supports the VMware Host Client.
The following guest operating systems and Web browser versions are supported for the
VMware Host Client.
Supported Browsers Mac OS Windows Linux
Google Chrome 50+ 50+ 50+
Mozilla Firefox 45+ 45+ 45+
Microsoft Internet Explorer N/A 11+ N/A
Microsoft Edge N/A 38+ N/A
Safari 9.0+ N/A N/A
ESXi Passwords and Account Lockout
For ESXi hosts, you have to use a password with predefined requirements. You can change the required
length and character class requirement or allow pass phrases using the
Security.PasswordQualityControl advanced option.
ESXi uses the Linux PAM module pam_passwdqc for password management and control. See the man
page for pam_passwdqc for detailed information.
Note The default requirements for ESXi passwords can change from one release to the next. You can
check and change the default password restrictions using the Security.PasswordQualityControl
advanced option.
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ESXi Passwords
ESXi enforces password requirements for access from the Direct Console User Interface, the ESXi Shell,
SSH, or the VMware Host Client.
nBy default, you have to include a mix of characters from four character classes: lowercase letters,
uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters such as underscore or dash when you create a
password.
nBy default, password length is more than 7 and less than 40.
nPasswords cannot contain a dictionary word or part of a dictionary word.
Note An uppercase character that begins a password does not count toward the number of character
classes used. A number that ends a password does not count toward the number of character classes
used.
Example ESXi Passwords
The following password candidates illustrate potential passwords if the option is set as follows.
retry=3 min=disabled,disabled,disabled,7,7
With this setting, passwords with one or two character classes and pass phrases are not allowed,
because the first three items are disabled. Passwords from three- and four-character classes require
seven characters. See the pam_passwdqc man page for details.
With these settings, the following passwords are allowed.
nxQaTEhb!: Contains eight characters from three character classes.
nxQaT3#A: Contains seven characters from four character classes.
The following password candidates do not meet requirements.
nXqat3hi: Begins with an uppercase character, reducing the effective number of character classes to
two. The minimum number of required character classes is three.
nxQaTEh2: Ends with a number, reducing the effective number of character classes to two. The
minimum number of required character classes is three.
ESXi Pass Phrase
Instead of a password, you can also use a pass phrase; however, pass phrases are disabled by default.
You can change this default or other settings, by using the Security.PasswordQualityControl
advanced option from the vSphere Web Client.
For example, you can change the option to the following.
retry=3 min=disabled,disabled,16,7,7
This example allows pass phrases of at least 16 characters and at least 3 words, separated by spaces.
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For legacy hosts, changing the /etc/pamd/passwd file is still supported, but changing the file is
deprecated for future releases. Use the Security.PasswordQualityControl advanced option instead.
Changing Default Password Restrictions
You can change the default restriction on passwords or pass phrases by using the
Security.PasswordQualityControl advanced option for your ESXi host. See the vCenter Server and
Host Management documentation for information on setting ESXi advanced options.
You can change the default, for example, to require a minimum of 15 characters and a minimum number
of four words, as follows:
retry=3 min=disabled,disabled,15,7,7 passphrase=4
See the man page for pam_passwdqc for details.
Note Not all possible combinations of the options for pam_passwdqc have been tested. Perform
additional testing after you change the default password settings.
ESXi Account Lockout Behavior
Starting with vSphere 6.0, account locking is supported for access through SSH and through the vSphere
Web Services SDK. The Direct Console Interface (DCUI) and the ESXi Shell do not support account
lockout. By default, a maximum of ten failed attempts is allowed before the account is locked. The
account is unlocked after two minutes by default.
Configuring Login Behavior
You can configure the login behavior for your ESXi host with the following advanced options:
nSecurity.AccountLockFailures. Maximum number of failed login attempts before a user's
account is locked. Zero disables account locking.
nSecurity.AccountUnlockTime. Number of seconds that a user is locked out.
See the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation for information on setting ESXi advanced
options.
Preparing for Installing ESXi
Before you install ESXi, determine the installation option that is suitable for your environment and prepare
for the installation process.
Download the ESXi Installer
Download the installer for ESXi.
Prerequisites
Create a My VMware account at https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/.
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Procedure
1Download the ESXi installer from the VMware Web site at
https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/downloads.
ESXi is listed under Datacenter & Cloud Infrastructure.
2Confirm that the md5sum is correct.
See the VMware Web site topic Using MD5 Checksums at
http://www.vmware.com/download/md5.html.
Options for Installing ESXi
ESXi can be installed in several ways. To ensure the best vSphere deployment, understand the options
thoroughly before beginning the installation.
ESXi installations are designed to accommodate a range of deployment sizes.
Depending on the installation method you choose, different options are available for accessing the
installation media and booting the installer.
Interactive ESXi Installation
Interactive installations are recommended for small deployments of fewer than five hosts.
You boot the installer from a CD or DVD, from a bootable USB device, or by PXE booting the installer
from a location on the network. You follow the prompts in the installation wizard to install ESXi to disk.
See Installing ESXi Interactively.
Scripted ESXi Installation
Running a script is an efficient way to deploy multiple ESXi hosts with an unattended installation.
The installation script contains the host configuration settings. You can use the script to configure multiple
hosts with the same settings. See Installing or Upgrading Hosts by Using a Script.
The installation script must be stored in a location that the host can access by HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, NFS,
CDROM, or USB. You can PXE boot the ESXi installer or boot it from a CD/DVD or USB drive.
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Figure 51. Scripted Installation
Scripted
HTTP
HTTPS
FTP
NFS
CDROM
USB
Create installation script (kickstart file)
and copy to appropriate location.
PXE boot Boot from USB
Issues command to specify
location of installation script
and start installation.
Start installation
Boot from CD
vSphere Auto Deploy ESXi Installation
vSphere 5.x and later provide several ways to install ESXi with vSphere Auto Deploy.
vSphere Auto Deploy can provision hundreds of physical hosts with ESXi software. You can specify the
image to deploy and the hosts to provision with the image. Optionally, you can specify host profiles to
apply to the hosts, a vCenter Server location (datacenter, folder, or cluster), and script bundle for each
host.
vCenter Server makes ESXi updates and patches available for download in the form of an image profile.
The host configuration is provided in the form of a host profile. You can create host profiles by using the
vSphere Web Client. You can create custom image profiles by using vSphere ESXi Image Builder. See
Customizing Installations with vSphere ESXi Image Builder and vSphere Host Profiles.
When you provision hosts by using vSphere Auto Deploy, vCenter Server loads the ESXi image directly
into the host memory. vSphere Auto Deploy does not store the ESXi state on the host disk. The vSphere
Auto Deploy server continues to provision this host every time the host boots.
You can also use vSphere Auto Deploy to install an ESXi host, and set up a host profile that causes the
host to store the ESXi image and configuration on the local disk, a remote disk, or a USB drive.
Subsequently, the ESXi host boots from this local image and vSphere Auto Deploy no longer provisions
the host. This process is similar to performing a scripted installation. With a scripted installation, the script
provisions a host and the host then boots from disk. For this case, vSphere Auto Deploy provisions a host
and the host then boots from disk. For more information, see Using vSphere Auto Deploy for Stateless
Caching and Stateful Installs.
Media Options for Booting the ESXi Installer
The ESXi installer must be accessible to the system on which you are installing ESXi.
The following boot media are supported for the ESXi installer:
nBoot from a CD/DVD. See Download and Burn the ESXi Installer ISO Image to a CD or DVD.
nBoot from a USB flash drive. See Format a USB Flash Drive to Boot the ESXi Installation or Upgrade.
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nPXE boot from the network. PXE Booting the ESXi Installer
nBoot from a remote location using a remote management application. See Using Remote
Management Applications
Download and Burn the ESXi Installer ISO Image to a CD or DVD
If you do not have an ESXi installation CD/DVD, you can create one.
You can also create an installer ISO image that includes a custom installation script. See Create an
Installer ISO Image with a Custom Installation or Upgrade Script.
Procedure
1Download the ESXi installer from the VMware Web site at
https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/downloads.
ESXi is listed under Datacenter & Cloud Infrastructure.
2Confirm that the md5sum is correct.
See the VMware Web site topic Using MD5 Checksums at
http://www.vmware.com/download/md5.html.
3Burn the ISO image to a CD or DVD.
Format a USB Flash Drive to Boot the ESXi Installation or Upgrade
You can format a USB flash drive to boot the ESXi installation or upgrade.
The instructions in this procedure assume that the USB flash drive is detected as /dev/sdb.
Note The ks.cfg file that contains the installation script cannot be located on the same USB flash drive
that you are using to boot the installation or upgrade.
Prerequisites
nLinux machine with superuser access to it
nUSB flash drive that can be detected by the Linux machine
nThe ESXi ISO image, VMware-VMvisor-Installer-version_number-
build_number.x86_64.iso, which includes the isolinux.cfg file
nSyslinux package
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Procedure
1If your USB flash drive is not detected as /dev/sdb, or you are not sure how your USB flash drive is
detected, determine how it is detected.
a At the command line, run the command for displaying the current log messages.
tail -f /var/log/messages
b Plug in your USB flash drive.
You see several messages that identify the USB flash drive in a format similar to the following
message.
Oct 25 13:25:23 ubuntu kernel: [ 712.447080] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk
In this example, sdb identifies the USB device. If your device is identified differently, use that
identification, in place of sdb.
2Create a partition table on the USB flash device.
/sbin/fdisk /dev/sdb
a Enter d to delete partitions until they are all deleted.
b Enter n to create a primary partition 1 that extends over the entire disk.
c Enter t to set the type to an appropriate setting for the FAT32 file system, such as c.
d Enter a to set the active flag on partition 1.
e Enter p to print the partition table.
The result should be similar to the following message.
Disk /dev/sdb: 2004 MB, 2004877312 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 243 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdb1 1 243 1951866 c W95 FAT32 (LBA)
f Enter w to write the partition table and exit the program.
3Format the USB flash drive with the Fat32 file system.
/sbin/mkfs.vfat -F 32 -n USB /dev/sdb1
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4Install the Syslinux bootloader on the USB flash drive.
The locations of the Syslinux executable file and the mbr.bin file might vary for the different Syslinux
versions. For example, if you downloaded Syslinux 6.02, run the following commands.
/usr/bin/syslinux /dev/sdb1
cat /usr/lib/syslinux/mbr/mbr.bin > /dev/sdb
5Create a destination directory and mount the USB flash drive to it.
mkdir /usbdisk
mount /dev/sdb1 /usbdisk
6Create a destination directory and mount the ESXi installer ISO image to it.
mkdir /esxi_cdrom
mount -o loop VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.x.x-XXXXXX.x86_64.iso /esxi_cdrom
7Copy the contents of the ISO image to the USB flash drive.
cp -r /esxi_cdrom/* /usbdisk
8Rename the isolinux.cfg file to syslinux.cfg.
mv /usbdisk/isolinux.cfg /usbdisk/syslinux.cfg
9In the /usbdisk/syslinux.cfg file, edit the APPEND -c boot.cfg line to APPEND -c boot.cfg -p
1.
10 Unmount the USB flash drive.
umount /usbdisk
11 Unmount the installer ISO image.
umount /esxi_cdrom
The USB flash drive can boot the ESXi installer.
Create a USB Flash Drive to Store the ESXi Installation Script or Upgrade
Script
You can use a USB flash drive to store the ESXi installation script or upgrade script that is used during
scripted installation or upgrade of ESXi.
When multiple USB flash drives are present on the installation machine, the installation software
searches for the installation or upgrade script on all attached USB flash drives.
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The instructions in this procedure assume that the USB flash drive is detected as /dev/sdb.
Note Do not store the ks file containing the installation or upgrade script on the same USB flash drive
that you are using to boot the installation or upgrade.
Prerequisites
nLinux machine
nESXi installation or upgrade script, the ks.cfg kickstart file
nUSB flash drive
Procedure
1Attach the USB flash drive to a Linux machine that has access to the installation or upgrade script.
2Create a partition table.
/sbin/fdisk /dev/sdb
a Type d to delete partitions until they are all deleted.
b Type n to create primary partition 1 that extends over the entire disk.
c Type t to set the type to an appropriate setting for the FAT32 file system, such as c.
d Type p to print the partition table.
The result should be similar to the following text:
Disk /dev/sdb: 2004 MB, 2004877312 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 243 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdb1 1 243 1951866 c W95 FAT32 (LBA)
e Type w to write the partition table and quit.
3Format the USB flash drive with the Fat32 file system.
/sbin/mkfs.vfat -F 32 -n USB /dev/sdb1
4Mount the USB flash drive.
mount /dev/sdb1 /usbdisk
5Copy the ESXi installation script to the USB flash drive.
cp ks.cfg /usbdisk
6Unmount the USB flash drive.
The USB flash drive contains the installation or upgrade script for ESXi.
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What to do next
When you boot the ESXi installer, point to the location of the USB flash drive for the installation or
upgrade script. See Enter Boot Options to Start an Installation or Upgrade Script and PXELINUX
Configuration Files.
Create an Installer ISO Image with a Custom Installation or Upgrade Script
You can customize the standard ESXi installer ISO image with your own installation or upgrade script.
This customization enables you to perform a scripted, unattended installation or upgrade when you boot
the resulting installer ISO image.
See also About Installation and Upgrade Scripts and About the boot.cfg File.
Prerequisites
nLinux machine
nThe ESXi ISO image VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.x.x-XXXXXX.x86_64.iso,where 6.x.x is the
version of ESXi you are installing, and XXXXXX is the build number of the installer ISO image
nYour custom installation or upgrade script, the ks_cust.cfg kickstart file
Procedure
1Download the ESXi ISO image from the VMware Web site.
2Mount the ISO image in a folder:
mount -o loop VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.x.x-XXXXXX.x86_64.iso /esxi_cdrom_mount
XXXXXX is the ESXi build number for the version that you are installing or upgrading to.
3Copy the contents of cdrom to another folder:
cp -r /esxi_cdrom_mount /esxi_cdrom
4Copy the kickstart file to /esxi_cdrom.
cp ks_cust.cfg /esxi_cdrom
5(Optional) Modify the boot.cfg file to specify the location of the installation or upgrade script by
using the kernelopt option.
You must use uppercase characters to provide the path of the script, for example,
kernelopt=runweasel ks=cdrom:/KS_CUST.CFG
The installation or upgrade becomes completely automatic, without the need to specify the kickstart
file during the installation or upgrade.
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6Recreate the ISO image using the mkisofs or the genisoimage command.
Command Syntax
mkisofs mkisofs -relaxed-filenames -J -R -o custom_esxi.iso -b
isolinux.bin -c boot.cat -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-
info-table -eltorito-alt-boot -eltorito-platform efi -b
efiboot.img -no-emul-boot /esxi_cdrom
genisoimage genisoimage -relaxed-filenames -J -R -o custom_esxi.iso -b
isolinux.bin -c boot.cat -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-
info-table -eltorito-alt-boot -e efiboot.img -no-emul-
boot /esxi_cdrom
You can use this ISO image for regular boot or UEFI secure boot.
The ISO image includes your custom installation or upgrade script.
What to do next
Install ESXi from the ISO image.
PXE Booting the ESXi Installer
You can use the preboot execution environment (PXE) to boot a host. Starting with vSphere 6.0, you can
PXE boot the ESXi installer from a network interface on hosts with legacy BIOS or using UEFI.
ESXi is distributed in an ISO format that is designed to install to flash memory or to a local hard drive. You
can extract the files and boot by using PXE.
PXE uses Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) to boot
an operating system over a network.
PXE booting requires some network infrastructure and a machine with a PXE-capable network adapter.
Most machines that can run ESXi have network adapters that can PXE boot.
Note PXE booting with legacy BIOS firmware is possible only over IPv4. PXE booting with UEFI
firmware is possible with either IPv4 or IPv6.
Sample DHCP Configurations
To PXE boot the ESXi installer, the DHCP server must send the address of the TFTP server and the
filename of the initial boot loader to the ESXi host.
When the target machine first boots, it broadcasts a packet across the network requesting information to
boot itself. The DHCP server responds. The DHCP server must be able to determine whether the target
machine is allowed to boot and the location of the initial boot loader binary, typically a file on a TFTP
server.
Caution Do not set up a second DHCP server if your network already has one. If multiple DHCP servers
respond to DHCP requests, machines can obtain incorrect or conflicting IP addresses, or can fail to
receive the proper boot information. Talk to a network administrator before setting up a DHCP server. For
support on configuring DHCP, contact your DHCP server vendor.
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Many DHCP servers can PXE boot hosts. If you are using a version of DHCP for Microsoft Windows, see
the DHCP server documentation to determine how to pass the next-server and filename arguments to
the target machine.
Example of Booting Using TFTP with IPv4
This example shows how to configure an ISC DHCP server to boot ESXi using a TFTP server at IPv4
address xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx.
#
# ISC DHCP server configuration file snippet. This is not a complete
# configuration file; see the ISC server documentation for details on
# how to configure the DHCP server.
#
allow booting;
allow bootp;
option client-system-arch code 93 = unsigned integer 16;
class "pxeclients" {
match if substring(option vendor-class-identifier, 0, 9) = "PXEClient";
next-server xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx;
if option client-system-arch = 00:07 or option client-system-arch = 00:09 {
filename = "mboot.efi";
} else {
filename = "pxelinux.0";
}
}
When a machine attempts to PXE boot, the DHCP server provides an IP address and the location of the
pxelinux.0 or mboot.efi binary file on the TFTP server.
Example of Booting Using TFTP with IPv6
This example shows how to configure an ISC DHCPv6 server to boot ESXi using a TFTP server at IPv6
address xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx::xxxx.
#
# ISC DHCPv6 server configuration file snippet. This is not a complete
# configuration file; see the ISC server documentation for details on
# how to configure the DHCP server.
#
allow booting;
allow bootp;
option dhcp6.bootfile-url code 59 = string;
option dhcp6.bootfile-url "tftp://[xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx::xxxx]/mboot.efi";
When a machine attempts to PXE boot, the DHCP server provides an IP address and the location of the
mboot.efi binary file on the TFTP server.
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Example of Booting Using HTTP with IPv4
This example shows how to configure an ISC DHCP server to boot ESXi using a Web server at IPv4
address xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx. The example uses gPXELINUX for legacy BIOS hosts and iPXE for UEFI hosts.
#
# ISC DHCPv6 server configuration file snippet. This is not a complete
# configuration file; see the ISC server documentation for details on
# how to configure the DHCP server.
#
allow booting;
allow bootp;
option client-system-arch code 93 = unsigned integer 16;
class "pxeclients" {
match if substring(option vendor-class-identifier, 0, 9) = "PXEClient";
next-server xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx;
if option client-system-arch = 00:07 or option client-system-arch = 00:09 {
if exists user-class and option user-class = "iPXE" {
# Instruct iPXE to load mboot.efi as secondary bootloader
filename = "mboot.efi";
} else {
# Load the snponly.efi configuration of iPXE as initial bootloader
filename = "snponly.efi";
}
} else {
filename "gpxelinux.0";
}
}
When a machine attempts to PXE boot, the DHCP server provides an IP address and the location of the
gpxelinux.0 or snponly.efi binary file on the TFTP server. In the UEFI case, iPXE then asks the
DHCP server for the next file to load, and this time the server returns mboot.efi as the filename.
Example of Booting Using HTTP with IPv6
This example shows how to configure an ISC DHCPv6 server to boot ESXi using a TFTP server at IPv6
address xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx::xxxx.
#
# ISC DHCPv6 server configuration file snippet. This is not a complete
# configuration file; see the ISC server documentation for details on
# how to configure the DHCP server.
#
allow booting;
allow bootp;
option dhcp6.bootfile-url code 59 = string;
if exists user-class and option user-class = "iPXE" {
# Instruct iPXE to load mboot.efi as secondary bootloader
option dhcp6.bootfile-url "tftp://[xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx::xxxx]/mboot.efi";
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} else {
# Load the snponly.efi configuration of iPXE as initial bootloader
option dhcp6.bootfile-url "tftp://[xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx::xxxx]/snponly.efi";
}
When a machine attempts to PXE boot, the DHCP server provides an IP address and the location of the
snponly.efi (iPXE) binary file on the TFTP server. iPXE then asks the DHCP server for the next file to
load, and this time the server returns mboot.efi as the filename.
PXELINUX Configuration Files
You need a PXELINUX configuration file to boot the ESXi installer on a legacy BIOS system. The
configuration file defines the menu displayed to the target ESXi host as it boots up and contacts the TFTP
server for all SYSLINUX configurations, including PXELINUX and gPXELINUX.
This section gives general information about PXELINUX configuration files. For examples, see Sample
DHCP Configurations.
For syntax details, see the SYSLINUX web site at http://www.syslinux.org/.
Required Files
In the PXE configuration file, you must include paths to the following files:
nmboot.c32 is the boot loader.
nboot.cfg is the boot loader configuration file.
See About the boot.cfg File
File Name for the PXE Configuration File
For the file name of the PXE configuration file, select one of the following options:
n01-mac_address_of_target_ESXi_host. For example, 01-23-45-67-89-0a-bc
nThe target ESXi host IP address in hexadecimal notation.
ndefault
The initial boot file, pxelinux.0 or gpxelinux.0, tries to load a PXE configuration file in the following
order:
1 It tries with the MAC address of the target ESXi host, prefixed with its ARP type code, which is 01 for
Ethernet.
2 If that attempt fails, it tries with the hexadecimal notation of target ESXi system IP address.
3 Ultimately, it tries to load a file named default.
File Location for the PXE Configuration File
Save the file in /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/ on the TFTP server.
For example, you might save the file on the TFTP server at /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/01-00-21-5a-
ce-40-f6. The MAC address of the network adapter on the target ESXi host is 00-21-5a-ce-40-f6.
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PXE Boot Background Information
Understanding the PXE boot process can help you during troubleshooting.
TFTP Server
Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) is similar to the FTP service, and is typically used only for network
booting systems or loading firmware on network devices such as routers. TFTP is available on Linux and
Windows.
nMost Linux distributions include a copy of the tftp-hpa server. If you require a supported solution,
purchase a supported TFTP server from your vendor of choice. You can also acquire a TFTP server
from one of the packaged appliances on the VMware Marketplace.
nIf your TFTP server will run on a Microsoft Windows host, use tftpd32 version 2.11 or later. See
http://tftpd32.jounin.net/.
SYSLINUX, PXELINUX, and gPXELINUX
If you are using PXE in a legacy BIOS environment, you need to understand the different boot
environments.
nSYSLINUX is an open source boot environment for machines that run legacy BIOS firmware. The
ESXi boot loader for BIOS systems, mbootc.32, runs as a SYSLINUX plugin. You can configure
SYSLINUX to boot from several types of media, including disk, ISO image, and network. You can find
the SYSLINUX package at http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/.
nPXELINUX is a SYSXLINUX configuration for booting from a TFTP server according to the PXE
standard. If you use PXELINUX to boot the ESXi installer, the pxelinux.0 binary file, mboot.c32,
the configuration file, the kernel, and other files are all transferred by TFTP.
ngPXELINUX is a hybrid configuration that includes both PXELINUX and gPXE and supports booting
from a Web server. gPXELINUX is part of the SYSLINUX package. If you use gPXELINUX to boot the
ESXi installer, only the gpxelinux.0 binary file, mboot.c32, and the configuration file are transferred
via TFTP. The remaining files are transferred via HTTP. HTTP is typically faster and more reliable
than TFTP, especially for transferring large amounts of data on a heavily loaded network.
Note VMware currently builds the mboot.c32 plugin to work with SYSLINUX version 3.86 and tests PXE
booting only with that version. Other versions are likely to be incompatible. This is not a statement of
limited support. For support of third-party agents that you use to set up your PXE booting infrastructure,
contact the vendor.
UEFI PXE and iPXE
Most UEFI firmware natively includes PXE support that allows booting from a TFTP server. The firmware
can directly load the ESXi boot loader for UEFI systems, mboot.efi. Additional software such as
PXELINUX is not required.
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iPXE can also be useful for UEFI systems that do not include PXE in firmware and for older UEFI systems
with bugs in their PXE support. For such cases you can try installing iPXE on a USB flash drive and
booting from there.
Note Apple Macintosh products do not include PXE boot support. They include support for network
booting via an Apple-specific protocol instead.
Alternative Approaches to PXE Booting
Alternative approaches to PXE booting different software on different hosts are also possible, for
example:
nConfiguring the DHCP server to provide different initial boot loader filenames to different hosts
depending on MAC address or other criteria. See your DCHP server's documentation.
nApproaches using iPXE as the initial bootloader with an iPXE configuration file that selects the next
bootloader based on the MAC address or other criteria.
Installing and Booting ESXi with Software FCoE
You can install and boot ESXi from an FCoE LUN using VMware software FCoE adapters and network
adapters with FCoE offload capabilities. Your host does not require a dedicated FCoE HBA.
See the vSphere Storage documentation for information about installing and booting ESXi with software
FCoE.
Using Remote Management Applications
Remote management applications allow you to install ESXi on servers that are in remote locations.
Remote management applications supported for installation include HP Integrated Lights-Out (iLO), Dell
Remote Access Card (DRAC), IBM management module (MM), and Remote Supervisor Adapter II (RSA
II). For a list of currently supported server models and remote management firmware versions, see
Supported Remote Management Server Models and Firmware Versions. For support on remote
management applications, contact the vendor.
You can use remote management applications to do both interactive and scripted installations of ESXi
remotely.
If you use remote management applications to install ESXi, the virtual CD might encounter corruption
problems with systems or networks operating at peak capacity. If a remote installation from an ISO image
fails, complete the installation from the physical CD media.
Customizing Installations with vSphere ESXi Image Builder
You can use VMware vSphere® ESXi™ Image Builder CLI to create ESXi installation images with a
customized set of updates, patches, and drivers.
You can use vSphere ESXi Image Builder with the vSphere Web Client or with PowerCLI to create an
ESXi installation image with a customized set of ESXi updates and patches. You can also include third-
party network or storage drivers that are released between vSphere releases.
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You can deploy an ESXi image created with vSphere ESXi Image Builder in either of the following ways:
nBy burning it to an installation DVD.
nThrough vCenter Server, using the Auto Deploy feature.
Understanding vSphere ESXi Image Builder
You can use the VMware vSphere® ESXi™ Image Builder CLI to manage software depots, image
profiles, and software packages (VIBs). Image profiles and VIBs specify the software you want to use
during installation or upgrade of an ESXi host.
vSphere ESXi Image Builder Overview
vSphere ESXi Image Builder lets you manage vSphere image profiles and VIBs.
VIBs are software packages, and image profiles contain a set of software packages. See Software
Depots and Their Components.
Figure 52. Image Builder Architecture
esxcli
ISO
ZIP
Depot
Image
Profile
1
Image
Profile
2
VIBVIB
Windows Client
Image Builder
PowerCLI User-Created
Image Profile
vSphere
Auto Deploy
vSphere
Update Manager
You use vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets for managing the software to deploy to your ESXi hosts in
several different situations.
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Table 57. Cases Where You Can Use vSphere ESXi Image Builder
Use Case for vSphere ESXi Image Builder Description
Create image profiles for use by vSphere Auto Deploy Use vSphere ESXi Image Builder to create an image profile that
defines the VIBs that vSphere Auto Deploy uses to provision
hosts.
Add custom third-party drivers to existing image profile and
export to ISO or bundle
When you add third-party driver or extension custom VIBs to
your ESXi hosts, use vSphere ESXi Image Builder to clone the
base image provided by VMware, add the custom VIBs, and
export to ISO or to offline bundle ZIP file.
Perform upgrades If you upgrade from a 4.0 or 4.1 system that includes custom
extensions or drivers, you can use vSphere ESXi Image Builder
to create an image profile that includes the vSphere 5 base VIB.
You can create vSphere 5 VIBs for the custom extensions and
add those VIBs to the base VIB. Export the custom image profile
to an ISO you can install or to a ZIP that you can use with
vSphere Update Manager.
Create custom images with reduced footprint If you require a minimal footprint image, you can clone the ESXi
base image profile and remove VIBs using vSphere ESXi Image
Builder.
The vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets take image profiles and VIBs as input and produce various
outputs.
Table 58. Input and Output to the vSphere ESXi Image Builder Cmdlets
Parameter Description
Input Image profiles and VIBs that are located in a software depot are
used as input to PowerCLI cmdlets running on a Windows client.
Output PowerCLI cmdlets create custom image profiles that can be
exported to an ISO image or an offline depot ZIP file. ISO
images are used for installation. The ZIP depot can be used by
Update Manager or by esxcli software commands to update
or install images. Image profiles are also used in vSphere Auto
Deploy rules to customize the software to provision ESXi hosts
with.
Watch the video "Using Image Builder CLI" for information about vSphere ESXi Image Builder:
Using Image Builder CLI (http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid2296383276001?
bctid=ref:video_using_image_builder_cli)
Software Depots and Their Components
Understanding how depots, profiles, and VIBs are structured and where you can use them is a
prerequisite for in-memory installation of a custom ESXi ISO, for provisioning ESXi hosts using vSphere
Auto Deploy, and for certain custom upgrade operations.
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The following technical terms are used throughout the vSphere documentation set in discussions of
installation and upgrade tasks.
VIB A VIB is an ESXi software package. VMware and its partners package
solutions, drivers, CIM providers, and applications that extend the ESXi
platform as VIBs. VIBs are available in software depots. You can use VIBs
to create and customize ISO images or to upgrade ESXi hosts by installing
VIBs asynchronously onto the hosts.
See SoftwarePackage Object Properties.
Image Profile An image profile defines an ESXi image and consists of VIBs. An image
profile always includes a base VIB, and might include more VIBs. You
examine and define an image profile by using vSphere ESXi Image Builder.
See ImageProfile Object Properties.
Software Depot A software depot is a collection of VIBs and image profiles. The software
depot is a hierarchy of files and folders and can be available through an
HTTP URL (online depot) or a ZIP file (offline depot). VMware and VMware
partners make depots available. Companies with large VMware
installations might create internal depots to provision ESXi hosts with
vSphere Auto Deploy, or to export an ISO for ESXi installation.
vSphere ESXi Image Builder Cmdlets Overview
vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets allow you to manage image profiles and VIBs.
vSphere ESXi Image Builder includes the following cmdlets.
Note When you run vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets, provide all parameters on the command line
when you invoke the cmdlet. Supplying parameters in interactive mode is not recommended.
Run Get-Help cmdlet_name at the PowerCLI prompt for detailed reference information.
Table 59. vSphere ESXi Image Builder Cmdlets
Cmdlet Description
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot Adds the software depot or ZIP file at the specified location to your current environment. Downloads
metadata from the depot and analyzes VIBs for dependencies.
Remove-EsxSoftwareDepot Disconnects from the specified software depot.
Get-EsxSoftwareDepot Returns a list of software depots that are in the current environment. If you want to examine and
manage image profiles and VIBs, you must first add the corresponding software depot to your
environment.
Get-EsxSoftwarePackage Returns a list of software package objects (VIBs). Use this cmdlet's options to filter the results.
Get-EsxImageProfile Returns an array of ImageProfile objects from all currently added depots.
New-EsxImageProfile Creates a new image profile. In most cases, creating a new profile by cloning an existing profile is
recommended. See Clone an Image Profile.
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Table 59. vSphere ESXi Image Builder Cmdlets (Continued)
Cmdlet Description
Set-EsxImageProfile Modifies a local ImageProfile object and performs validation tests on the modified profile. The
cmdlet returns the modified object but does not persist it.
Export-EsxImageProfile Exports an image profile as either an ESXi ISO image for ESXi installation, or as a ZIP file.
Compare-EsxImageProfile Returns an ImageProfileDiff structure that shows whether the two profiles have the same VIB
list and acceptance level. See Acceptance Levels.
Remove-EsxImageProfile Removes the image profile from the software depot.
Add-EsxSoftwarePackage Adds one or more new packages (VIBs) to an existing image profile.
Remove-
EsxSoftwarePackage
Removes one or more packages (VIBs) from an image profile.
Image Profiles
Image profiles define the set of VIBs that an ESXi installation or update process uses. Image profiles
apply to hosts provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy and to other ESXi 5.x hosts. You define and
manipulate image profiles with vSphere ESXi Image Builder.
Image Profile Requirements
You can create a custom image profile from scratch or clone an existing profile and add or remove VIBs.
A profile must meet the following requirements to be valid.
nEach image profile must have a unique name and vendor combination.
nEach image profile has an acceptance level. When you add a VIB to an image profile with an vSphere
ESXi Image Builder cmdlet, Image Builder checks that the VIB matches the acceptance level defined
for the profile.
nYou cannot remove VIBs that are required by other VIBs.
nYou cannot include two versions of the same VIB in an image profile. When you add a new version of
a VIB, the new version replaces the existing version of the VIB.
Image Profile Validation
An image profile and its VIBs must meet several criteria to be valid.
nImage profiles must contain at least one base VIB and one bootable kernel module.
nIf any VIB in the image profile depends on another VIB, that other VIB must also be included in the
image profile. VIB creators store that information in the SoftwarePackage object's Depends property.
nVIBs must not conflict with each other. VIB creators store conflict information in the SoftwarePackage
object's Conflicts property.
nTwo VIBs with the same name, but two different versions, cannot coexist. When you add a new
version of a VIB, the new version replaces the existing version of the VIB.
nNo acceptance level validation issues exist.
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When you make a change to an image profile, vSphere ESXi Image Builder checks that the change does
not invalidate the profile.
Dependency Validation When you add or remove a VIB, vSphere ESXi Image Builder checks that
package dependencies are met. Each SoftwarePackage object includes a
Depends property that specifies a list of other VIBs that VIB depends on.
See Structure of ImageProfile, SoftwarePackage, and ImageProfileDiff
Objects
Acceptance Level
Validation
vSphere ESXi Image Builder performs acceptance level validation each
time an image profile is created or changed. vSphere ESXi Image Builder
checks the acceptance level of VIBs in the image profile against the
minimum allowed acceptance level of the profile. The acceptance level of
the VIB is also validated each time the signature of a VIB is validated.
VIB Validation During Export
When you export an image profile to an ISO, vSphere ESXi Image Builder validates each VIB by
performing the following actions.
nChecks that no conflicts exist by checking the Conflicts property of each SoftwarePackage object.
nPerforms VIB signature validation. Signature validation prevents unauthorized modification of VIB
packages. The signature is a cryptographic checksum that guarantees that a VIB was produced by its
author. Signature validation also happens during installation of VIBs on an ESXi host and when the
vSphere Auto Deploy server uses VIBs.
nChecks that VIBs follow file path usage rules. VMware tests VMwareCertified and VMwareAccepted
VIBs to guarantee those VIBs always follow file path usage rules.
Acceptance Levels
Each VIB is released with an acceptance level that cannot be changed. The host acceptance level
determines which VIBs can be installed to a host. You can change the host acceptance levels with
esxcli commands.
VMware supports the following acceptance levels.
VMwareCertified The VMwareCertified acceptance level has the most stringent
requirements. VIBs with this level go through thorough testing fully
equivalent to VMware in-house Quality Assurance testing for the same
technology. Today, only I/O Vendor Program (IOVP) program drivers are
published at this level. VMware takes support calls for VIBs with this
acceptance level.
VMwareAccepted VIBs with this acceptance level go through verification testing, but the tests
do not fully test every function of the software. The partner runs the tests
and VMware verifies the result. Today, CIM providers and PSA plug-ins are
among the VIBs published at this level. VMware directs support calls for
VIBs with this acceptance level to the partner's support organization.
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PartnerSupported VIBs with the PartnerSupported acceptance level are published by a
partner that VMware trusts. The partner performs all testing. VMware does
not verify the results. This level is used for a new or nonmainstream
technology that partners want to enable for VMware systems. Today, driver
VIB technologies such as Infiniband, ATAoE, and SSD are at this level with
nonstandard hardware drivers. VMware directs support calls for VIBs with
this acceptance level to the partner's support organization.
CommunitySupported The CommunitySupported acceptance level is for VIBs created by
individuals or companies outside of VMware partner programs. VIBs at this
level have not gone through any VMware-approved testing program and
are not supported by VMware Technical Support or by a VMware partner.
Structure of ImageProfile, SoftwarePackage, and ImageProfileDi Objects
Knowing the structure of ImageProfile, SoftwarePackage, and ImageProfileDiff objects helps you
manage deployment and upgrade processes.
ImageProfile Object Properties
The ImageProfile object, which is accessible with the Get-EsxImageProfile PowerCLI cmdlet, has
the following properties.
Name Type Description
AcceptanceLevel AcceptanceLevel Determines which VIBs you can add to the
profile. Levels are VMwareCertified,
VMwareAccepted, PartnerSupported, and
CommunitySupported. See Acceptance
Levels.
Author System.String The person who created the profile. 60
characters or fewer.
CreationTime System.DateTime The timestamp of creation time.
Description System.String The full text description of profile. No
length limit.
GUID System.String Globally unique ID of the image profile.
ModifiedTime System.DateTime The timestamp of last modification time.
Name System.String The name of the image profile. 80
characters or fewer.
ReadOnly System.Boolean When set to true, the profile cannot be
edited. Use Set-EsxImageProfile -
Readonly to make your custom image
profiles read-only.
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Name Type Description
Rules ImageProfileRule[] Any OEM hardware requirements and
restrictions that the image profile might
have. vSphere Auto Deploy verifies the
value of this property when deploying an
image profile and deploys the profile if
matching hardware is available.
Vendor System.String The organization that publishes the profile.
40 characters or fewer.
VibList SoftwarePackage[] The list of VIB IDs the image contains.
SoftwarePackage Object Properties
When preparing an image profile, you can examine software packages to decide which packages are
suitable for inclusion. The SoftwarePackage object has the following properties.
Name Type Description
AcceptanceLevel AcceptanceLevel The acceptance level of this VIB.
Conflicts SoftwareConstraint[] A list of VIBs that cannot be installed at
the same time as this VIB. Each constraint
uses the following format:
package-name[<<|<=|=|>=|<<
version]
Depends SoftwareConstraint[] A list of VIBs that must be installed at the
same time as this VIB. Same constraint
format as Conflicts property.
Description System.String The long description of the VIB.
Guid System.String The unique ID for the VIB.
LiveInstallOk System.Boolean True if live installs of this VIB are
supported.
LiveRemoveOk System.Boolean True if live removals of this VIB are
supported.
MaintenanceMode System.Boolean True if hosts must be in maintenance
mode for installation of this VIB.
Name System.String The name of the VIB. Usually uniquely
describes the package on a running ESXi
system.
Provides SoftwareProvides The list of virtual packages or interfaces
this VIB provides. See SoftwareProvide
Object Properties.
ReferenceURLs SupportReference[] The list of SupportReference objects
with in-depth support information. The
SupportReference object has two
properties, Title and URL, both of type
System.String.
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Name Type Description
Replaces SoftwareConstraint[] The list of SoftwareConstraint objects
that identify VIBs that replace this VIB or
make it obsolete. VIBs automatically
replace VIBs with the same name but
lower versions.
ReleaseDate System.DateTime Date and time of VIB publication or
release.
SourceUrls System.String[] The list of source URLs from which this
VIB can be downloaded.
StatelessReady System.Boolean True if the package supports host profiles
or other technologies that make it suitable
for use in conjunction with vSphere Auto
Deploy.
Summary System.String A one-line summary of the VIB.
Tags System.String[] An array of string tags for this package
defined by the vendor or publisher. Tags
can be used to identify characteristics of a
package.
Vendor System.String The VIB vendor or publisher.
Version System.String The VIB version.
VersionObject Software.Version The VersionObject property is of type
SoftwareVersion. The
SoftwareVersion class implements a
static Compare method to compare two
versions of strings. See SoftwareVersion
Object Properties
ImageProfileDi Object Properties
When you run the Compare-EsxImageProfile cmdlet, you pass in two parameters, first the reference
profile, and then the comparison profile. The cmdlet returns an ImageProfileDiff object, which has the
following properties.
Name Type Description
CompAcceptanceLevel System.String The acceptance level for the second
profile that you passed to Compare-
EsxImageProfile.
DowngradeFromRef System.String[] The list of VIBs in the second profile that
are downgrades from VIBs in the first
profile.
Equal System.Boolean True if the two image profiles have
identical packages and acceptance levels.
OnlyInComp System.String The list of VIBs found only in the second
profile that you passed to Compare-
EsxImageProfile.
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Name Type Description
OnlyInRef System.String[] The list of VIBs found only in the first
profile that you passed to Compare-
EsxImageProfile.
PackagesEqual System.Boolean True if the image profiles have identical
sets of VIB packages.
RefAcceptanceLevel System.String The acceptance level for the first profile
that you passed to Compare-
EsxImageProfile.
UpgradeFromRef System.String[] The list of VIBs in the second profile that
are upgrades from VIBs in the first profile.
SoftwareVersion Object Properties
The SoftwareVersion object lets you compare two version strings. The object includes a Comparestatic
method that accepts two strings as input and returns 1 if the first version string is a higher number than
the second version string. Compare returns 0 if two versions strings are equal. Compare returns -1 if the
second version string is a higher number than the first string. The object has the following properties.
Name Type Description
Version System.String The part of the version before the hyphen.
This part indicates the primary version.
Release System.String The part of the version after the hyphen.
This part indicates the release version.
SoftwareConstraint Object Properties
The SoftwareConstraint object implements a MatchesProvide method. The method accepts a
SoftwareProvides or SoftwarePackage object as input and returns True if the constraint matches the
SoftwareProvide or the SoftwarePackage, or returns False otherwise.
The SoftwareConstraint object includes the following properties.
Name Type Description
Name System.String The name of the constraint. This name
should match a corresponding
SoftwareProvide Name property.
Relation System.String An enum, or one of the following
comparison indicators: <<, <=, = >=, >>.
This property can be $null if the constraint
does not have a Relation and Version
property.
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Name Type Description
Version System.String The version to match the constraint
against. This property can be $null if the
constraint does not have a Relation and
Version property.
VersionObject SoftwareVersion The version represented by a
SoftwareVersion object.
SoftwareProvide Object Properties
The SoftwareProvide object includes the following properties.
Name Type Description
Name System.String The name of the provide.
Version System.String The version of the provide. Can be $null if
the provide does not specify a version.
Release System.String The version of the provide as represented
by a SoftwareVersion object. See
SoftwareVersion Object Properties.
vSphere ESXi Image Builder Installation and Usage
vSphere ESXi Image Builder consists of the vSphere ESXi Image Builder server and the vSphere ESXi
Image Builder PowerShell cmdlets. The vSphere ESXi Image Builder server starts when your run the first
vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlet.
Install vSphere ESXi Image Builder and Prerequisite Software
Before you can run vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets, you must install PowerCLI and all prerequisite
software. The vSphere ESXi Image Builder snap-in is included with the PowerCLI installation.
Prerequisites
If you want to manage vSphere ESXi Image Builder with PowerCLI cmdlets, verify that Microsoft .NET
Framework 4.5 or 4.5.x and Windows PowerShell 3.0 or 4.0 are installed on a Microsoft Windows system.
You can install PowerCLI on the Windows system on which vCenter Server is installed or on a different
Windows system. See the vSphere PowerCLI User's Guide.
Procedure
1Download the latest version of PowerCLI from the VMware Web site.
2Navigate to the folder that contains the PowerCLI file you downloaded and double-click the
executable file.
If the installation wizard detects an earlier version of PowerCLI on your system, it will attempt to
upgrade your existing installation
3Follow the prompts in the wizard to complete the installation.
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What to do next
Review Using vSphere ESXi Image Builder Cmdlets.If you are new to PowerCLI, read the PowerCLI
documentation.
Use vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets and other PowerCLI cmdlets and PowerShell cmdlets to
manage image profiles and VIBs. Use Get-Help cmdlet_name at any time for command-line help.
Configure the vSphere ESXi Image Builder Service Startup Type
Before you can use vSphere ESXi Image Builder with the vSphere Web Client, you must verify that the
service is enabled and running.
Procedure
1Log in to your vCenter Server system by using the vSphere Web Client.
2On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Administration.
3Under System Configuration click Services.
4Select ImageBuilder Service, click the Actions menu, and select Edit Startup Type.
nOn Windows, the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service is disabled. In the Edit Startup Type
window, select Manual or Automatic to enable Auto Deploy.
nOn the vCenter Server Appliance, the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service by default is set to
Manual. If you want the service to start automatically upon OS startup, select Automatic.
If you select the manual startup type, you must start the service manually upon OS startup every time
you want to use the service.
5(Optional) Click the Start the service icon.
6(Optional) If you want to use vSphere ESXi Image Builder with thevSphere Web Client, log out of the
vSphere Web Client and log in again.
The Auto Deploy icon is visible on the Home page of the vSphere Web Client.
What to do next
nAdd a Software Depot.
nImport a Software Depot.
nClone an Image Profile.
nCreate an Image Profile.
Using vSphere ESXi Image Builder Cmdlets
vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets are implemented as Microsoft PowerShell cmdlets and included in
PowerCLI. Users of vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets can take advantage of all PowerCLI features.
Experienced PowerShell users can use vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets just like other PowerShell
cmdlets. If you are new to PowerShell and PowerCLI, follow these tips.
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You can type cmdlets, parameters, and parameter values in the PowerCLI shell.
nGet help for any cmdlet by running Get-Help cmdlet_name.
nRemember that PowerShell is not case sensitive.
nUse tab completion for cmdlet names and parameter names.
nFormat any variable and cmdlet output by using Format-List or Format-Table or their short forms
fl or ft. See Get-Help Format-List.
nUse wildcards for searching and filtering VIBs and image profiles. All wildcard expressions are
supported.
Passing Parameters by Name
You can pass in parameters by name in most cases and surround parameter values that contain spaces
or special characters with double quotes.
Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile profile42 -SoftwarePackage "partner package 35"
Passing Parameters as Objects
You can pass parameters as objects if you want to do scripting and automation. You can use the
technique with cmdlets that return multiple objects or with cmdlets that return a single object.
1 Bind the output of a cmdlet that returns multiple objects to a variable.
$profs = Get-EsxImageProfile
2 When you run the cmdlet that needs the object as input, access the object by position, with the list
starting with 0.
Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile $profs[4] -SoftwarePackage partner-pkg
The example adds the specified software package to the fifth image profile in the list returned by Get-
EsxImageProfile.
Most of the examples in the vCenter Server Installation and Setup documentation pass in parameters by
name. vSphere ESXi Image Builder Workflows includes examples that pass parameters as objects.
Using vSphere ESXi Image Builder with the vSphere Web Client
You can manage software packages (VIBs), image profiles, and software depots by using the vSphere
ESXi Image Builder service in the vSphere Web Client.
nAdd a Software Depot
Before you can work with software depots and customize image profiles, you must add one or more
software depots to the vSphere ESXi Image Builder inventory. You can add a software depot by
using the vSphere Web Client.
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nImport a Software Depot
If an offline depot is located on your local file system, you can import the ZIP file to the vSphere
ESXi Image Builder inventory by using the vSphere Web Client.
nClone an Image Profile
You can use the vSphere Web Client to clone image profiles. You can clone an image profile when
you want to make small changes to the VIB list in a profile, or if you want to use hosts from different
vendors and want to use the same basic profile, but want to add vendor-specific VIBs.
nCreate an Image Profile
You can create a new image profile by using the vSphere Web Client instead of cloning an existing
one. You might consider creating a new image profile if it differs significantly from the image profiles
in your inventory.
nEdit an Image Profile
You can edit image profiles by using the vSphere Web Client. You can change the name, details and
VIB list of an image profile.
nCompare Image Profiles
You can compare two image profiles by using the vSphere Web Client, for example, to see if they
have the same VIB list, version, or acceptance level.
nMove an Image Profile to a Different Software Depot
You can move image profiles between custom depots by using the vSphere Web Client. You can
move an image profile to a custom depot to edit the image profile.
nExport an Image Profile to ISO or Offline Bundle ZIP
You can export an image profile to an ISO image or a ZIP file by using the vSphere Web Client. You
can use the ISO image as an ESXi installer or to upgrade hosts with vSphere Upgrade Manager.
The ZIP file contains metadata and the VIBs of the image profile. You can use it for ESXi upgrades
or as an offline depot.
Add a Software Depot
Before you can work with software depots and customize image profiles, you must add one or more
software depots to the vSphere ESXi Image Builder inventory. You can add a software depot by using the
vSphere Web Client.
Prerequisites
Verify that the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service is enabled and running. See Configure the vSphere
ESXi Image Builder Service Startup Type.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service.
2On the Software Depots tab, click the Add Software Depot icon.
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3Select the type of depot that you want to create.
Option Action
Online Depot a Enter the name of the depot in the inventory.
b Enter the URL of the online depot.
Custom Depot Enter the name of the depot in the inventory.
4Click OK.
What to do next
nYou can associate an image profile with a new vSphere Auto Deploy rule to provision ESXi hosts.
See Create a Deploy Rule or Clone a Deploy Rule.
nYou can associate an image profile with an ESXi host. See Add a Host to the vSphere Auto Deploy
Inventory.
nEdit the Image Profile Association of a Host.
Import a Software Depot
If an offline depot is located on your local file system, you can import the ZIP file to the vSphere ESXi
Image Builder inventory by using the vSphere Web Client.
Prerequisites
Verify that the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service is enabled and running. See Configure the vSphere
ESXi Image Builder Service Startup Type.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service.
2On the Software Depots tab, click the Import Software Depot icon.
3Enter the name of the software depot in the inventory.
4Click Browse and select a ZIP file from the local system, that contains the software depot you want to
import.
5Click Upload.
What to do next
nYou can associate an image profile with a new vSphere Auto Deploy rule to provision ESXi hosts.
See Create a Deploy Rule or Clone a Deploy Rule.
nYou can associate an image profile with an ESXi host. See Add a Host to the vSphere Auto Deploy
Inventory.
nEdit the Image Profile Association of a Host.
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Clone an Image Profile
You can use the vSphere Web Client to clone image profiles. You can clone an image profile when you
want to make small changes to the VIB list in a profile, or if you want to use hosts from different vendors
and want to use the same basic profile, but want to add vendor-specific VIBs.
The acceptance level of the VIBs you add to the base image must be at least as high as the level of the
base image. If you add a VIB with a lower acceptance level to the image profile, you must lower the
image profile acceptance level. For more information, see Working with Acceptance Levels.
Prerequisites
nVerify that the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service is enabled and running. See Configure the
vSphere ESXi Image Builder Service Startup Type.
nAdd or import a software depot to the vSphere ESXi Image Builder inventory. See Add a Software
Depot and Import a Software Depot.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service.
2On the Software Depots tab, select the software depot that contains the image profile that you want
to work with.
3From the list of image profiles in the depot, select the image profile that you want to clone and click
Clone.
4Enter an image profile name, vendor, and description.
You must enter a unique image profile name.
5From the Software depot drop-down list, select in which custom depot to add the new image profile
and click Next.
6(Optional) From the drop-down list, select an acceptance level for the image profile.
7From the Available tab, select the VIBs that you want to add to the image profile and deselect the
ones that you want to remove.
You can view the VIBs that will be added to the image profile from the Selected tab. You can filter the
VIBs by software depot from the Software depot drop-down list on the Available tab.
Note The image profile must contain a bootable ESXi image to be valid.
8Click Next.
vSphere ESXi Image Builder verifies that the change does not invalidate the profile. Some VIBs
depend on other VIBs and become invalid if you include them in an image profile separately. When
you add or remove a VIB, vSphere ESXi Image Builder checks whether the package dependencies
are met.
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9On the Ready to complete page, review the summary information for the new image profile and click
Finish.
What to do next
nYou can associate an image profile with a new vSphere Auto Deploy rule to provision ESXi hosts.
See Create a Deploy Rule or Clone a Deploy Rule.
nYou can associate an image profile with an ESXi host. See Add a Host to the vSphere Auto Deploy
Inventory.
nEdit the Image Profile Association of a Host.
Create an Image Profile
You can create a new image profile by using the vSphere Web Client instead of cloning an existing one.
You might consider creating a new image profile if it differs significantly from the image profiles in your
inventory.
The acceptance level of the VIBs you add to the base image must be at least as high as the level of the
base image. If you add a VIB with a lower acceptance level to the image profile, you must lower the
image profile acceptance level. For more information, see Working with Acceptance Levels.
Prerequisites
nVerify that the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service is enabled and running. See Configure the
vSphere ESXi Image Builder Service Startup Type.
nAdd or import a software depot to the vSphere ESXi Image Builder inventory. See Add a Software
Depot and Import a Software Depot.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service.
2On the Software Depots tab, select the custom depot in which you want to create a new image
profile.
3On the Image Profiles tab, click New Image Profile.
4Enter an image profile name, vendor, and description.
You must enter a unique image profile name.
5From the Software depot drop-down list, select in which custom depot to add the new image profile
and click Next.
6(Optional) From the drop-down list, select an acceptance level for the image profile.
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7From the Available tab, select the VIBs that you want to add to the image profile and deselect the
ones that you want to remove.
You can view the VIBs that will be added to the image profile from the Selected tab. You can filter the
VIBs by software depot from the Software depot drop-down list on the Available tab.
Note The image profile must contain a bootable ESXi image to be valid.
8Click Next.
vSphere ESXi Image Builder verifies that the change does not invalidate the profile. Some VIBs are
dependent on others and will not be valid if you include them in an image profile separately. When
you add or remove a VIB, vSphere ESXi Image Builder checks that package dependencies are met.
9On the Ready to complete page, review the summary information for the new image profile and click
Finish.
What to do next
nYou can associate an image profile with a new vSphere Auto Deploy rule to provision ESXi hosts.
See Create a Deploy Rule or Clone a Deploy Rule.
nYou can associate an image profile with an ESXi host. See Add a Host to the vSphere Auto Deploy
Inventory.
nEdit the Image Profile Association of a Host.
Edit an Image Profile
You can edit image profiles by using the vSphere Web Client. You can change the name, details and VIB
list of an image profile.
The acceptance level of the VIBs you add to the base image must be at least as high as the level of the
base image. If you add a VIB with a lower acceptance level to the image profile, you must lower the
image profile acceptance level. For more information, see Working with Acceptance Levels.
Prerequisites
nVerify that the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service is enabled and running. See Configure the
vSphere ESXi Image Builder Service Startup Type.
nAdd or import a software depot to the vSphere ESXi Image Builder inventory. See Add a Software
Depot and Import a Software Depot.
nVerify that there is at least one custom depot in the vSphere ESXi Image Builder inventory.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service.
2On the Software Depots tab, select the software depot that contains the image profile that you want
to work with.
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3On the Image Profiles tab, select the image profile that you want to edit and click Edit.
4(Optional) Change the name, vendor and description information of the image profile.
5Click Next.
6From the Available tab, select the VIBs that you want to add to the image profile and deselect the
ones that you want to remove.
You can view the VIBs that will be added to the image profile from the Selected tab. You can filter the
VIBs by software depot from the Software depot drop-down list on the Available tab.
Note The image profile must contain a bootable ESXi image to be valid.
7Click Next.
vSphere ESXi Image Builder verifies that the change does not invalidate the profile. Some VIBs
depend on other VIBs and become invalid if you include them in an image profile separately. When
you add or remove a VIB, vSphere ESXi Image Builder checks whether the package dependencies
are met.
8On the Ready to complete page, review the summary information for the edited image profile and
click Finish.
What to do next
nYou can associate an image profile with a new vSphere Auto Deploy rule to provision ESXi hosts.
See Create a Deploy Rule or Clone a Deploy Rule.
nYou can associate an image profile with an ESXi host. See Add a Host to the vSphere Auto Deploy
Inventory.
nEdit the Image Profile Association of a Host.
Compare Image Profiles
You can compare two image profiles by using the vSphere Web Client, for example, to see if they have
the same VIB list, version, or acceptance level.
Prerequisites
nVerify that the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service is enabled and running. See Configure the
vSphere ESXi Image Builder Service Startup Type.
nAdd or import a software depot to the vSphere ESXi Image Builder inventory. See Add a Software
Depot and Import a Software Depot.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service.
2On the Software Depots tab, select the software depot that contains the image profile that you want
to work with.
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3On the Image Profiles tab, select the image profile that you want to compare and click Compare To.
4In the Compare Image Profile dialog box, from the Software Depot drop-down menu, select the
software depot that contains the second image profile that you want to compare.
5From the Image Profile drop-down menu, select the second image profile that you want to compare.
6Under Software Packages, on the All tab, view the comparison of the two image profiles.
The left side of the list displays the names, versions, acceptance levels, and vendors of the VIBs that
the first chosen image profile contains. The right part of the list provides information about the second
image profile. The VIBs marked with no change are the same in both profiles. VIBs that are present
in only one of the image profiles are marked missing in the image profile that they are not present in.
Move an Image Profile to a Dierent Software Depot
You can move image profiles between custom depots by using the vSphere Web Client. You can move an
image profile to a custom depot to edit the image profile.
Prerequisites
nVerify that the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service is enabled and running. See Configure the
vSphere ESXi Image Builder Service Startup Type.
nAdd or import a software depot to the vSphere ESXi Image Builder inventory. See Add a Software
Depot and Import a Software Depot.
nVerify that there is at least one custom depot in the vSphere ESXi Image Builder inventory.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service.
2On the Software Depots tab, select the software depot that contains the image profile that you want
to work with.
3On the Image Profiles tab, select an image profile and click Move to.
4From the drop-down list, select the custom depot in which you want to move the image profile.
5Click OK.
Export an Image Profile to ISO or Oine Bundle ZIP
You can export an image profile to an ISO image or a ZIP file by using the vSphere Web Client. You can
use the ISO image as an ESXi installer or to upgrade hosts with vSphere Upgrade Manager. The ZIP file
contains metadata and the VIBs of the image profile. You can use it for ESXi upgrades or as an offline
depot.
Prerequisites
nVerify that the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service is enabled and running. See Configure the
vSphere ESXi Image Builder Service Startup Type.
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nAdd or import a software depot to the vSphere ESXi Image Builder inventory. See Add a Software
Depot and Import a Software Depot.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service.
2On the Software Depots tab, select the software depot that contains the image profile that you want
to work with.
3On the Image Profiles tab, select the image profile that you want to export and click Export Image
Profile.
4Select the type of the exported file.
Option Description
ISO Exports the image profile to a bootable ISO image. If you want to create an ISO
image that you can burn to a CD or DVD and use to boot up a stateless ESXi
instance, select the Do not include an installer on the ISO check box.
ZIP Exports the image profile to a ZIP file.
5(Optional) If you want to bypass the acceptance level verification of the image profile, select Skip
acceptance level checking.
6Click the Generate image button.
7When the image generates successfully, click Download to download the exported file.
8Click Close.
Using vSphere ESXi Image Builder with PowerCLI Cmdlets
The vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets allow you to manipulate software depots, image profiles, and
VIBs.
Clone an Image Profile
Cloning a published profile is the easiest way to create a custom image profile. Cloning a profile is
especially useful if you want to remove a few VIBs from a profile, or if you want to use hosts from different
vendors and want to use the same basic profile, but want to add vendor-specific VIBs. VMware partners
or large installations might consider creating a new profile.
Prerequisites
nInstall the PowerCLI and all prerequisite software. See vSphere ESXi Image Builder Installation and
Usage.
nVerify that you have access to the software depot that contains the image profile you want to clone.
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Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Add-EsxSoftwareDepot cmdlet for each depot you want to work
with.
Option Action
Remote depot Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl depot_url.
ZIP file a Download the ZIP file to a local file system.
b Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\file_path\offline-
bundle.zip
The cmdlet returns one or more SoftwareDepot objects.
2(Optional) Run the Get-EsxImageProfile cmdlet to find the name of the profile that you want to
clone.
You can use filtering options with Get-EsxImageProfile.
3Run the New-EsxImageProfile cmdlet to create the new profile and use the -CloneProfile
parameter to specify the profile you want to clone.
New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile My_Profile -Name "Test Profile 42"
This example clones the profile named My_Profile and assigns it the name Test Profile 42. You must
specify a unique combination of name and vendor for the cloned profile.
What to do next
See Examine Depot Contents for some examples of filtering.
Customize the image profile by adding or removing VIBs. See Add VIBs to an Image Profile.
Add VIBs to an Image Profile
You can add one or more VIBs to an image profile if that image profile is not set to read only. If the new
VIB depends on other VIBs or conflicts with other VIBs in the profile, a message is displayed at the
PowerShell prompt and the VIB is not added.
You can add VIBs from VMware or from VMware partners to an image profile. If you add VMware VIBs,
vSphere ESXi Image Builder performs validation. If you add VIBs from two or more OEM partners
simultaneously, no errors are reported but the resulting image profile might not work. Install VIBs from
only one OEM vendor at a time.
If an error about acceptance level problems appears, change the acceptance level of the image profile
and the acceptance level of the host. Consider carefully whether changing the host acceptance level is
appropriate. VIB acceptance levels are set during VIB creation and cannot be changed.
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You can add VIBs even if the resulting image profile is invalid.
Note VMware can support only environments and configurations that are proven to be stable and fully
functional through rigorous and extensive testing. Use only those supported configurations. You can use
custom VIBs if you lower your host acceptance level, and as a result, supportability. In that case, track the
changes you made, so you can revert them if you want to remove custom VIBs and restore the host
acceptance level to the default (Partner Supporter) later. See Working with Acceptance Levels.
Prerequisites
Install the PowerCLI and all prerequisite software. See Install vSphere ESXi Image Builder and
Prerequisite Software
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Add-EsxSoftwareDepot cmdlet for each depot you want to work
with.
Option Action
Remote depot Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl depot_url.
ZIP file a Download the ZIP file to a local file system.
b Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\file_path\offline-
bundle.zip
The cmdlet returns one or more SoftwareDepot objects.
2Run the Get-EsxImageProfile cmdlet to list all image profiles in all currently visible depots.
The cmdlet returns all available profiles. You can narrow your search by using the optional arguments
to filter the output.
3Clone the profile.
New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile My_Profile -Name "Test Profile 42" -Vendor "My Vendor"
Image profiles published by VMware and its partners are read only. To make changes, you must
clone the image profile. The vendor parameter is required.
4Run the Add-EsxSoftwarePackage cmdlet to add a new package to one of the image profiles.
Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile My_Profile -SoftwarePackage partner-package
The cmdlet runs the standard validation tests on the image profile. If validation succeeds, the cmdlet
returns a modified, validated image profile. If the VIB that you want to add depends on a different VIB,
the cmdlet displays that information and includes the VIB that would resolve the dependency. If the
acceptance level of the VIB that you want to add is lower than the image profile acceptance level, an
error occurs.
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Export an Image Profile to ISO or Oine Bundle ZIP
You can export an image profile to an ISO image or a ZIP file of component files and folders. You cannot
create both by running the cmdlet once. You can use the ISO image as an ESXi installer or upload the
ISO into vSphere Update Manager for upgrades. You can use the ZIP file, which contains metadata and
the VIBs specified in the image profile, for upgrades to ESXi 5.0 and later.
Prerequisites
Install the PowerCLI and all prerequisite software. See Install vSphere ESXi Image Builder and
Prerequisite Software.
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Add-EsxSoftwareDepot cmdlet for each depot you want to work
with.
Option Action
Remote depot Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl depot_url.
ZIP file a Download the ZIP file to a local file system.
b Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\file_path\offline-
bundle.zip
The cmdlet returns one or more SoftwareDepot objects.
2Run Export-EsxImageProfile to export the image profile.
Export Format Cmdlet
ISO images Export-EsxImageProfile with the -ExportToIso parameter
Offline depot ZIP files Export-EsxImageProfile with the -ExportToBundle parameter
For the ISO image, vSphere ESXi Image Builder validates VIB signatures, adds VIB binaries to the
image, and downloads the image to the specified location. For the ZIP file, vSphere ESXi Image Builder
validates VIB signatures and downloads the VIB binaries to the specified location.
Example: Exporting an Image Profile
Follow these steps to export an image profile to an ISO image.
1 Add the software depot.
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl url_or_file
2 View all available image profiles to find the name of the image profile to export.
Get-EsxImageProfile
3 Export the image profile.
Export-EsxImageProfile -ImageProfile "myprofile" -ExportToIso -FilePath iso_name
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Follow these steps to export an image profile to a ZIP file of component files and folders.
1 Add the software depot.
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl url_or_file
2 View all available image profiles to find the name of the image profile to export.
Get-EsxImageProfile
3 Export the image profile.
Export-EsxImageProfile -ImageProfile "myprofile" -ExportToBundle -FilePath C:\my_bundle.zip
What to do next
Use the ISO image in an ESXi installation or upload the ISO image into vSphereUpdate Manager to
perform upgrades.
Use the ZIP file to upgrade an ESXi installation.
nImport the ZIP file into vSphere Update Manager for use with patch baselines.
nDownload the ZIP file to an ESXi host or a datastore and run esxcli software vib commands to
import the VIBs in the ZIP file.
See the vSphere Upgrade documentation.
Preserve Image Profiles Across Sessions
When you create an image profile and exit the PowerCLI session, the image profile is no longer available
when you start a new session. You can export the image profile to a ZIP file software depot, and add that
depot in the next session.
Prerequisites
Install the PowerCLI and all prerequisite software. See Install vSphere ESXi Image Builder and
Prerequisite Software.
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, create an image profile, for example by cloning an existing image profile and
adding a VIB.
2Export the image profile to a ZIP file by calling Export-EsxImageProfile with the ExportToBundle
parameter.
Export-EsxImageProfile -ImageProfile "my_profile" -ExportToBundle -FilePath
"C:\isos\temp-base-plus-vib25.zip"
3Exit the PowerCLI session.
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4When you start a new PowerCLI session, add the depot that contains your image profile to access it.
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot "C:\isos\temp-base-plus-vib25.zip"
Compare Image Profiles
You can compare two image profiles by using the Compare-EsxImageProfile cmdlet, for example, to
see if they have the same VIB list or acceptance level . Comparing image profiles or their properties is
also possible by using the PowerShell comparison operators.
Prerequisites
Install the PowerCLI and all prerequisite software. See Install vSphere ESXi Image Builder and
Prerequisite Software.
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Add-EsxSoftwareDepot cmdlet for each depot you want to work
with.
Option Action
Remote depot Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl depot_url.
ZIP file a Download the ZIP file to a local file system.
b Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\file_path\offline-
bundle.zip
The cmdlet returns one or more SoftwareDepot objects.
2(Optional) Run the Get-EsxImageProfile cmdlet to view a list of all image profiles in all available
depots.
In the list, you can locate the names of the image profiles you want to compare.
3Before comparing the image profiles, assign them to variables.
For example, you can create variables $imageProfile1 and $imageProfile2 to hold the names of
the compared images profiles.
$imageProfile1
= Get-EsxImageProfile -Name "ImageProfile1"
$imageProfile2
= Get-EsxImageProfile -Name "ImageProfile2"
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4Compare the two image profiles by using the Compare-EsxImageProfile cmdlet or the -eq
comparison operator, which returns a Boolean value.
nCompare the two image profiles to get a full description of the differences by using the Compare-
EsxImageProfile cmdlet.
Compare-EsxImageProfile -ReferenceProfile
$imageProfile1 -ComparisonProfile $imageProfile2
nCompare the two image profiles by VIB list and acceptance level using the -eq comparison
operator.
if ($imageProfile1 -eq $imageProfile2) {
Write-host "Successfully verified that both image profiles are equal."
} else {
Write-host "Failed to verify that the image profiles are equal."
}
nCompare the two image profiles by a specific property using the -eq comparison operator.
if ($imageProfile1.vendor -eq $imageProfile2.vendor) {
Write-host "Successfully verified that both image profiles are equal."
} else {
Write-host "Failed to verify that the image profiles are equal."
}
Compare VIBs
You can compare two VIBs or their properties by using the PowerShell comparison operators.
Prerequisites
Install the PowerCLI and all prerequisite software. See Install vSphere ESXi Image Builder and
Prerequisite Software.
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Add-EsxSoftwareDepot cmdlet for each depot you want to work
with.
Option Action
Remote depot Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl depot_url.
ZIP file a Download the ZIP file to a local file system.
b Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\file_path\offline-
bundle.zip
The cmdlet returns one or more SoftwareDepot objects.
2(Optional) Run the Get-EsxSoftwarePackage cmdlet to view all available VIBs.
In the list, you can locate the names of the VIBs you want to compare.
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3Before comparing the VIBs, assign them to variables.
For example, you can create variables $vib1 and $vib2 to hold the names of the compared VIBs.
$vib1 = Get-EsxSoftwarePackage -Name "ReferenceVIB"
$vib2 = Get-EsxSoftwarePackage -Name "ComparisonVIB"
4Use a comparison operator to compare the VIBs by contents and acceptance level or by a specific
property.
nCompare the two VIBs by their contents and acceptance level.
if ($vib1 -eq $vib2) {
Write-host "Successfully verified that both VIBs are equal."
} else {
Write-host "Failed to verify that the VIBs are equal."
}
nCompare a specific property of the VIBs by using a comparison operator such as -eq, -lt, -le, -
gt or -ge.
if ($vib1.VersionObject -lt $vib2.VersionObject) {
Write-host "Successfully verified that both the VIBs are equal."
} else {
Write-host "Failed to verify that the VIBs are equal."
}
Working with Acceptance Levels
Hosts, image profiles, and individual VIBs have acceptance levels. VIB acceptance levels show how the
VIB was tested. Understanding what each acceptance level implies, how to change levels, and what a
change implies is an important part of installation and update procedures.
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Acceptance levels are set for hosts, image profiles, and individual VIBs. The default acceptance level for
an ESXi image or image profile is PartnerSupported.
Host acceptance levels The host acceptance level determines which VIBs you can install on a host.
You can change a host's acceptance level with ESXCLI commands. By
default, ESXi hosts have an acceptance level of PartnerSupported to allow
for easy updates with PartnerSupported VIBs.
Note VMware supports hosts at the PartnerSupported acceptance level.
For problems with individual VIBs with PartnerSupported acceptance level,
contact your partner's support organization.
Image profile
acceptance levels
The image profile acceptance level is set to the lowest VIB acceptance
level in the image profile. If you want to add a VIB with a low acceptance
level to an image profile, you can change the image profile acceptance
level with the Set-EsxImageProfile cmdlet. See Set the Image Profile
Acceptance Level.
The vSphere Update Manager does not display the actual acceptance
level. Use vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets to retrieve the acceptance
level information for VIBs and image profiles.
VIB acceptance levels A VIB's acceptance level is set when the VIB is created. Only the VIB
creator can set the acceptance level.
If you attempt to provision a host with an image profile or VIB that has a lower acceptance level than the
host, an error occurs. Change the acceptance level of the host to install the image profile or VIB. See
Change the Host Acceptance Level. Changing the acceptance level of the host changes the support level
for that host.
The acceptance level of a host, image profile, or VIB lets you determine who tested the VIB and who
supports the VIB. VMware supports the following acceptance levels .
VMwareCertified The VMwareCertified acceptance level has the most stringent
requirements. VIBs with this level go through thorough testing fully
equivalent to VMware in-house Quality Assurance testing for the same
technology. Today, only I/O Vendor Program (IOVP) program drivers are
published at this level. VMware takes support calls for VIBs with this
acceptance level.
VMwareAccepted VIBs with this acceptance level go through verification testing, but the tests
do not fully test every function of the software. The partner runs the tests
and VMware verifies the result. Today, CIM providers and PSA plug-ins are
among the VIBs published at this level. VMware directs support calls for
VIBs with this acceptance level to the partner's support organization.
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PartnerSupported VIBs with the PartnerSupported acceptance level are published by a
partner that VMware trusts. The partner performs all testing. VMware does
not verify the results. This level is used for a new or nonmainstream
technology that partners want to enable for VMware systems. Today, driver
VIB technologies such as Infiniband, ATAoE, and SSD are at this level with
nonstandard hardware drivers. VMware directs support calls for VIBs with
this acceptance level to the partner's support organization.
CommunitySupported The CommunitySupported acceptance level is for VIBs created by
individuals or companies outside of VMware partner programs. VIBs at this
level have not gone through any VMware-approved testing program and
are not supported by VMware Technical Support or by a VMware partner.
Change the Host Acceptance Level
You can lower the host acceptance level to match the acceptance level for a VIB or image profile you
want to install.
The acceptance level of each VIB on a host must be at least as high as the acceptance level of the host.
For example, you cannot install a VIB with PartnerSupported acceptance level on a host with
VMwareAccepted acceptance level. You must first lower the acceptance level of the host. For more
information on acceptance levels, see Acceptance Levels.
Changing the host acceptance level to CommunitySupported affects the supportability of your host and
might affect the security of your host.
Prerequisites
Install vCLI or deploy the vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) virtual machine. See Getting Started with
vSphere Command-Line Interfaces. For troubleshooting, run esxcli commands in the ESXi Shell.
Procedure
1Retrieve the acceptance level for the VIB or image profile.
Option Description
View information for all VIBs esxcli --server=server_name software
sources vib list --depot=depot_URL
View information for a specified VIB esxcli --server=server_name software
sources vib list --viburl=vib_URL
View information for all image profiles esxcli --server=server_name software
sources profile list --depot=depot_URL
View information for a specified image
profile esxcli --server=server_name software
sources profile get --depot=depot_URL
--profile=profile_name
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2View the host acceptance level.
esxcli --server=server_name software acceptance get
3Change the acceptance level of the host.
esxcli
--server=server_name software acceptance set --level=acceptance_level
The value for acceptance_level can be VMwareCertified, VMwareAccepted, PartnerSupported, or
CommunitySupported. The values for acceptance_level are case-sensitive.
Note If the host has a higher acceptance level than the VIB or image profile you want to add, you
can run commands in the esxcli software vib or esxcli software profile namespace with
the --force option. When you use the --force option, a warning appears because you enforce a
VIB or image profile with lower acceptance level than the acceptance level of the host and your setup
is no longer consistent. The warning is repeated when you install VIBs, remove VIBs, or perform
certain other operations on the host that has inconsistent acceptance levels.
Set the Image Profile Acceptance Level
If you want to add a VIB to an image profile, and the acceptance level of the VIB is lower than that of the
image profile, you can clone the image profile with a lower acceptance level or change the image profile's
acceptance level.
You can specify VMwareCertified, VMwareAccepted, PartnerSupported, or CommunitySupported as an
acceptance level of an image profile. If you lower the acceptance level, the level of support for the image
profile and hosts that you provision with it changes. For more information, see Acceptance Levels.
Prerequisites
Install PowerCLI and all prerequisite software. See Install vSphere ESXi Image Builder and Prerequisite
Software.
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Add-EsxSoftwareDepot cmdlet for each depot you want to work
with.
Option Action
Remote depot Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl depot_url.
ZIP file a Download the ZIP file to a local file system.
b Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\file_path\offline-
bundle.zip
The cmdlet returns one or more SoftwareDepot objects.
2Get the acceptance level for the image profile.
Get-EsxImageProfile -Name string
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3Set the acceptance level of the image profile.
Set-EsxImageProfile -Name string -AcceptanceLevel level
vSphere ESXi Image Builder Workflows
vSphere ESXi Image Builder workflows are examples for cmdlet usage. Workflows do not represent
actual tasks, but illustrate how you might explore different ways of using a cmdlet. Administrators trying
out the workflows benefit from some experience with PowerCLI, Microsoft PowerShell, or both.
Examine Depot Contents
You can examine software depots and VIBs with vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets. You can use
wildcards to examine depot contents. All wildcard expressions are supported.
The workflow itself passes parameters by name. However, you can pass parameters as objects by
accessing variables.
You can use filtering options and wildcard expressions to examine depot contents.
Prerequisites
Verify that PowerCLI and prerequisite software is installed. See Install vSphere ESXi Image Builder and
Prerequisite Software.
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Add-EsxSoftwareDepot cmdlet for each depot you want to work
with.
Option Action
Remote depot Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl depot_url.
ZIP file a Download the ZIP file to a local file system.
b Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\file_path\offline-
bundle.zip
The cmdlet returns one or more SoftwareDepot objects.
2Retrieve image profiles.
You can filter by vendor, name, and acceptance level.
nGet-EsxImageProfiles
Returns an array of ImageProfile objects from all depots you added to the session.
nGet-EsxImageProfile -Vendor "C*"
Returns all image profiles created by a vendor with a name that starts with the letter C.
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3Retrieve software packages by using the Get-EsxSoftwarePackage cmdlet.
You can filter, for example by vendor or version, and you can use the standard PowerShell wildcard
characters.
nGet-EsxSoftwarePackage -Vendor "V*"
Returns all software packages from a vendor with a name that starts with the letter V.
nGet-EsxSoftwarePackage -Vendor "V*" -Name "*scsi*"
Returns all software packages with a name that contains the string scsi in it from a vendor with a
name that starts with the letter V.
nGet-EsxSoftwarePackage -Version "2.0*"
Returns all software packages with a version string that starts with 2.0.
4Use -Newest to find the latest package.
nGet-EsxSoftwarePackage -Vendor "V*" -Newest
Returns the newest package for the vendors with a name that starts with the letter V, and displays
the information as a table.
nGet-EsxSoftwarePackage -Vendor "V*" -Newest | format-list
Returns detailed information about each software package by using a pipeline to link the output of
the request for software packages to the PowerShell format-list cmdlet.
5View the list of VIBs in the image profile.
(Get-EsxImageProfile -Name "Robin's Profile").VibList
VibList is a property of the ImageProfile object.
6Retrieve software packages released before or after a certain date by using the CreatedBefore or
CreatedAfter parameter.
Get-EsxSoftwarePackage -CreatedAfter 7/1/2010
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Example: Depot Content Examination Using Variables
This workflow example examines depot contents by passing in parameters as objects accessed by
position in a variable, instead of passing in parameters by name. You can run the following commands in
sequence from the PowerCLI prompt. Replace names with names that are appropriate in your installation.
Get-EsxSoftwarePackage -Vendor "V*"
Get-EsxSoftwarePackage -Vendor "V*" -Name "r*"
Get-EsxSoftwarePackage -Version "2.0*"
$ip1 = Get-EsxImageProfile -name ESX-5.0.0-123456-full
$ip1.VibList
Get-EsxSoftwarePackage -CreatedAfter 7/1/2010
Create Image Profiles by Cloning Workflow
You can use vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets to check which depots are available, to add a depot, to
view image profile information, and to create a new image profile by cloning one of the available image
profiles.
Published profiles are usually read-only and cannot be modified. Even if a published profile is not read-
only, cloning instead of modifying the profile is a best practice, because modifying the original profile
erases the original. You cannot revert to the original, unmodified profile except by reconnecting to a
depot.
A profile cloning workflow might include checking the current state of the system, adding a software
depot, and cloning the profile.
Prerequisites
Verify that PowerCLI and prerequisite software is installed. See Install vSphere ESXi Image Builder and
Prerequisite Software.
Procedure
1In a PowerShell window, check whether any software depots are defined for the current session.
$DefaultSoftwareDepots
PowerShell returns the currently defined depots, or nothing if you just started PowerShell.
2If the depot containing the profile that you want to clone does not appear in the results, add it to the
current session.
Option Action
Remote depot Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl depot_url.
ZIP file a Download the ZIP file to a local file path.
b Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\file_path\offline-
bundle.zip
PowerShell adds the specified depot to your current session and lists all current depots.
3(Optional) Check the $DefaultSoftwareDepots variable, which now returns the newly added depot.
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4View all available image profiles.
Get-EsxImageProfile
5To clone an image profile, enter its name, a new name for the new profile, and a name of the vendor.
$ip = New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile base-tbd-v1 -Name "Test Profile 42" -Vendor "Vendor20"
6(Optional) View the newly created image profile, $ip.
PowerShell returns the information about the image profile in tabular format.
Name Vendor Last Modified Acceptance Level
---- ------ ------------- ----------------
Test Profile 42 Vendor20 9/15/2010 5:45:43... PartnerSupported
Example: Creating Image Profile by Cloning Using Variables
This workflow example repeats the steps of this workflow by passing in parameters as objects accessed
by position in a variable, instead of passing in parameters by name. You can run the following cmdlets in
sequence from the PowerCLI prompt.
$DefaultSoftwareDepots
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl depot_url
$DefaultSoftwareDepots
$profs = Get-EsxImageProfile
$profs
$ip = New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile $profs[2] -Name "new_profile_name" -Vendor "my_vendor"
$ip
Create New Image Profiles Workflow
In most situations, you create an image profile by cloning an existing profile. Some VMware customers or
partners might need to create a new image profile. Pay careful attention to dependencies and acceptance
levels if you create an image profile from scratch.
The system expects that the acceptance level of the VIBs you add to the base image is at least as high
as the level of the base image. If you have to add a VIB with a lower acceptance level to the image
profile, you must lower the image profile acceptance level. For more information, see Set the Image
Profile Acceptance Level.
As an alternative to specifying the parameters on the command line, you can use the PowerShell
prompting mechanism to specify string parameters. Prompting does not work for other parameters such
as objects.
Prerequisites
nPowerCLI and prerequisite software is installed. See Install vSphere ESXi Image Builder and
Prerequisite Software.
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nYou have access to a depot that includes a base image and one or more VIBs. VMware and VMware
partners have public depots, accessible by a URL. VMware or VMware partners can create a ZIP file
that you can unzip to your local environment and access by using a file path.
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Add-EsxSoftwareDepot cmdlet for each depot you want to work
with.
Option Action
Remote depot Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl depot_url.
ZIP file a Download the ZIP file to a local file system.
b Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\file_path\offline-
bundle.zip
The cmdlet returns one or more SoftwareDepot objects.
2Run the Get-EsxImageProfile cmdlet to list all image profiles in all currently visible depots. You can
narrow your search by using the optional arguments to filter the output.
Get-EsxSoftwarePackage -CreatedAfter 7/1/2010
3Create a new profile, assign it a name and vendor, and add a base package.
New-EsxImageProfile -NewProfile -Name "Test #2" -vendor "Vendor42" -SoftwarePackage esx-
base[0],esx-xlibs[0]
The example uses the esx-base package. In most cases, you include the esx-base package when
you create a new image profile. Names that contain spaces are surrounded by quotes.
4Use a pipeline to pass the new image profile to format-list for detailed information about the new
package.
(Get-EsxImageProfile -Name "Test #2").VibList | format-list
Example: Creating Image Profiles from Scratch Using Variables
This command sequence repeats the steps of the workflow, but passes parameters as objects, accessed
by position in a variable, instead of passing parameters by name. You can run the following commands in
sequence at thePowerCLI prompt.
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot depoturl
$pkgs = Get-EsxSoftwarePackage -CreatedAfter 7/1/2010
$ip2 = New-EsxImageProfile -NewProfile -Name "Test #2" -vendor "Vendor42" -SoftwarePackage $pkgs[0]
$ip2.VibList | format-list
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Edit Image Profiles Workflow
You can create a custom image by cloning and editing an image profile by using PowerCLI. You can add
or remove one or more VIBs in the existing profile. If adding or removing VIBs prevents the image profile
from working correctly, an error occurs.
Prerequisites
nPowerCLI and prerequisite software is installed. See Install vSphere ESXi Image Builder and
Prerequisite Software.
nYou have access to a depot that includes a base image and one or more VIBs. VMware and VMware
partners make public depots, accessible by a URL, available. VMware or VMware partners can create
a ZIP file that you can download to your local environment and access by using a file path.
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Add-EsxSoftwareDepot cmdlet for each depot you want to work
with.
Option Action
Remote depot Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl depot_url.
ZIP file a Download the ZIP file to a local file system.
b Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\file_path\offline-
bundle.zip
The cmdlet returns one or more SoftwareDepot objects.
2Use a pipeline to pass the image profile you intend to edit to format-list to see detailed
information.
In this example, the image profile created in Create New Image Profiles Workflow contains only the
base image. A newly created image profile is not included in the depot. Instead, you access the
image profile by name or by binding it to a variable.
Get-EsxImageProfile "Test #2" | format-list
PowerShell returns the information.
Name : Test #2
Vendor : Vendor42
...
VibList : {esx-base 5.0.0.-...,}
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3(Optional) If you are adding a VIB with a lower acceptance level than that of the image profile, change
the acceptance level of the image profile.
Set-EsxImageProfile -ImageProfile "Test #2" -AcceptanceLevel VMwareAccepted
PowerShell returns the information about the changed profile in tabular format.
Name Vendor Last Modified Acceptance Level
---- ------ ------------- ----------------
Test #2 Vendor42 9/22/2010 12:05:... VMwareAccepted
4Add a software package (VIB) to the image profile. You can add the package by name.
Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile "Test #2"
-SoftwarePackage NewPack3
PowerShell returns the information about the image profile in tabular format.
Name Vendor Last Modified Acceptance Level
---- ------ ------------- ----------------
Test #2 Vendor42 9/22/2010 12:05:... VMwareAccepted
Note If an error occurs when you add the software package, you might have a problem with
acceptance levels, see Working with Acceptance Levels
5View the image profile again.
Get-EsxImageProfile "Test #2" | format-list
The VIB list is updated to include the new software package and the information is displayed.
Name : Test #2
Vendor : Vendor42
...
VibList : {esx-base 5.0.0.-..., NewPack3}
Example: Editing Image Profiles by Using Variables
This cmdlet sequence repeats the steps of the workflow but passes parameters as objects, accessed by
position in a variable, instead of passing parameters by name. You can run the following cmdlets in
sequence from the PowerCLI prompt.
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl depot_url
$ip2 = Get-EsxImageProfile -name "Test #2"
$ip2 | format-list
Set-EsxImageProfile -ImageProfile $ip2 -AcceptanceLevel VMwareAccepted
Add-EsxImageSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile $ip2 -SoftwarePackage NewPack3
$ip2 | format-list
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Required Information for ESXi Installation
In an interactive installation, the system prompts you for the required system information. In a scripted
installation, you must supply this information in the installation script.
For future use, note the values you use during the installation. These notes are useful if you must reinstall
ESXi and reenter the values that you originally chose.
Table 510. Required Information for ESXi Installation
Information
Required or
Optional Default Comments
Keyboard layout Required U.S. English
VLAN ID Optional None Range: 0 through 4094
IP address Optional DHCP You can allow DHCP to configure the network
during installation. After installation, you can
change the network settings.
Subnet mask Optional Calculated based on the IP
address
Gateway Optional Based on the configured IP
address and subnet mask
Primary DNS Optional Based on the configured IP
address and subnet mask
Secondary DNS Optional None
Host name Required for
static IP
settings
None The vSphere Web Client can use either the host
name or the IP address to access the ESXi host.
Install location Required None Must be at least 5 GB if you install the components
on a single disk.
Migrate existing ESXi
settings. Preserve
existing VMFS
datastore.
Required if you
are installing
ESXi on a drive
with an existing
ESXi
installation.
None If you have an existing ESXi 5.x installation, the
ESXi installer offers a choice between preserving or
overwriting the VMFS datastore during installation
Root password Required None The root password must contain between 8 and 40
characters. For information about passwords see
the vSphere Security documentation.
Installing ESXi
You can install ESXi interactively, with a scripted installation, or with vSphere Auto Deploy.
Installing ESXi Interactively
Use the interactive installation option for small deployments of fewer than five hosts.
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In a typical interactive installation, you boot the ESXi installer and respond to the installer prompts to
install ESXi to the local host disk. The installer reformats and partitions the target disk and installs the
ESXi boot image. If you have not installed ESXi on the target disk before, all data on the drive is
overwritten, including hardware vendor partitions, operating system partitions, and associated data.
Note To ensure that you do not lose any data, migrate the data to another machine before you install
ESXi.
If you are installing ESXi on a disk that contains a previous installation of ESXi or ESX, or a VMFS
datastore, the installer provides you with options for upgrading. See the vSphere Upgrade documentation.
Install ESXi Interactively
You use the ESXi CD/DVD or a USB flash drive to install the ESXi software onto a SAS, SATA, SCSI hard
drive, or USB drive.
Prerequisites
nYou must have the ESXi installer ISO in one of the following locations:
nOn CD or DVD. If you do not have the installation CD/DVD, you can create one. See Download
and Burn the ESXi Installer ISO Image to a CD or DVD
nOn a USB flash drive. See Format a USB Flash Drive to Boot the ESXi Installation or Upgrade.
Note You can also PXE boot the ESXi installer to run an interactive installation or a scripted
installation. See PXE Booting the ESXi Installer.
nVerify that the server hardware clock is set to UTC. This setting is in the system BIOS.
nVerify that a keyboard and monitor are attached to the machine on which the ESXi software is
installed. Alternatively, use a remote management application. See Using Remote Management
Applications.
nConsider disconnecting your network storage. This action decreases the time it takes the installer to
search for available disk drives. When you disconnect network storage, any files on the disconnected
disks are unavailable at installation.
Do not disconnect a LUN that contains an existing ESX or ESXi installation. Do not disconnect a
VMFS datastore that contains the Service Console of an existing ESX installation. These actions can
affect the outcome of the installation.
nGather the information required by the ESXi installation wizard. See Required Information for ESXi
Installation.
nVerify that ESXi Embedded is not present on the host machine. ESXi Installable and ESXi Embedded
cannot exist on the same host.
Procedure
1Insert the ESXi installer CD/DVD into the CD/DVD-ROM drive, or attach the Installer USB flash drive
and restart the machine.
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2Set the BIOS to boot from the CD-ROM device or the USB flash drive.
See your hardware vendor documentation for information on changing boot order.
3On the Select a Disk page, select the drive on which to install ESXi, and press Enter.
Press F1 for information about the selected disk.
Note Do not rely on the disk order in the list to select a disk. The disk order is determined by the
BIOS and might be out of order. This might occur on systems where drives are continuously being
added and removed.
If you select a disk that contains data, the Confirm Disk Selection page appears.
If you are installing on a disc with a previous ESXi or ESX installation or VMFS datastore, the installer
provides several choices.
Important If you are upgrading or migrating an existing ESXi installation, see the VMware ESXi
Upgrade documentation.
If you select a disk that is in vSAN disk group, the resulting installation depends on the type of disk
and the group size:
nIf you select an SSD, the SSD and all underlying HDDs in the same disk group are wiped.
nIf you select an HDD, and the disk group size is greater than two, only the selected HDD is wiped.
nIf you select an HDD disk, and the disk group size is two or less, the SSD and the selected HDD
is wiped.
For more information about managing vSAN disk groups, see the vSphere Storage documentation.
4Select the keyboard type for the host.
You can change the keyboard type after installation in the direct console.
5Enter the root password for the host.
You can change the password after installation in the direct console.
6Press Enter to start the installation.
7When the installation is complete, remove the installation CD, DVD, or USB flash drive.
8Press Enter to reboot the host.
If you are performing a new installation, or you chose to overwrite an existing VMFS datastore, during
the reboot operation, VFAT scratch, and VMFS partitions are created on the host disk.
9Set the first boot device to be the drive on which you installed ESXi in Step 3.
For information about changing boot order, see your hardware vendor documentation.
Note UEFI systems might require additional steps to set the boot device. See Host Fails to Boot
After You Install ESXi in UEFI Mode
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After the installation is complete, you can migrate existing VMFS data to the ESXi host.
You can boot a single machine from each ESXi image. Booting multiple devices from a single shared
ESXi image is not supported.
What to do next
Set up basic administration and network configuration for ESXi. See After You Install and Set Up ESXi.
Install ESXi on a Software iSCSI Disk
When you install ESXi to a software iSCSI disk, you must configure the target iSCSI qualified name
(IQN).
During system boot, the system performs a Power-On Self Test (POST), and begins booting the adapters
in the order specified in the system BIOS. When the boot order comes to the iSCSI Boot Firmware Table
(iBFT) adapter, the adapter attempts to connect to the target, but does not boot from it. See Prerequisites.
If the connection to the iSCSI target is successful, the iSCSI boot firmware saves the iSCSI boot
configuration in the iBFT. The next adapter to boot must be the ESXi installation media, either a mounted
ISO image or a physical CD-ROM.
Prerequisites
nVerify that the target IQN is configured in the iBFT BIOS target parameter setting. This setting is in
the option ROM of the network interface card (NIC) to be used for the iSCSI LUN. See the vendor
documentation for your system.
nDisable the iBFT adapter option to boot to the iSCSI target. This action is necessary to make sure
that the ESXi installer boots, rather than the iSCSI target. When you start your system, follow the
prompt to log in to your iBFT adapter and disable the option to boot to the iSCSI target. See the
vendor documentation for your system and iBFT adapter. After you finish the ESXi installation, you
can reenable the option to boot from the LUN you install ESXi on.
Procedure
1Start an interactive installation from the ESXi installation CD/DVD or mounted ISO image.
2On the Select a Disk screen, select the iSCSI target you specified in the iBFT BIOS target parameter
setting.
If the target does not appear in this menu, make sure that the TCP/IP and initiator iSCSI IQN settings
are correct. Check the network Access Control List (ACL) and confirm that the adapter has adequate
permissions to access the target.
3Follow the prompts to complete the installation.
4Reboot the host.
5In the host BIOS settings, enter the iBFT adapter BIOS configuration, and change the adapter
parameter to boot from the iSCSI target.
See the vendor documentation for your system.
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What to do next
On your iBFT adapter, reenable the option to boot to the iSCSI target, so the system will boot from the
LUN you installed ESXi on.
Installing or Upgrading Hosts by Using a Script
You can quickly deploy ESXi hosts by using scripted, unattended installations or upgrades. Scripted
installations or upgrades provide an efficient way to deploy multiple hosts.
The installation or upgrade script contains the installation settings for ESXi. You can apply the script to all
hosts that you want to have a similar configuration.
For a scripted installation or upgrade, you must use the supported commands to create a script. You can
edit the script to change settings that are unique for each host.
The installation or upgrade script can reside in one of the following locations:
nFTP server
nHTTP/HTTPS server
nNFS server
nUSB flash drive
nCD-ROM drive
Approaches for Scripted Installation
You can install ESXi on multiple machines using a single script for all of them or a separate script for each
machine.
For example, because disk names vary from machine to machine, one of the settings that you might want
to configure in a script is the selection for the disk to install ESXi on.
Table 511. Scripted Installation Choices
Option Action
Always install on the first disk on multiple machines. Create one script.
Install ESXi on a different disk for each machine. Create multiple scripts.
For information about the commands required to specify the disk to install on, see Installation and
Upgrade Script Commands.
Enter Boot Options to Start an Installation or Upgrade Script
You can start an installation or upgrade script by typing boot options at the ESXi installer boot command
line.
At boot time you might need to specify options to access the kickstart file. You can enter boot options by
pressing Shift+O in the boot loader. For a PXE boot installation, you can pass options through the
kernelopts line of the boot.cfg file. See About the boot.cfg File and PXE Booting the ESXi Installer.
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To specify the location of the installation script, set the ks=filepath option, where filepath is indicates
the location of your Kickstart file. Otherwise, a scripted installation or upgrade cannot start. If
ks=filepath is omitted, the text installer is run.
Supported boot options are listed in Boot Options.
Procedure
1Start the host.
2When the ESXi installer window appears, press Shift+O to edit boot options.
3At the runweasel command prompt, type
ks=location of installation script plus boot command-line options.
Example: Boot Option
You type the following boot options:
ks=http://00.00.00.00/kickstart/ks-osdc-pdp101.cfg nameserver=00.00.0.0 ip=00.00.00.000
netmask=255.255.255.0 gateway=00.00.00.000
Boot Options
When you perform a scripted installation, you might need to specify options at boot time to access the
kickstart file.
Supported Boot Options
Table 512. Boot Options for ESXi Installation
Boot Option Description
BOOTIF=hwtype-MAC address Similar to the netdevice option, except in the PXELINUX format
as described in the IPAPPEND option under SYSLINUX at the
syslinux.zytor.com site.
gateway=ip address Sets this network gateway as the default gateway to be used for
downloading the installation script and installation media.
ip=ip address Sets up a static IP address to be used for downloading the
installation script and the installation media. Note: the PXELINUX
format for this option is also supported. See the IPAPPEND
option under SYSLINUX at the syslinux.zytor.com site.
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Table 512. Boot Options for ESXi Installation (Continued)
Boot Option Description
ks=cdrom:/path Performs a scripted installation with the script at path, which
resides on the CD in the CD-ROM drive. Each CDROM is
mounted and checked until the file that matches the path is
found.
Important If you have created an installer ISO image with a
custom installation or upgrade script, you must use uppercase
characters to provide the path of the script, for example,
ks=cdrom:/KS_CUST.CFG.
ks=file://path Performs a scripted installation with the script at path.
ks=protocol://serverpath Performs a scripted installation with a script located on the
network at the given URL. protocol can be http, https, ftp, or
nfs. An example using nfs protocol is
ks=nfs://host/porturl-path. The format of an NFS URL is
specified in RFC 2224.
ks=usb Performs a scripted installation, accessing the script from an
attached USB drive. Searches for a file named ks.cfg. The file
must be located in the root directory of the drive. If multiple USB
flash drives are attached, they are searched until the ks.cfg file
is found. Only FAT16 and FAT32 file systems are supported.
ks=usb:/path Performs a scripted installation with the script file at the specified
path, which resides on USB.
ksdevice=device Tries to use a network adapter device when looking for an
installation script and installation media. Specify as a MAC
address, for example, 00:50:56:C0:00:01. This location can also
be a vmnicNN name. If not specified and files need to be
retrieved over the network, the installer defaults to the first
discovered network adapter that is plugged in.
nameserver=ip address Specifies a domain name server to be used for downloading the
installation script and installation media.
netdevice=device Tries to use a network adapter device when looking for an
installation script and installation media. Specify as a MAC
address, for example, 00:50:56:C0:00:01. This location can also
be a vmnicNN name. If not specified and files need to be
retrieved over the network, the installer defaults to the first
discovered network adapter that is plugged in.
netmask=subnet mask Specifies subnet mask for the network interface that downloads
the installation script and the installation media.
vlanid=vlanid Configure the network card to be on the specified VLAN.
About Installation and Upgrade Scripts
The installation/upgrade script is a text file, for example ks.cfg, that contains supported commands.
The command section of the script contains the ESXi installation options. This section is required and
must appear first in the script.
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About the Default ks.cfg Installation Script
The ESXi installer includes a default installation script that performs a standard installation to the first
detected disk.
The default ks.cfg installation script is located in the initial RAM disk at /etc/vmware/weasel/ks.cfg.
You can specify the location of the default ks.cfg file with the ks=file://etc/vmware/weasel/ks.cfg
boot option. See Enter Boot Options to Start an Installation or Upgrade Script.
When you install ESXi using the ks.cfg script, the default root password is myp@ssw0rd.
You cannot modify the default script on the installation media. After the installation, you can use the
vSphere Web Client to log in to the vCenter Server that manages the ESXi host and modify the default
settings.
The default script contains the following commands:
#
# Sample scripted installation file
#
# Accept the VMware End User License Agreement
vmaccepteula
# Set the root password for the DCUI and Tech Support Mode
rootpw myp@ssw0rd
# Install on the first local disk available on machine
install --firstdisk --overwritevmfs
# Set the network to DHCP on the first network adapter
network --bootproto=dhcp --device=vmnic0
# A sample post-install script
%post --interpreter=python --ignorefailure=true
import time
stampFile = open('/finished.stamp', mode='w')
stampFile.write( time.asctime() )
Locations Supported for Installation or Upgrade Scripts
In scripted installations and upgrades, the ESXi installer can access the installation or upgrade script,
also called the kickstart file, from several locations.
The following locations are supported for the installation or upgrade script:
nCD/DVD. See Create an Installer ISO Image with a Custom Installation or Upgrade Script.
nUSB Flash drive. See Create a USB Flash Drive to Store the ESXi Installation Script or Upgrade
Script.
nA network location accessible through the following protocols: NFS, HTTP, HTTPS, FTP
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Path to the Installation or Upgrade Script
You can specify the path to an installation or upgrade script.
ks=http://XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX/kickstart/KS.CFG is the path to the ESXi installation script, where
XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX is the IP address of the machine where the script resides. See About Installation and
Upgrade Scripts.
To start an installation script from an interactive installation, you enter the ks= option manually. See Enter
Boot Options to Start an Installation or Upgrade Script.
Installation and Upgrade Script Commands
To modify the default installation or upgrade script or to create your own script, use supported commands.
Use supported commands in the installation script, which you specify with a boot command when you
boot the installer.
To determine which disk to install or upgrade ESXi on, the installation script requires one of the following
commands: install, upgrade, or installorupgrade. The install command creates the default
partitions, including a VMFS datastore that occupies all available space after the other partitions are
created.
accepteula or vmaccepteula (required)
Accepts the ESXi license agreement.
clearpart (optional)
Clears any existing partitions on the disk. Requires the install command to be specified. Carefully edit
the clearpart command in your existing scripts.
--drives= Remove partitions on the specified drives.
--alldrives Ignores the --drives= requirement and allows clearing of partitions on
every drive.
--ignoredrives= Removes partitions on all drives except those specified. Required unless
the --drives= or --alldrives flag is specified.
--overwritevmfs Allows overwriting of VMFS partitions on the specified drives. By default,
overwriting VMFS partitions is not allowed.
--firstdisk=
disk-type1
[disk-type2,...]
Partitions the first eligible disk found. By default, the eligible disks are set to
the following order:
1 Locally attached storage (local)
2 Network storage (remote)
3 USB disks (usb)
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You can change the order of the disks by using a comma-separated list
appended to the argument. If you provide a filter list, the default settings are
overridden. You can combine filters to specify a particular disk, including
esx for the first disk with ESXi installed on it, model and vendor information,
or the name of the VMkernel device driver. For example, to prefer a disk
with the model name ST3120814A and any disk that uses the mptsas
driver rather than a normal local disk, the argument is
--firstdisk=ST3120814A,mptsas,local. You can use localesx for
local storage that contains ESXi image or remoteesx for remote storage
that contains ESXi image.
dryrun (optional)
Parses and checks the installation script. Does not perform the installation.
install
Specifies that this is a fresh installation. Replaces the deprecated autopart command used for ESXi 4.1
scripted installations. Either the install, upgrade, or installorupgrade command is required to
determine which disk to install or upgrade ESXi on.
--disk= or --drive= Specifies the disk to partition. In the command --disk=diskname, the
diskname can be in any of the forms shown in the following examples:
nPath: --disk=/vmfs/devices/disks/mpx.vmhba1:C0:T0:L0
nMPX name: --disk=mpx.vmhba1:C0:T0:L0
nVML name: --disk=vml.000000034211234
nvmkLUN UID: --disk=vmkLUN_UID
For accepted disk name formats, see Disk Device Names.
--firstdisk=
disk-type1,
[disk-type2,...]
Partitions the first eligible disk found. By default, the eligible disks are set to
the following order:
1 Locally attached storage (local)
2 Network storage (remote)
3 USB disks (usb)
You can change the order of the disks by using a comma-separated list
appended to the argument. If you provide a filter list, the default settings are
overridden. You can combine filters to specify a particular disk, including
esx for the first disk with ESX installed on it, model and vendor information,
or the name of the vmkernel device driver. For example, to prefer a disk
with the model name ST3120814A and any disk that uses the mptsas
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driver rather than a normal local disk, the argument is
--firstdisk=ST3120814A,mptsas,local. You can use localesx for
local storage that contains ESXi image or remoteesx for remote storage
that contains ESXi image.
--ignoressd Excludes solid-state disks from eligibility for partitioning. This option can be
used with the install command and the --firstdisk option. This option
takes precedence over the --firstdisk option. This option is invalid with
the --drive or --disk options and with the upgrade and
installorupgrade commands. See the vSphere Storage documentation
for more information about preventing SSD formatting during auto-
partitioning.
--overwritevsan You must use the --overwritevsan option when you install ESXi on a
disk, either SSD or HDD (magnetic), that is in a vSAN disk group. If you
use this option and no vSAN partition is on the selected disk, the
installation will fail. When you install ESXi on a disk that is in vSAN disk
group, the result depends on the disk that you select:
nIf you select an SSD, the SSD and all underlying HDDs in the same
disk group will be wiped.
nIf you select an HDD, and the disk group size is greater than two, only
the selected HDD will be wiped.
nIf you select an HDD disk, and the disk group size is two or less, the
SSD and the selected HDD will be wiped.
For more information about managing vSAN disk groups, see the vSphere
Storage documentation.
--overwritevmfs Required to overwrite an existing VMFS datastore on the disk before
installation.
--preservevmfs Preserves an existing VMFS datastore on the disk during installation.
--novmfsondisk Prevents a VMFS partition from being created on this disk. Must be used
with --overwritevmfs if a VMFS partition already exists on the disk.
installorupgrade
Either the install, upgrade, or installorupgrade command is required to determine which disk to
install or upgrade ESXi on.
--disk= or --drive= Specifies the disk to partition. In the command --disk=diskname, the
diskname can be in any of the forms shown in the following examples:
nPath: --disk=/vmfs/devices/disks/mpx.vmhba1:C0:T0:L0
nMPX name: --disk=mpx.vmhba1:C0:T0:L0
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nVML name: --disk=vml.000000034211234
nvmkLUN UID: --disk=vmkLUN_UID
For accepted disk name formats, see Disk Device Names.
--firstdisk=
disk-type1,
[disk-type2,...]
Partitions the first eligible disk found. By default, the eligible disks are set to
the following order:
1 Locally attached storage (local)
2 Network storage (remote)
3 USB disks (usb)
You can change the order of the disks by using a comma-separated list
appended to the argument. If you provide a filter list, the default settings are
overridden. You can combine filters to specify a particular disk, including
esx for the first disk with ESX installed on it, model and vendor information,
or the name of the vmkernel device driver. For example, to prefer a disk
with the model name ST3120814A and any disk that uses the mptsas
driver rather than a normal local disk, the argument is
--firstdisk=ST3120814A,mptsas,local. You can use localesx for
local storage that contains ESXi image or remoteesx for remote storage
that contains ESXi image.
--overwritevsan You must use the --overwritevsan option when you install ESXi on a
disk, either SSD or HDD (magnetic), that is in a vSAN disk group. If you
use this option and no vSAN partition is on the selected disk, the
installation will fail. When you install ESXi on a disk that is in a vSAN disk
group, the result depends on the disk that you select:
nIf you select an SSD, the SSD and all underlying HDDs in the same
disk group will be wiped.
nIf you select an HDD, and the disk group size is greater than two, only
the selected HDD will be wiped.
nIf you select an HDD disk, and the disk group size is two or less, the
SSD and the selected HDD will be wiped.
For more information about managing vSAN disk groups, see the vSphere
Storage documentation.
--overwritevmfs Install ESXi if a VMFS partition exists on the disk, but no ESX or ESXi
installation exists. Unless this option is present, the installer will fail if a
VMFS partition exists on the disk, but no ESX or ESXi installation exists.
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keyboard (optional)
Sets the keyboard type for the system.
keyboardType Specifies the keyboard map for the selected keyboard type. keyboardType
must be one of the following types.
nBelgian
nBrazilian
nCroatian
nCzechoslovakian
nDanish
nEstonian
nFinnish
nFrench
nGerman
nGreek
nIcelandic
nItalian
nJapanese
nLatin American
nNorwegian
nPolish
nPortuguese
nRussian
nSlovenian
nSpanish
nSwedish
nSwiss French
nSwiss German
nTurkish
nUkrainian
nUnited Kingdom
nUS Default
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nUS Dvorak
serialnum or vmserialnum (optional)
Deprecated in ESXi 5.0.x. Supported in ESXi 5.1 and later. Configures licensing. If not included, ESXi
installs in evaluation mode.
--esx=<license-key> Specifies the vSphere license key to use. The format is 5 five-character
groups (XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX).
network (optional)
Specifies a network address for the system.
--bootproto=[dhcp|static] Specifies whether to obtain the network settings from DHCP or set them
manually.
--device= Specifies either the MAC address of the network card or the device name,
in the form vmnicNN, as in vmnic0. This options refers to the uplink device
for the virtual switch.
--ip= Sets an IP address for the machine to be installed, in the form
xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx. Required with the --bootproto=static option and
ignored otherwise.
--gateway= Designates the default gateway as an IP address, in the form
xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx. Used with the --bootproto=static option.
--nameserver= Designates the primary name server as an IP address. Used with the --
bootproto=static option. Omit this option if you do not intend to use
DNS.
The --nameserver option can accept two IP addresses. For example: --
nameserver="10.126.87.104[,10.126.87.120]"
--netmask= Specifies the subnet mask for the installed system, in the form
255.xxx.xxx.xxx. Used with the --bootproto=static option.
--hostname= Specifies the host name for the installed system.
--vlanid= vlanid Specifies which VLAN the system is on. Used with either the
--bootproto=dhcp or --bootproto=static option. Set to an integer from
1 to 4096.
--addvmportgroup=(0|1) Specifies whether to add the VM Network port group, which is used by
virtual machines. The default value is 1.
paranoid (optional)
Causes warning messages to interrupt the installation. If you omit this command, warning messages are
logged.
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part or partition (optional)
Creates an additional VMFS datastore on the system. Only one datastore per disk can be created.
Cannot be used on the same disk as the install command. Only one partition can be specified per disk
and it can only be a VMFS partition.
datastore name Specifies where the partition is to be mounted.
--ondisk= or --ondrive= Specifies the disk or drive where the partition is created.
--firstdisk=
disk-type1,
[disk-type2,...]
Partitions the first eligible disk found. By default, the eligible disks are set to
the following order:
1 Locally attached storage (local)
2 Network storage (remote)
3 USB disks (usb)
You can change the order of the disks by using a comma-separated list
appended to the argument. If you provide a filter list, the default settings are
overridden. You can combine filters to specify a particular disk, including
esx for the first disk with ESX installed on it, model and vendor information,
or the name of the vmkernel device driver. For example, to prefer a disk
with the model name ST3120814A and any disk that uses the mptsas
driver rather than a normal local disk, the argument is
--firstdisk=ST3120814A,mptsas,local. You can use localesx for
local storage that contains ESXi image or remoteesx for remote storage
that contains ESXi image.
reboot (optional)
Reboots the machine after the scripted installation is complete.
<--noeject> The CD is not ejected after the installation.
rootpw (required)
Sets the root password for the system.
--iscrypted Specifies that the password is encrypted.
password Specifies the password value.
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upgrade
Either the install, upgrade, or installorupgrade command is required to determine which disk to
install or upgrade ESXi on.
--disk= or --drive= Specifies the disk to partition. In the command --disk=diskname, the
diskname can be in any of the forms shown in the following examples:
nPath: --disk=/vmfs/devices/disks/mpx.vmhba1:C0:T0:L0
nMPX name: --disk=mpx.vmhba1:C0:T0:L0
nVML name: --disk=vml.000000034211234
nvmkLUN UID:--disk=vmkLUN_UID
For accepted disk name formats, see Disk Device Names.
--firstdisk=
disk-type1,
[disk-type2,...]
Partitions the first eligible disk found. By default, the eligible disks are set to
the following order:
1 Locally attached storage (local)
2 Network storage (remote)
3 USB disks (usb)
You can change the order of the disks by using a comma-separated list
appended to the argument. If you provide a filter list, the default settings are
overridden. You can combine filters to specify a particular disk, including
esx for the first disk with ESX installed on it, model and vendor information,
or the name of the vmkernel device driver. For example, to prefer a disk
with the model name ST3120814A and any disk that uses the mptsas
driver rather than a normal local disk, the argument is
--firstdisk=ST3120814A,mptsas,local. You can use localesx for
local storage that contains ESXi image or remoteesx for remote storage
that contains ESXi image.
%include or include (optional)
Specifies another installation script to parse. This command is treated similarly to a multiline command,
but takes only one argument.
filename For example: %include part.cfg
%pre (optional)
Specifies a script to run before the kickstart configuration is evaluated. For example, you can use it to
generate files for the kickstart file to include.
--interpreter
=[python|busybox]
Specifies an interpreter to use. The default is busybox.
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%post (optional)
Runs the specified script after package installation is complete. If you specify multiple %post sections,
they run in the order that they appear in the installation script.
--interpreter
=[python|busybox]
Specifies an interpreter to use. The default is busybox.
--timeout=secs Specifies a timeout for running the script. If the script is not finished when
the timeout expires, the script is forcefully terminated.
--ignorefailure
=[true|false]
If true, the installation is considered a success even if the %post script
terminated with an error.
%firstboot
Creates an init script that runs only during the first boot. The script has no effect on subsequent boots. If
multiple %firstboot sections are specified, they run in the order that they appear in the kickstart file.
Note You cannot check the semantics of %firstboot scripts until the system is booting for the first time.
A %firstboot script might contain potentially catastrophic errors that are not exposed until after the
installation is complete.
--interpreter
=[python|busybox]
Specifies an interpreter to use. The default is busybox.
Note You cannot check the semantics of the %firstboot script until the system boots for the first time.
If the script contains errors, they are not exposed until after the installation is complete.
Disk Device Names
The install, upgrade, and installorupgrade installation script commands require the use of disk
device names.
Table 513. Disk Device Names
Format Example Description
VML vml.00025261 The device name as reported by the
VMkernel
MPX mpx.vmhba0:C0:T0:L0 The device name
About the boot.cfg File
The boot loader configuration file boot.cfg specifies the kernel, the kernel options, and the boot modules
that the mboot.c32 or mboot.efi boot loader uses in an ESXi installation.
The boot.cfg file is provided in the ESXi installer. You can modify the kernelopt line of the boot.cfg
file to specify the location of an installation script or to pass other boot options.
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The boot.cfg file has the following syntax:
# boot.cfg -- mboot configuration file
#
# Any line preceded with '#' is a comment.
title=STRING
prefix=DIRPATH
kernel=FILEPATH
kernelopt=STRING
modules=FILEPATH1 --- FILEPATH2... --- FILEPATHn
# Any other line must remain unchanged.
The commands in boot.cfg configure the boot loader.
Table 514. Commands in boot.cfg .
Command Description
title=STRING Sets the boot loader title to STRING.
prefix=STRING (Optional) AddsDIRPATH/ in front of every FILEPATH in the
kernel= and modules= commands that do not already start
with / or with http://.
kernel=FILEPATH Sets the kernel path to FILEPATH.
kernelopt=STRING Appends STRING to the kernel boot options.
modules=FILEPATH1 --- FILEPATH2... --- FILEPATHn Lists the modules to be loaded, separated by three hyphens
(---).
See Create an Installer ISO Image with a Custom Installation or Upgrade Script and PXE Booting the
ESXi Installer.
Install or Upgrade ESXi from a CD or DVD by Using a Script
You can install or upgrade ESXi from a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive by using a script that specifies the
installation or upgrade options.
You can start the installation or upgrade script by entering a boot option when you start the host. You can
also create an installer ISO image that includes the installation script. With an installer ISO image, you
can perform a scripted, unattended installation when you boot the resulting installer ISO image. See
Create an Installer ISO Image with a Custom Installation or Upgrade Script.
Prerequisites
Before you run the scripted installation or upgrade, verify that the following prerequisites are met:
nThe system on which you are installing or upgrading meets the hardware requirements. See ESXi
Hardware Requirements.
nYou have the ESXi installer ISO on an installation CD or DVD . See Download and Burn the ESXi
Installer ISO Image to a CD or DVD.
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nThe default installation or upgrade script (ks.cfg) or a custom installation or upgrade script is
accessible to the system. See About Installation and Upgrade Scripts.
nYou have selected a boot command to run the scripted installation or upgrade. See Enter Boot
Options to Start an Installation or Upgrade Script. For a complete list of boot commands, see Boot
Options.
Procedure
1Boot the ESXi installer from the local CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive.
2When the ESXi installer window appears, press Shift+O to edit boot options.
3Type a boot option that calls the default installation or upgrade script or an installation or upgrade
script file that you created.
The boot option has the form ks=.
4Press Enter.
The installation, upgrade, or migration runs, using the options that you specified.
Install or Upgrade ESXi from a USB Flash Drive by Using a Script
You can install or upgrade ESXi from a USB flash drive by using a script that specifies the installation or
upgrade options.
Supported boot options are listed in Boot Options.
Prerequisites
Before running the scripted installation or upgrade, verify that the following prerequisites are met:
nThe system that you are installing or upgrading to ESXi meets the hardware requirements for the
installation or upgrade. See ESXi Hardware Requirements.
nYou have the ESXi installer ISO on a bootable USB flash drive. See Format a USB Flash Drive to
Boot the ESXi Installation or Upgrade.
nThe default installation or upgrade script (ks.cfg) or a custom installation or upgrade script is
accessible to the system. See About Installation and Upgrade Scripts.
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nYou have selected a boot option to run the scripted installation, upgrade, or migration. See Enter Boot
Options to Start an Installation or Upgrade Script.
Procedure
1Boot the ESXi installer from the USB flash drive.
2When the ESXi installer window appears, press Shift+O to edit boot options.
3Type a boot option that calls the default installation or upgrade script or an installation or upgrade
script file that you created.
The boot option has the form ks=.
4Press Enter.
The installation, upgrade, or migration runs, using the options that you specified.
Performing a Scripted Installation or Upgrade of ESXi by Using PXE to Boot
the Installer
ESXi 6.7 provides many options for using PXE to boot the installer and using an installation or upgrade
script.
nFor information about setting up a PXE infrastructure, see PXE Booting the ESXi Installer.
nFor information about creating and locating an installation script, see About Installation and Upgrade
Scripts.
nFor specific procedures to use PXE to boot the ESXi installer and use an installation script, see one
of the following topics:
nPXE Boot the ESXi Installer Using a Web Server
nPXE Boot the ESXi Installer Using TFTP
nFor information about using vSphere Auto Deploy to perform a scripted installation by using PXE to
boot, see Installing ESXi Using vSphere Auto Deploy.
PXE Booting the ESXi Installer
You can use the preboot execution environment (PXE) to boot a host. Starting with vSphere 6.0, you can
PXE boot the ESXi installer from a network interface on hosts with legacy BIOS or using UEFI.
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ESXi is distributed in an ISO format that is designed to install to flash memory or to a local hard drive. You
can extract the files and boot by using PXE.
PXE uses Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) to boot
an operating system over a network.
PXE booting requires some network infrastructure and a machine with a PXE-capable network adapter.
Most machines that can run ESXi have network adapters that can PXE boot.
Note PXE booting with legacy BIOS firmware is possible only over IPv4. PXE booting with UEFI
firmware is possible with either IPv4 or IPv6.
Overview of the PXE Boot Installation Process
Some of the details of the PXE boot process vary depending on whether the target host is using legacy
BIOS or UEFI firmware, and whether the boot process uses TFTP only or TFTP plus HTTP.
When you boot the target host, it interacts with the different servers in the environment to get the network
adapter, boot loader, kernel, IP address for the kernel, and finally the installation script. When all
components are in place, installation starts, as shown in the following illustration.
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Figure 53. Overview of PXE Boot Installation Process
ESXi target host
DHCP server
TFTP server
Web server or
TFTP server
DHCP server
script depot
ESXi host
Installer
starts
TCP
ks.cfg
Give me an
installation script
UDP
IP
Give me an IP
for the kernel
TCP or UDP
kernel
Give me
the kernel
UDP
mboot and supporting files
Give me the
network boot loader
UDP
IP & TFTP server
Give me an
IP for the
network adapter
The interaction between the ESXi host and other servers proceeds as follows:
1 The user boots the target ESXi host.
2 The target ESXi host makes a DHCP request.
3 The DHCP server responds with the IP information and the location of the TFTP server.
4 The ESXi host contacts the TFTP server and requests the file that the DHCP server specified.
5 The TFTP server sends the network boot loader, and the ESXi host executes it. The initial boot loader
might load additional boot loader components from the TFTP server.
6 The boot loader searches for a configuration file on the TFTP server, downloads the kernel and other
ESXi components from the HTTP server or the TFTP server and boots the kernel on the ESXi host.
7 The installer runs interactively or using a kickstart script, as specified in the configuration file.
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PXE Boot the ESXi Installer Using TFTP
You can use a TFTP server to PXE boot the ESXi installer. The process differs slightly depending on
whether you use UEFI or boot from a legacy BIOS. Because most environments include ESXi hosts that
support UEFI boot and hosts that support only legacy BIOS, this topic discusses prerequisites and steps
for both types of hosts.
nFor legacy BIOS machines, the procedure supports booting multiple different versions of the ESXi
installer by using the same pxelinux.0 or gpxelinux.0 initial boot loader for all target machines,
but potentially different PXELINUX configuration files depending on the target machine's MAC
address.
nFor UEFI machines, the procedure supports booting multiple different versions of the ESXi installer by
using the same mboot.efi initial boot loader for all target machines, but potentially different
boot.cfg files depending on the target machine's MAC address.
Prerequisites
Verify that your environment meets the following prerequisites.
nESXi installer ISO image, downloaded from the VMware Web site.
nTarget host with a hardware configuration that is supported for your version of ESXi. See the VMware
Compatibility Guide.
nNetwork adapter with PXE support on the target ESXi host.
nDHCP server configured for PXE booting. See Sample DHCP Configurations.
nTFTP server.
nNetwork security policies to allow TFTP traffic (UDP port 69).
nFor legacy BIOS, you can use only IPv4 networking. For UEFI PXE boot, you can use IPv4 or IPv6
networking.
n(Optional) Installation script (kickstart file).
nUse a native VLAN in most cases. If you want to specify the VLAN ID to be used with PXE booting,
check that your NIC supports VLAN ID specification.
For legacy BIOS systems, version 3.86 of the SYSLINUX package, available from
https://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/.
Procedure
1Configure the DHCP server for TFTP boot.
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2(Legacy BIOS only) Obtain and configure PXELINUX:
a Obtain SYSLINUX version 3.86, unpack it, and copy the pxelinux.0 file to the top-
level /tftpboot directory on your TFTP server.
b Create a PXELINUX configuration file using the following code model.
ESXi-6.x.x-XXXXXX is the name of the TFTP subdirectory that contains the ESXi installer files.
DEFAULT install
NOHALT 1
LABEL install
KERNEL ESXi-6.x.x-XXXXXX/mboot.c32
APPEND -c ESXi-6.x.x-XXXXXX/boot.cfg
IPAPPEND 2
c Save the PXELINUX file in the /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg directory on your TFTP server with a
filename that will determine whether all hosts boot this installer by default:
Option Description
Same installer Name the file default if you want for all host to boot this ESXi installer by
default.
Different installers Name the file with the MAC address of the target host machine (01-
mac_address_of_target_ESXi_host) if you want only a specific host to boot
with this file, for example, 01-23-45-67-89-0a-bc.
3(UEFI only) Copy the file efi/boot/bootx64.efi from the ESXi installer ISO image
to /tftpboot/mboot.efi on your TFTP server.
Note Newer versions of mboot.efi can generally boot older versions of ESXi, but older versions of
mboot.efi might be unable to boot newer versions of ESXi. If you plan to configure different hosts to
boot different versions of the ESXi installer, use the mboot.efi from the newest version.
4Create a subdirectory of your TFTP server's top-level /tftpboot directory and name it after the
version of ESXi it will hold, for example, /tftpboot/ESXi-6.x.x-xxxxx.
5Copy the contents of the ESXi installer image to the directory you just created.
6Modify the boot.cfg file
a Add the following line:
prefix=ESXi-6.x.x-xxxxxx
Here, ESXi-6.x.x-xxxxxx is the pathname of the installer files relative to the TFTP server's root
directory.
b If the filenames in the kernel= and modules= lines begin with a forward slash (/) character,
delete that character.
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7(Optional) For a scripted installation, in the boot.cfg file, add the kernelopt option to the line after
the kernel command, to specify the location of the installation script.
Use the following code as a model, where XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX is the IP address of the server where
the installation script resides, and esxi_ksFiles is the directory that contains the ks.cfg file.
kernelopt=ks=http://XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX/esxi_ksFiles/ks.cfg
8(UEFI only) Specify whether you want for all UEFI hosts to boot the same installer.
Option Description
Same installer Copy or link the boot.cfg file to /tftpboot/boot.cfg
Different installers a Create a subdirectory of /tftpboot named after the MAC address of the
target host machine (01-mac_address_of_target_ESXi_host), for example,
01-23-45-67-89-0a-bc.
b Place a copy of (or a link to) the host's boot.cfg file in that directory, for
example, /tftpboot/01-23-45-67-89-0a-bc/boot.cfg.
PXE Boot the ESXi Installer Using a Web Server
You can use a Web server to PXE boot the ESXi installer. Because most environments include ESXi
hosts that support UEFI boot and hosts that support only legacy BIOS, this topic discusses prerequisites
and steps for both types of hosts.
nFor legacy BIOS machines, the procedure supports booting multiple different versions of the ESXi
installer by using the same pxelinux.0 or gpxelinux.0 initial boot loader for all target machines,
but potentially different PXELINUX configuration files depending on the target machine's MAC
address.
nFor UEFI machines, the procedure supports booting multiple different versions of the ESXi installer by
using the same mboot.efi initial boot loader for all target machines, but potentially different
boot.cfg files depending on the target machine's MAC address.
Prerequisites
Verify that your environment has the following components:
nESXi installer ISO image, downloaded from the VMware Web site.
nTarget host with a hardware configuration that is supported for your version of ESXi. See the VMware
Compatibility Guide.
nNetwork adapter with PXE support on the target ESXi host.
nDHCP server configured for PXE booting. See Sample DHCP Configurations.
nTFTP server.
nNetwork security policies to allow TFTP traffic (UDP port 69).
nFor legacy BIOS, you can use only IPv4 networking. For UEFI PXE boot, you can use IPv4 or IPv6
networking.
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n(Optional) Installation script (kickstart file).
nUse a native VLAN in most cases. If you want to specify the VLAN ID to be used with PXE booting,
check that your NIC supports VLAN ID specification.
Verify that your environment also meets the following prerequisites required for PXE boot using a Web
Server:
nVerify that the HTTP Web server is accessible by your target ESXi hosts.
n(UEFI) Obtain iPXE, available at http://ipxe.org.
n(Legacy BIOS) Obtain version 3.86 of the SYSLINUX package, available from
https://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/.
Procedure
1Configure the DHCP server for HTTP boot.
2(UEFI only) Obtain and configure iPXE:
a Obtain the iPXE source code, as described at http://ipxe.org/download.
b Follow the instructions on that page, but use the following make command:
make bin-x86_64-efi/snponly.efi
c Copy the resulting file snponly.efi to /tftpboot directory on your TFTP server.
3(UEFI only) Copy the file efi/boot/bootx64.efi from the ESXi installer ISO image
to /tftpboot/mboot.efi on your TFTP server.
Note Newer versions of mboot.efi can generally boot older versions of ESXi, but older versions of
mboot.efi might be unable to boot newer versions of ESXi. If you plan to configure different hosts to
boot different versions of the ESXi installer, use the mboot.efi from the newest version.
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4(Legacy BIOS only) Obtain and configure PXELINUX:
a Obtain SYSLINUX version 3.86, unpack it, and copy the gpxelinux.0 file to the top-
level /tftpboot directory on your TFTP server.
b Create a PXELINUX configuration file using the following code model.
ESXi-6.x.x-XXXXXX is the name of the TFTP subdirectory that contains the ESXi installer files.
DEFAULT install
NOHALT 1
LABEL install
KERNEL ESXi-6.x.x-XXXXXX/mboot.c32
APPEND -c ESXi-6.x.x-XXXXXX/boot.cfg
IPAPPEND 2
c Save the PXELINUX file in the /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg directory on your TFTP server with a
filename that will determine whether all hosts boot this installer by default:
Option Description
Same installer Name the file default if you want for all host to boot this ESXi installer by
default.
Different installers Name the file with the MAC address of the target host machine (01-
mac_address_of_target_ESXi_host) if you want only a specific host to boot
with this file, for example, 01-23-45-67-89-0a-bc.
5Create a directory on your HTTP server named for the version of ESXi it will hold, for
example, /var/www/html/ESXi-6.x.x-XXXXXX.
6Copy the contents of the ESXi installer image to the directory you just created.
7Modify the boot.cfg file
a Add the following line:
prefix=http://XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX/ESXi-6.x.x-XXXXXX
where http://XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX/ESXi-6.x.x-XXXXXX is the location of the installer files on
the HTTP server.
b If the filenames in the kernel= and modules= lines begin with a forward slash (/) character,
delete that character.
8(Optional) For a scripted installation, in the boot.cfg file, add the kernelopt option to the line after
the kernel command, to specify the location of the installation script.
Use the following code as a model, where XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX is the IP address of the server where
the installation script resides, and esxi_ksFiles is the directory that contains the ks.cfg file.
kernelopt=ks=http://XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX/esxi_ksFiles/ks.cfg
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9(UEFI only) Specify whether you want for all UEFI hosts to boot the same installer.
Option Description
Same installer Copy or link the boot.cfg file to /tftpboot/boot.cfg
Different installers a Create a subdirectory of /tftpboot named after the MAC address of the
target host machine (01-mac_address_of_target_ESXi_host), for example,
01-23-45-67-89-0a-bc.
b Place a copy of (or a link to) the host's boot.cfg file in that directory, for
example, /tftpboot/01-23-45-67-89-0a-bc/boot.cfg.
Installing ESXi Using vSphere Auto Deploy
vSphere Auto Deploy lets you provision hundreds of physical hosts with ESXi software.
Using Auto Deploy, experienced system administrators can manage large deployments efficiently. Hosts
are network-booted from a central Auto Deploy server. Optionally, hosts are configured with a host profile
of a reference host. The host profile can be set up to prompt the user for input. After boot up and
configuration complete, the hosts are managed by vCenter Server just like other ESXi hosts.
Auto Deploy can also be used for stateless caching or stateful installs.
Important Auto Deploy requires a secure separation between the production network and the
management or deployment networks as discussed in vSphere Auto Deploy Security Considerations.
Using Auto Deploy without this separation is insecure.
Stateless caching By default, Auto Deploy does not store ESXi configuration or state on the
host disk. Instead, an image profile defines the image that the host is
provisioned with, and other host attributes are managed through host
profiles. A host that uses Auto Deploy for stateless caching still needs to
connect to the Auto Deploy server and the vCenter Server.
Stateful installs You can provision a host with Auto Deploy and set up the host to store the
image to disk. On subsequent boots, the host boots from disk.
Understanding vSphere Auto Deploy
vSphere Auto Deploy can provision hundreds of physical hosts with ESXi software. You can specify the
image to deploy and the hosts to provision with the image. Optionally, you can specify host profiles to
apply to the hosts, a vCenter Server location (datacenter, folder or cluster), and assign a script bundle for
each host.
Introduction to vSphere Auto Deploy
When you start a physical host that is set up for vSphere Auto Deploy, vSphere Auto Deploy uses PXE
boot infrastructure in conjunction with vSphere host profiles to provision and customize that host. No state
is stored on the host itself. Instead, the vSphere Auto Deploy server manages state information for each
host.
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State Information for ESXi Hosts
vSphere Auto Deploy stores the information for the ESXi hosts to be provisioned in different locations.
Information about the location of image profiles and host profiles is initially specified in the rules that map
machines to image profiles and host profiles.
Table 515. vSphere Auto Deploy Stores Information for Deployment
Information Type Description Source of Information
Image state The executable software to run on an ESXi host. Image profile, created with vSphere ESXi Image
Builder.
Configuration state The configurable settings that determine how the
host is configured, for example, virtual switches and
their settings, driver settings, boot parameters, and
so on.
Host profile, created by using the host profile UI.
Often comes from a template host.
Dynamic state The runtime state that is generated by the running
software, for example, generated private keys or
runtime databases.
Host memory, lost during reboot.
Virtual machine
state
The virtual machines stored on a host and virtual
machine autostart information (subsequent boots
only).
Virtual machine information sent by vCenter Server to
vSphere Auto Deploy must be available to supply
virtual machine information to vSphere Auto Deploy.
User input State that is based on user input, for example, an IP
address that the user provides when the system
starts up, cannot automatically be included in the
host profile.
Host customization information, stored by
vCenter Server during first boot.
You can create a host profile that requires user input
for certain values.
When vSphere Auto Deploy applies a host profile that
requires user provided information, the host is placed
in maintenance mode. Use the host profile UI to
check the host profile compliance, and respond to the
prompt to customize the host.
vSphere Auto Deploy Architecture
The vSphere Auto Deploy infrastructure consists of several components.
For more information, watch the video "Auto Deploy Architecture":
Auto Deploy Architecture (http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid2296383276001?
bctid=ref:video_auto_deploy_architecture)
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Figure 54. vSphere Auto Deploy Architecture
HTTP fetch of images/VIBs
and host profiles (iPXE boot
and update)
Host profile
UI
Host profiles and
host customization
Host profile
engine
ESXi host
Plug-in
VIBs and
image profiles
Public depot
Fetch of predefined image
profiles and VIBs
Auto Deploy
PowerCLI
Image
Profiles
Rules Engine Image Builder
PowerCLI
Auto Deploy
server
(Web server)
vSphere Auto Deploy
server
Serves images and host profiles to ESXi hosts.
vSphere Auto Deploy
rules engine
Sends information to the vSphere Auto Deploy server which image profile
and which host profile to serve to which host. Administrators use vSphere
Auto Deploy to define the rules that assign image profiles and host profiles
to hosts. For more information on vSphere Auto Deploy rules and rule sets,
see Rules and Rule Sets.
Image profiles Define the set of VIBs to boot ESXi hosts with.
nVMware and VMware partners make image profiles and VIBs available
in public depots. Use vSphere ESXi Image Builder to examine the
depot and use the vSphere Auto Deploy rules engine to specify which
image profile to assign to which host.
nVMware customers can create a custom image profile based on the
public image profiles and VIBs in the depot and apply that image profile
to the host. See Customizing Installations with vSphere ESXi Image
Builder.
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Host profiles Define machine-specific configuration such as networking or storage setup.
Use the host profile UI to create host profiles. You can create a host profile
for a reference host and apply that host profile to other hosts in your
environment for a consistent configuration. For more information, see the
vSphere Host Profiles documentation or the Setting Up a vSphere Auto
Deploy Reference Host section.
Host customization Stores information that the user provides when host profiles are applied to
the host. Host customization might contain an IP address or other
information that the user supplied for that host. For more information about
host customizations, see the vSphere Host Profiles documentation.
Host customization was called answer file in earlier releases of vSphere
Auto Deploy.
Rules and Rule Sets
You specify the behavior of the vSphere Auto Deploy server by using a set of rules. The vSphere Auto
Deploy rules engine checks the rule set for matching host patterns to decide which items (image profile,
host profile, vCenter Server location, or script object) to provision each host with.
The rules engine maps software and configuration settings to hosts based on the attributes of the host.
For example, you can deploy image profiles or host profiles to two clusters of hosts by writing two rules,
each matching on the network address of one cluster.
For hosts that have not yet been added to a vCenter Server system, the vSphere Auto Deploy server
checks with the rules engine before serving image profiles, host profiles, and inventory location
information to hosts. For hosts that are managed by a vCenter Server system, the image profile, host
profile, and inventory location that vCenter Server has stored in the host object is used. If you make
changes to rules, you can use the vSphere Web Client or vSphere Auto Deploy cmdlets in a PowerCLI
session to test and repair rule compliance. When you repair rule compliance for a host, that host's image
profile and host profile assignments are updated.
The rules engine includes rules and rule sets.
Rules Rules can assign image profiles and host profiles to a set of hosts, or
specify the location (folder or cluster) of a host on the target vCenter Server
system. A rule can identify target hosts by boot MAC address, SMBIOS
information, BIOS UUID, Vendor, Model, or fixed DHCP IP address. In most
cases, rules apply to multiple hosts. You create rules by using the
vSphere Web Client or vSphere Auto Deploy cmdlets in a PowerCLI
session. After you create a rule, you must add it to a rule set. Only two rule
sets, the active rule set and the working rule set, are supported. A rule can
belong to both sets, the default, or only to the working rule set. After you
add a rule to a rule set, you can no longer change the rule. Instead, you
copy the rule and replace items or patterns in the copy. If you are managing
vSphere Auto Deploy with the vSphere Web Client, you can edit a rule if it
is in inactive state.
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You can specify the following parameters in a rule.
Parameter Description
Name Name of the rule, specified with the -Name parameter.
Item One or more items, specified with the -Item parameter. An item can be an
image profile, a host profile, a vCenter Server inventory location (datacenter,
folder, cluster) for the target host, or a custom script. You can specify multiple
items separated by commas.
Pattern The pattern specifies the host or group of hosts to which the rule applies.
vendor Machine vendor name.
model Machine model name.
serial Machine serial number.
hostname Machine hostname.
domain Domain name.
ipv4 IPv4 address of the machine.
ipv6 IPv6 address of the machine.
PXE booting with BIOS firmware is possible only with
IPv4, PXE booting with UEFI firmware is possible with
either IPv4 or IPv6.
mac Boot NIC MAC address.
asset Machine asset tag.
oemstring OEM-specific strings in the SMBIOS.
You can specify -AllHosts to apply the item or items to all hosts.
Active Rule Set When a newly started host contacts the vSphere Auto Deploy server with a
request for an image profile, the vSphere Auto Deploy server checks the
active rule set for matching rules. The image profile, host profile,
vCenter Server inventory location, and script object that are mapped by
matching rules are then used to boot the host. If more than one item of the
same type is mapped by the rules, the vSphere Auto Deploy server uses
the item that is first in the rule set.
Working Rule Set The working rule set allows you to test changes to rules before making the
changes active. For example, you can use vSphere Auto Deploy cmdlets
for testing compliance with the working rule set. The test verifies that hosts
managed by a vCenter Server system are following the rules in the working
rule set. By default, cmdlets add the rule to the working rule set and
activate the rules. Use the NoActivate parameter to add a rule only to the
working rule set.
You use the following workflow with rules and rule sets.
1 Make changes to the working rule set.
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2 Test the working rule set rules against a host to make sure that everything is working correctly.
3 Refine and retest the rules in the working rule set.
4 Activate the rules in the working rule set.
If you add a rule in a PowerCLI session and do not specify the NoActivate parameter, all rules that
are currently in the working rule set are activated. You cannot activate individual rules.
See the PowerCLI command-line help and Managing vSphere Auto Deploy with PowerCLI Cmdlets for
more information on using vSphere Auto Deploy with PowerCLI cmdlets. See Managing vSphere Auto
Deploy with the vSphere Web Client for more information on using vSphere Auto Deploy with the
vSphere Web Client.
vSphere Auto Deploy Boot Process
When you boot a host that you want to provision or reprovision with vSphere Auto Deploy, the vSphere
Auto Deploy infrastructure supplies the image profile and, optionally, a host profile, a vCenter Server
location, and script bundle for that host.
The boot process is different for hosts that have not yet been provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy (first
boot) and for hosts that have been provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy and added to a vCenter Server
system (subsequent boot).
First Boot Prerequisites
Before a first boot process, you must set up your system. Setup includes the following tasks, which are
discussed in more detail in Preparing for vSphere Auto Deploy.
nSet up a DHCP server that assigns an IP address to each host upon startup and that points the host
to the TFTP server to download the iPXE boot loader from.
nIf the hosts that you plan to provision with vSphere Auto Deploy are with legacy BIOS, verify that the
vSphere Auto Deploy server has an IPv4 address. PXE booting with legacy BIOS firmware is possible
only over IPv4. PXE booting with UEFI firmware is possible with either IPv4 or IPv6.
nIdentify an image profile to be used in one of the following ways.
nChoose an ESXi image profile in a public depot.
n(Optional) Create a custom image profile by using vSphere ESXi Image Builder, and place the
image profile in a depot that the vSphere Auto Deploy server can access. The image profile must
include a base ESXi VIB.
n(Optional) If you have a reference host in your environment, export the host profile of the reference
host and define a rule that applies the host profile to one or more hosts. See Setting Up a vSphere
Auto Deploy Reference Host.
nSpecify rules for the deployment of the host and add the rules to the active rule set.
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First Boot Overview
When a host that has not yet been provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy boots (first boot), the host
interacts with several vSphere Auto Deploy components.
1 When the administrator turns on a host, the host starts a PXE boot sequence.
The DHCP Server assigns an IP address to the host and instructs the host to contact the TFTP
server.
2 The host contacts the TFTP server and downloads the iPXE file (executable boot loader) and an
iPXE configuration file.
3 iPXE starts executing.
The configuration file instructs the host to make a HTTP boot request to the vSphere Auto Deploy
server. The HTTP request includes hardware and network information.
4 In response, the vSphere Auto Deploy server performs these tasks:
a Queries the rules engine for information about the host.
b Streams the components specified in the image profile, the optional host profile, and optional
vCenter Server location information.
5 The host boots using the image profile.
If the vSphere Auto Deploy server provided a host profile, the host profile is applied to the host.
6 vSphere Auto Deploy adds the host to thevCenter Server system that vSphere Auto Deploy is
registered with.
a If a rule specifies a target folder or cluster on the vCenter Server system, the host is placed in that
folder or cluster. The target folder must be under a data center.
b If no rule exists that specifies a vCenter Server inventory location, vSphere Auto Deploy adds the
host to the first datacenter displayed in the vSphere Web Client UI.
7 (Optional) If the host profile requires the user to specify certain information, such as a static IP
address, the host is placed in maintenance mode when the host is added to the vCenter Server
system.
You must reapply the host profile and update the host customization to have the host exit
maintenance mode. When you update the host customization, answer any questions when prompted.
8 If the host is part of a DRS cluster, virtual machines from other hosts might be migrated to the host
after the host has successfully been added to the vCenter Server system.
See Provision a Host (First Boot).
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Figure 55. vSphere Auto Deploy Installation, First Boot
PXE
Host sends hardware
and network information
to Auto Deploy server
Auto Deploy server
streams host and image
profiles to the host
Host boots using
image profile
Subsequent Boots Without Updates
For hosts that are provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy and managed by avCenter Server system,
subsequent boots can become completely automatic.
1 The administrator reboots the host.
2 As the host boots up, vSphere Auto Deploy provisions the host with its image profile and host profile.
3 Virtual machines are brought up or migrated to the host based on the settings of the host.
nStandalone host. Virtual machines are powered on according to autostart rules defined on the
host.
nDRS cluster host. Virtual machines that were successfully migrated to other hosts stay there.
Virtual machines for which no host had enough resources are registered to the rebooted host.
If the vCenter Server system is unavailable, the host contacts the vSphere Auto Deploy server and is
provisioned with an image profile. The host continues to contact the vSphere Auto Deploy server until
vSphere Auto Deploy reconnects to the vCenter Server system.
vSphere Auto Deploy cannot set up vSphere distributed switches if vCenter Server is unavailable, and
virtual machines are assigned to hosts only if they participate in an HA cluster. Until the host is
reconnected to vCenter Server and the host profile is applied, the switch cannot be created. Because the
host is in maintenance mode, virtual machines cannot start. See Reprovision Hosts with Simple Reboot
Operations.
Any hosts that are set up to require user input are placed in maintenance mode. See Update the Host
Customization in the vSphere Web Client.
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Subsequent Boots With Updates
You can change the image profile, host profile, vCenter Server location, or script bundle for hosts. The
process includes changing rules and testing and repairing the host's rule compliance.
1 The administrator uses the Copy-DeployRule PowerCLI cmdlet to copy and edit one or more rules
and updates the rule set. See Overview of the vSphere Auto Deploy Process by Using PowerCLI for
an example.
2 The administrator runs the Test-DeployRulesetCompliance cmdlet to check whether each host is
using the information that the current rule set specifies.
3 The host returns a PowerCLI object that encapsulates compliance information.
4 The administrator runs the Repair-DeployRulesetCompliance cmdlet to update the image profile,
host profile, or vCenter Server location the vCenter Server system stores for each host.
5 When the host reboots, it uses the updated image profile, host profile, vCenter Server location, or
script bundle for the host.
If the host profile is set up to request user input, the host is placed in maintenance mode. Follow the
steps in Update the Host Customization in the vSphere Web Client.
See Test and Repair Rule Compliance.
Figure 56. vSphere Auto Deploy Installation, Subsequent Boots
Subsequent Boot with Image Update
Subsequent Boot with No Update
Reboot host
vCenter Server
provisions host using
host and image pofiles
Use updated
image profile
Update the host and image
profile associations stored
in vCenter Server
Check rule set
compliance
Edit and update rule set
(Optional)
Provisioning of Systems that Have Distributed Switches
You can configure the host profile of a vSphere Auto Deploy reference host with a distributed switch.
When you configure the distributed switch, the boot configuration parameters policy is automatically set to
match the network parameters required for host connectivity after a reboot.
When vSphere Auto Deploy provisions the ESXi host with the host profile, the host goes through a two-
step process.
1 The host creates a standard virtual switch with the properties specified in the boot configuration
parameters field.
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2 The host creates the VMkernel NICs. The VMkernel NICs allow the host to connect to vSphere Auto
Deploy and to the vCenter Server system.
When the host is added to vCenter Server, vCenter Server removes the standard switch and reapplies
the distributed switch to the host.
Note Do not change the boot configuration parameters to avoid problems with your distributed switch.
Overview of the vSphere Auto Deploy Process by Using the vSphere Web Client
Getting started with vSphere Auto Deploy requires that you learn how vSphere Auto Deploy works, start
the vSphere Auto Deploy and vSphere ESXi Image Builder vCenter Server services, create deploy rules
that provision hosts, and power on your hosts to be booted with the image profile you specify.
The workflow for provisioning the hosts in your environment with vSphere Auto Deploy includes the
following tasks:
1 Install vCenter Server and the vCenter Server components, or deploy the vCenter Server Appliance.
The vSphere Auto Deploy server is included with the management node.
2 Configure the vSphere Auto Deploy and vSphere ESXi Image Builder service startup types.
See Prepare Your System for vSphere Auto Deploy.
3 Add or import a software depot to the vSphere Auto Deploy inventory.
See Add a Software Depot or Import a Software Depot.
4 (Optional) If you want to create a custom image profile, clone or create an image profile by using the
vSphere Web Client.
See Clone an Image Profile or Create an Image Profile.
5 Create a deploy rule that assigns the image profile to one host, to multiple hosts specified by a
pattern, or to all hosts..
See Create a Deploy Rule.
Note vSphere Auto Deploy is optimized for provisioning hosts that have a fixed MAC address to IP
address mapping in DHCP (sometimes called DHCP reservations). If you want to use static IP
addresses, you must set up the host profile to prompt for host customization. For more information,
see the vSphere Host Profiles documentation.
6 Power on the hosts that you want to provision.
7 Set up the host you provisioned as a reference host for your host profile.
You can specify the reference host syslog settings, firewall settings, storage, networking, and so on.
8 Extract a host profile from the reference host.
See the Host Profiles documentation.
9 To provision multiple hosts with the host profile, clone or edit the previously created rule by using the
vSphere Web Client.
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See Clone a Deploy Rule or Editing a Deploy Rule.
10 Activate the new rule and deactivate the old one.
See Activate, Deactivate, and Reorder Deploy Rules.
11 Remediate the host associations to apply the new rule to the host.
See Remediate a Non-compliant Host.
12 Verify that the hosts you provisioned meet the following requirements.
nEach host is connected to the vCenter Server system.
nThe hosts are not in maintenance mode.
nThe hosts have no compliance failures.
nEach host with a host profile that requires user input has up-to-date host customization
information.
Remediate host associations and compliance problems and reboot hosts until all hosts meet the
requirements.
Read for an introduction to the boot process, differences between first and subsequent boots, and an
overview of using host customization.
Overview of the vSphere Auto Deploy Process by Using PowerCLI
Getting started with vSphere Auto Deploy requires that you learn how vSphere Auto Deploy works, install
the vSphere Auto Deploy server, install PowerCLI, write PowerCLI rules that provision hosts, and power
on your hosts to be booted with the image profile you specify. You can customize of the image profile,
host profile, and vCenter Server location.
See Set Up vSphere Auto Deploy and Provision Hosts with vSphere PowerCLI for a step-by-step
exercise that helps you set up your first vSphere Auto Deploy environment on a Windows Server 2008
system.
To provision the hosts in your environment with vSphere Auto Deploy successfully, you can follow these
steps.
1 Install vCenter Server and the vCenter Server components, or deploy the vCenter Server Appliance.
The vSphere Auto Deploy server is included with the management node.
2 Configure the vSphere Auto Deploy service startup type.
See Prepare Your System for vSphere Auto Deploy.
3 Install PowerCLI, which includes vSphere Auto Deploy and vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets.
See Prepare Your System for vSphere Auto Deploy and Using vSphere Auto Deploy Cmdlets.
4 Find the image profile that includes the VIBs that you want to deploy to your hosts.
nIn most cases, you add the depots containing the required software to your PowerCLI session,
and then select an image profile from one of those depots.
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nTo create a custom image profile, use vSphere ESXi Image Builder cmdlets to clone an existing
image profile and add the custom VIBs to the clone. Add the custom image profile to the
PowerCLI session.
You must use vSphere ESXi Image Builder for customization only if you have to add or remove VIBs.
In most cases, you can add the depot where VMware hosts the image profiles to your PowerCLI
session as a URL.
5 Start a PowerCLI session and connect to the vCenter Server system that vSphere Auto Deploy is
registered with.
6 Use the New-DeployRule PowerCLI cmdlet to write a rule that assigns the image profile to one host,
to multiple hosts specified by a pattern, or to all hosts.
New-DeployRule -Name "testrule" -Item image-profile -AllHosts
See Assign an Image Profile to Hosts.
Note vSphere Auto Deploy is optimized for provisioning hosts that have a fixed MAC address to IP
address mapping in DHCP (sometimes called DHCP reservations). If you want to use static IP
addresses, you must set up the host profile to prompt for host customization. For more information,
see the vSphere Host Profiles documentation.
7 Power on the hosts that you want to provision.
8 Set up the host you provisioned as a reference host for your host profile.
You can specify the reference host syslog settings, firewall settings, storage, networking, and so on.
9 Set up the host you provisioned as a reference host for your host profile.
You can specify the reference host syslog settings, firewall settings, storage, networking, and so on.
See Setting Up a vSphere Auto Deploy Reference Host.
10 Create and export a host profile for the reference host.
See the Host Profiles documentation.
11 To provision multiple hosts with the host profile, use the Copy-DeployRule cmdlet to edit the
previously created rule.
You can revise the rule to assign not only an image profile but also a host profile, a vCenter Server
location and a custom script bundle.
Copy-DeployRule -DeployRule "testrule" -ReplaceItem
my_host_profile_from_reference_host,my_target_cluster
-ReplacePattern "ipv4=192.XXX.1.10-192.XXX.1.20"
Where my_host_profile_from_reference_host is the name of the reference host profile, and
my_target_cluster is the name of the target cluster.
12 Perform the test and repair compliance operations to remediate the hosts.
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See Test and Repair Rule Compliance.
13 Verify that the hosts you provisioned meet the following requirements.
nEach host is connected to the vCenter Server system.
nThe hosts are not in maintenance mode.
nThe hosts have no compliance failures.
nEach host with a host profile that requires user input has up-to-date host customization
information.
Remediate host associations and compliance problems and reboot hosts until all hosts meet the
requirements.
Read for an introduction to the boot process, differences between first and subsequent boots, and an
overview of using host customization.
Preparing for vSphere Auto Deploy
Before you can start using vSphere Auto Deploy, you must prepare your environment. You start with
server setup and hardware preparation. You must configure the vSphere Auto Deploy service startup type
in the vCenter Server system that you plan to use for managing the hosts you provision, and install
PowerCLI.
nPrepare Your System for vSphere Auto Deploy
Before you can PXE boot an ESXi host with vSphere Auto Deploy, you must install prerequisite
software and set up the DHCP and TFTP servers that vSphere Auto Deploy interacts with.
nUsing vSphere Auto Deploy Cmdlets
vSphere Auto Deploy cmdlets are implemented as Microsoft PowerShell cmdlets and included in
PowerCLI. Users of vSphere Auto Deploy cmdlets can take advantage of all PowerCLI features.
nSet Up Bulk Licensing
You can use the vSphere Web Client or ESXi Shell to specify individual license keys, or you can set
up bulk licensing by using PowerCLI cmdlets. Bulk licensing works for all ESXi hosts, but is
especially useful for hosts provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy.
Prepare Your System for vSphere Auto Deploy
Before you can PXE boot an ESXi host with vSphere Auto Deploy, you must install prerequisite software
and set up the DHCP and TFTP servers that vSphere Auto Deploy interacts with.
Prerequisites
nVerify that the hosts that you plan to provision with vSphere Auto Deploy meet the hardware
requirements for ESXi. See ESXi Hardware Requirements.
nVerify that the ESXi hosts have network connectivity to vCenter Server and that all port requirements
are met. See vCenter Server Upgrade.
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nIf you want to use VLANs in your vSphere Auto Deploy environment, you must set up the end to end
networking properly. When the host is PXE booting, the firmware driver must be set up to tag the
frames with proper VLAN IDs. You must do this set up manually by making the correct changes in the
UEFI/BIOS interface. You must also correctly configure the ESXi port groups with the correct VLAN
IDs. Ask your network administrator how VLAN IDs are used in your environment.
nVerify that you have enough storage for the vSphere Auto Deploy repository. The vSphere Auto
Deploy server uses the repository to store data it needs, including the rules and rule sets you create
and the VIBs and image profiles that you specify in your rules.
Best practice is to allocate 2 GB to have enough room for four image profiles and some extra space.
Each image profile requires approximately 350 MB. Determine how much space to reserve for the
vSphere Auto Deploy repository by considering how many image profiles you expect to use.
nObtain administrative privileges to the DHCP server that manages the network segment you want to
boot from. You can use a DHCP server already in your environment, or install a DHCP server. For
your vSphere Auto Deploy setup, replace the gpxelinux.0 file name with snponly64.efi.vmw-
hardwired for UEFI or undionly.kpxe.vmw-hardwired for BIOS. For more information on DHCP
configurations, see Sample DHCP Configurations.
nSecure your network as you would for any other PXE-based deployment method. vSphere Auto
Deploy transfers data over SSL to prevent casual interference and snooping. However, the
authenticity of the client or the vSphere Auto Deploy server is not checked during a PXE boot.
nIf you want to manage vSphere Auto Deploy with PowerCLI cmdlets, verify that Microsoft .NET
Framework 4.5 or 4.5.x and Windows PowerShell 3.0 or 4.0 are installed on a Windows machine. You
can install PowerCLI on the Windows system on which vCenter Server is installed or on a different
Windows system. See the vSphere PowerCLI User's Guide.
nSet up a remote Syslog server. See the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation for
Syslog server configuration information. Configure the first host you boot to use the remote Syslog
server and apply that host's host profile to all other target hosts. Optionally, install and use the
vSphere Syslog Collector, a vCenter Server support tool that provides a unified architecture for
system logging and enables network logging and combining of logs from multiple hosts.
nInstall ESXi Dump Collector, set up your first host so that all core dumps are directed to ESXi Dump
Collector, and apply the host profile from that host to all other hosts. See Configure ESXi Dump
Collector with ESXCLI.
nIf the hosts that you plan to provision with vSphere Auto Deploy are with legacy BIOS, verify that the
vSphere Auto Deploy server has an IPv4 address. PXE booting with legacy BIOS firmware is possible
only over IPv4. PXE booting with UEFI firmware is possible with either IPv4 or IPv6.
Procedure
1Install vCenter Server or deploy the vCenter Server Appliance.
The vSphere Auto Deploy server is included with the management node.
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2Configure the vSphere Auto Deploy service startup type.
a Log in to your vCenter Server system by using the vSphere Web Client.
b On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Administration.
c Under System Configuration click Services.
d Select Auto Deploy, click the Actions menu, and select Edit Startup Type.
nOn Windows, the vSphere Auto Deploy service is disabled. In the Edit Startup Type window,
select Manual or Automatic to enable vSphere Auto Deploy.
nOn the vCenter Server Appliance, the vSphere Auto Deploy service by default is set to
Manual. If you want the vSphere Auto Deploy service to start automatically upon OS startup,
select Automatic.
3(Optional) If you want to manage vSphere Auto Deploy with the vSphere Web Client, configure the
vSphere ESXi Image Builder service startup type.
a Repeat Step 2a through Step 2c.
b Select ImageBuilder Service, click the Actions menu, and select Edit Startup Type.
nOn Windows, the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service is disabled. In the Edit Startup Type
window, select Manual or Automatic to enable the service.
nOn the vCenter Server Appliance, the vSphere Auto Deploy service by default is set to
Manual. If you want the vSphere ESXi Image Builder service to start automatically upon OS
startup, select Automatic.
c Log out of the vSphere Web Client and log in again.
The Auto Deploy icon is visible on the Home page of the vSphere Web Client.
4(Optional) If you want to manage vSphere Auto Deploy with PowerCLI cmdlets, install PowerCLI.
a Download the latest version of PowerCLI from the VMware Web site.
b Navigate to the folder that contains the PowerCLI file you downloaded and double-click the
executable file.
If the installation wizard detects an earlier version of PowerCLI on your system, it will attempt to
upgrade your existing installation
c Follow the prompts in the wizard to complete the installation.
5Configure the TFTP server.
a In a vSphere Web Client connected to the vCenter Server system, go to the inventory list and
select the vCenter Server system.
b Click the Manage tab, select Settings, and click Auto Deploy.
c Click Download TFTP Boot Zip to download the TFTP configuration file and unzip the file to the
directory in which your TFTP server stores files.
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6Set up your DHCP server to point to the TFTP server on which the TFTP ZIP file is located.
a Specify the TFTP Server's IP address in DHCP option 66, frequently called next-server.
b Specify the boot file name, which is snponly64.efi.vmw-hardwired for UEFI or
undionly.kpxe.vmw-hardwired for BIOS in the DHCP option 67, frequently called boot-
filename.
7Set each host you want to provision with vSphere Auto Deploy to network boot or PXE boot, following
the manufacturer's instructions.
8(Optional) If you set up your environment to use Thumbprint mode, you can use your own Certificate
Authority (CA) by replacing the OpenSSL certificate rbd-ca.crt and the OpenSSL private key rbd-
ca.key with your own certificate and key file.
nOn Windows, the files are in the SSL subfolder of the vSphere Auto Deploy installation directory.
For example, on Windows 7 the default is C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware vSphere Auto
Deploy\ssl.
nOn the vCenter Server Appliance, the files are in /etc/vmware-rbd/ssl/.
By default, vCenter Server 6.0 and later uses VMware Certificate Authority (VMCA).
When you start a host that is set up for vSphere Auto Deploy, the host contacts the DHCP server and is
directed to the vSphere Auto Deploy server, which provisions the host with the image profile specified in
the active rule set.
What to do next
nDefine a rule that assigns an image profile and optional host profile, host location or script bundle to
the host. For Managing vSphere Auto Deploy with PowerCLI cmdlets, see theManaging vSphere
Auto Deploy with PowerCLI Cmdlets section. For managing vSphere Auto Deploy with the
vSphere Web Client, see the Managing vSphere Auto Deploy with the vSphere Web Client section.
n(Optional) Configure the first host that you provision as a reference host. Use the storage, networking,
and other settings you want for your target hosts to share. Create a host profile for the reference host
and write a rule that assigns both the already tested image profile and the host profile to target hosts.
n(Optional) If you want to have vSphere Auto Deploy overwrite existing partitions, set up a reference
host to do auto partitioning and apply the host profile of the reference host to other hosts. See
Configure a Reference Host for Auto-Partitioning.
n(Optional) If you have to configure host-specific information, set up the host profile of the reference
host to prompt for user input. For more information about host customizations, see the vSphere Host
Profiles documentation.
Using vSphere Auto Deploy Cmdlets
vSphere Auto Deploy cmdlets are implemented as Microsoft PowerShell cmdlets and included in
PowerCLI. Users of vSphere Auto Deploy cmdlets can take advantage of all PowerCLI features.
Experienced PowerShell users can use vSphere Auto Deploy cmdlets just like other PowerShell cmdlets.
If you are new to PowerShell and PowerCLI, the following tips might be helpful.
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You can type cmdlets, parameters, and parameter values in the PowerCLI shell.
nGet help for any cmdlet by running Get-Helpcmdlet_name.
nRemember that PowerShell is not case sensitive.
nUse tab completion for cmdlet names and parameter names.
nFormat any variable and cmdlet output by using Format-List or Format-Table, or their short forms
fl or ft. For more information, run the Get-Help Format-List cmdlet.
Passing Parameters by Name
You can pass in parameters by name in most cases and surround parameter values that contain spaces
or special characters with double quotes.
Copy-DeployRule -DeployRule testrule -ReplaceItem MyNewProfile
Most examples in the vCenter Server Installation and Setup documentation pass in parameters by name.
Passing Parameters as Objects
You can pass parameters as objects if you want to perform scripting and automation. Passing in
parameters as objects is useful with cmdlets that return multiple objects and with cmdlets that return a
single object. Consider the following example.
1 Bind the object that encapsulates rule set compliance information for a host to a variable.
$tr = Test-DeployRuleSetCompliance MyEsxi42
2 View the itemlist property of the object to see the difference between what is in the rule set and
what the host is currently using.
$tr.itemlist
3 Remediate the host to use the revised rule set by using the Repair-DeployRuleSetCompliance
cmdlet with the variable.
Repair-DeployRuleSetCompliance $tr
The example remediates the host the next time you boot the host.
Set Up Bulk Licensing
You can use the vSphere Web Client or ESXi Shell to specify individual license keys, or you can set up
bulk licensing by using PowerCLI cmdlets. Bulk licensing works for all ESXi hosts, but is especially useful
for hosts provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy.
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Assigning license keys through the vSphere Web Client and assigning licensing by using PowerCLI
cmdlets function differently.
Assign license keys
with the
vSphere Web Client
You can assign license keys to a host when you add the host to the
vCenter Server system or when the host is managed by a vCenter Server
system.
Assign license keys
with
LicenseDataManager
PowerCLI
You can specify a set of license keys to be added to a set of hosts. The
license keys are added to the vCenter Server database. Each time a host is
added to the vCenter Server system or reconnects to it, the host is
assigned a license key. A license key that is assigned through PowerCLI is
treated as a default license key. When an unlicensed host is added or
reconnected, it is assigned the default license key. If a host is already
licensed, it keeps its license key.
The following example assigns licenses to all hosts in a data center. You can also associate licenses with
hosts and clusters.
The following example is for advanced PowerCLI users who know how to use PowerShell variables.
Prerequisites
Prepare Your System for vSphere Auto Deploy.
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, connect to the vCenter Server system you want to use and bind the
associated license manager to a variable.
Connect-VIServer -Server 192.XXX.X.XX -User username -Password password
$licenseDataManager = Get-LicenseDataManager
2Run a cmdlet that retrieves the datacenter in which the hosts for which you want to use the bulk
licensing feature are located.
$hostContainer = Get-Datacenter -Name Datacenter-X
You can also run a cmdlet that retrieves a cluster to use bulk licensing for all hosts in a cluster, or
retrieves a folder to use bulk licensing for all hosts in a folder.
3Create a new LicenseData object and a LicenseKeyEntry object with associated type ID and
license key.
$licenseData = New-Object VMware.VimAutomation.License.Types.LicenseData
$licenseKeyEntry = New-Object Vmware.VimAutomation.License.Types.LicenseKeyEntry
$licenseKeyEntry.TypeId = "vmware-vsphere”
$licenseKeyEntry.LicenseKey = "XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX"
4Associate the LicenseKeys attribute of the LicenseData object you created in step 3 with the
LicenseKeyEntry object.
$licenseData.LicenseKeys += $licenseKeyEntry
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5Update the license data for the data center with the LicenseData object and verify that the license is
associated with the host container.
$licenseDataManager.UpdateAssociatedLicenseData($hostContainer.Uid, $licenseData)
$licenseDataManager.QueryAssociatedLicenseData($hostContainer.Uid)
6Provision one or more hosts with vSphere Auto Deploy and assign them to the data center or to the
cluster that you assigned the license data to.
7You can use the vSphere Web Client to verify that the host is successfully assigned to the default
license XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX.
All hosts that you assigned to the data center are now licensed automatically.
Managing vSphere Auto Deploy with PowerCLI Cmdlets
You can manage vSphere Auto Deploy with PowerCLI cmdlets to create rules that associate hosts with
image profiles, host profiles, custom scripts and locations on the vCenter Server target. You can also
update hosts by testing rule compliance and repairing compliance issues.
vSphere Auto Deploy PowerCLI Cmdlet Overview
You specify the rules that assign image profiles and host profiles to hosts using a set of PowerCLI
cmdlets that are included in PowerCLI.
If you are new to PowerCLI, read the PowerCLI documentation and review Using vSphere Auto Deploy
Cmdlets. You can get help for any command at the PowerShell prompt.
nBasic help: Get-Help cmdlet_name
nDetailed help: Get-Help cmdlet_name -Detailed
Note When you run vSphere Auto Deploy cmdlets, provide all parameters on the command line when
you invoke the cmdlet. Supplying parameters in interactive mode is not recommended.
Table 516. Rule Engine PowerCLI Cmdlets
Command Description
Get-DeployCommand Returns a list of vSphere Auto Deploy cmdlets.
New-DeployRule Creates a new rule with the specified items and patterns.
Set-DeployRule Updates an existing rule with the specified items and patterns.
You cannot update a rule that is part of a rule set.
Get-DeployRule Retrieves the rules with the specified names.
Copy-DeployRule Clones and updates an existing rule.
Add-DeployRule Adds one or more rules to the working rule set and, by default,
also to the active rule set. Use the NoActivate parameter to
add a rule only to the working rule set.
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Table 516. Rule Engine PowerCLI Cmdlets (Continued)
Command Description
Remove-DeployRule Removes one or more rules from the working rule set and from
the active rule set. Run this command with the -Delete
parameter to completely delete the rule.
Set-DeployRuleset Explicitly sets the list of rules in the working rule set.
Get-DeployRuleset Retrieves the current working rule set or the current active rule
set.
Switch-ActiveDeployRuleset Activates a rule set so that any new requests are evaluated
through the rule set.
Get-VMHostMatchingRules Retrieves rules matching a pattern. For example, you can
retrieve all rules that apply to a host or hosts. Use this cmdlet
primarily for debugging.
Test-DeployRulesetCompliance Checks whether the items associated with a specified host are
in compliance with the active rule set.
Repair-DeployRulesetCompliance Given the output of Test-DeployRulesetCompliance, this
cmdlet updates the image profile, host profile, and location for
each host in the vCenter Server inventory. The cmdlet might
apply image profiles, apply host profiles, or move hosts to
prespecified folders or clusters on the vCenter Server system.
Apply-EsxImageProfile Associates the specified image profile with the specified host.
Get-VMHostImageProfile Retrieves the image profile in use by a specified host. This
cmdlet differs from the Get-EsxImageProfile cmdlet in
vSphere ESXi Image Builder.
Repair-DeployImageCache Use this cmdlet only if the vSphere Auto Deploy image cache is
accidentally deleted.
Get-VMHostAttributes Retrieves the attributes for a host that are used when the
vSphere Auto Deploy server evaluates the rules.
Get-DeployMachineIdentity Returns a string value that vSphere Auto Deploy uses to
logically link an ESXi host in vCenter Server to a physical
machine.
Set-DeployMachineIdentity Logically links a host object in the vCenter Server database to a
physical machine. Use this cmdlet to add hosts without
specifying rules.
Get-DeployOption Retrieves the vSphere Auto Deploy global configuration options.
This cmdlet currently supports the vlan-id option, which
specifies the default VLAN ID for the ESXi Management
Network of a host provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy.
vSphere Auto Deploy uses the value only if the host boots
without a host profile.
Set-DeployOption Sets the value of a global configuration option. Currently
supports the vlan-id option for setting the default VLAN ID for
the ESXi Management Network.
Add-ProxyServer Adds a proxy server to the vSphere Auto Deploy database. Run
the command with the -Address parameter to specify the IPv4
or IPv6 address. The address can include a port number.
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Table 516. Rule Engine PowerCLI Cmdlets (Continued)
Command Description
List-ProxyServer Lists the proxy servers that are currently registered with vSphere
Auto Deploy.
Delete-ProxyServer Deletes one or more proxy servers from the list of proxy servers
that are registered with vSphere Auto Deploy. You can run the
command with the -id parameter from the list of proxy servers
or with the-Address parameter by specifying the IPv4 or IPv6
address of the proxy server you want to delete.
Add-ScriptBundle Adds one or more script bundles to the vSphere Auto Deploy
server.
Get-ScriptBundle Retrieves the list of script bundles available on the vSphere Auto
Deploy server and the scripts they contain.
Assign an Image Profile to Hosts
Before you can provision a host, you must create rules that assign an image profile to each host that you
want to provision by using vSphere Auto Deploy.
vSphere Auto Deploy extensibility rules enforce that VIBs at the CommunitySupported level can only
contain files from certain predefined locations, such as the ESXCLI plug-in path, jumpstart plug-in path,
and so on. If you add a VIB that is in a different location to an image profile, a warning results. You can
override the warning by using the force option.
If you call the New-DeployRule cmdlet on an image profile that includes VIBs at the
CommunitySupported level which violate the rule, set $DeployNoSignatureCheck = $true before
adding the image profile. With that setting, the system ignores signature validation and does not perform
the extensibility rules check.
Note Image profiles that include VIBs at the CommunitySupported level are not supported on production
systems.
Prerequisites
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Connect-VIServer cmdlet to connect to the vCenter Server system
that vSphere Auto Deploy is registered with.
Connect-VIServer ipv4_or_ipv6_address
The cmdlet might return a server certificate warning. In a production environment, make sure no
server certificate warnings result. In a development environment, you can ignore the warning.
2Determine the location of a public software depot, or define a custom image profile by using vSphere
ESXi Image Builder.
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3Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot to add the software depot that contains the image profile to the
PowerCLI session.
Depot Type Cmdlet
Remote depot Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot depot_url.
ZIP file a Download the ZIP file to a local file path.
b Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot C:\file_path\my_offline_depot.zip.
4In the depot, find the image profile that you want to use by running the Get-EsxImageProfile
cmdlet.
By default, the ESXi depot includes one base image profile that includes VMware tools and has the
string standard in its name, and one base image profile that does not include VMware tools.
5Define a rule in which hosts with certain attributes, for example a range of IP addresses, are assigned
to the image profile.
New-DeployRule -Name "testrule" -Item "My Profile25" -Pattern "vendor=Acme,Zven", "ipv4=192.XXX.
1.10-192.XXX.1.20"
Double quotes are required if a name contains spaces, optional otherwise. Specify -AllHosts
instead of a pattern to apply the item to all hosts.
The cmdlet creates a rule named testrule. The rule assigns the image profile named My Profile25
to all hosts with a vendor of Acme or Zven that also have an IP address in the specified range.
6Add the rule to the rule set.
Add-DeployRule testrule
By default, the rule is added to both the working rule set and the active rule set. If you use the
NoActivate parameter, the working rule set does not become the active rule set.
When the host boots from iPXE, it reports attributes of the machine to the console. Use the same format
of the attributes when writing deploy rules.
******************************************************************
* Booting through VMware AutoDeploy...
*
* Machine attributes:
* . asset=No Asset Tag
* . domain=vmware.com
* . hostname=myhost.mycompany.com
* . ipv4=XX.XX.XXX.XXX
* . mac=XX:Xa:Xb:Xc:Xx:XX
* . model=MyVendorModel
* . oemstring=Product ID: XXXXXX-XXX
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* . serial=XX XX XX XX XX XX...
* . uuid=XXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXX
* . vendor=MyVendor
******************************************************************
What to do next
nFor hosts already provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy, perform the compliance testing and repair
operations to provision them with the new image profile. See Test and Repair Rule Compliance.
nTurn on unprovisioned hosts to provision them with the new image profile.
Write a Rule and Assign a Host Profile to Hosts
vSphere Auto Deploy can assign a host profile to one or more hosts. The host profile might include
information about storage configuration, network configuration, or other characteristics of the host. If you
add a host to a cluster, that cluster's host profile is used.
In many cases, you assign a host to a cluster instead of specifying a host profile explicitly. The host uses
the host profile of the cluster.
Prerequisites
nInstall PowerCLI and all prerequisite software. For information see vCenter Server Installation and
Setup.
nExport the host profile that you want to use.
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Connect-VIServer cmdlet to connect to the vCenter Server system
that vSphere Auto Deploy is registered with.
Connect-VIServer ipv4_or_ipv6_address
The cmdlet might return a server certificate warning. In a production environment, make sure no
server certificate warnings result. In a development environment, you can ignore the warning.
2Using the vSphere Web Client, set up a host with the settings you want to use and create a host
profile from that host.
3Find the name of the host profile by running Get-VMhostProfile PowerCLI cmdlet, passing in the
ESXi host from which you create a host profile.
4At the PowerCLI prompt, define a rule in which host profiles are assigned to hosts with certain
attributes, for example a range of IP addresses.
New-DeployRule -Name "testrule2" -Item my_host_profile -Pattern "vendor=Acme,Zven", "ipv4=192.XXX.
1.10-192.XXX.1.20"
The specified item is assigned to all hosts with the specified attributes. This example specifies a rule
named testrule2. The rule assigns the specified host profile my_host_profile to all hosts with an IP
address inside the specified range and with a manufacturer of Acme or Zven.
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5Add the rule to the rule set.
Add-DeployRule testrule2
By default, the working rule set becomes the active rule set, and any changes to the rule set become
active when you add a rule. If you use the NoActivate parameter, the working rule set does not
become the active rule set.
What to do next
nAssign a host already provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy to the new host profile by performing
compliance test and repair operations on those hosts. For more information, see Test and Repair
Rule Compliance.
nPower on unprovisioned hosts to provision them with the host profile.
Write a Rule and Assign a Host to a Folder or Cluster
vSphere Auto Deploy can assign a host to a folder or cluster. When the host boots, vSphere Auto Deploy
adds it to the specified location on the vCenter Server. Hosts assigned to a cluster inherit the cluster's
host profile.
Prerequisites
nPrepare Your System for vSphere Auto Deploy
nVerify that the folder you select is in a data center or in a cluster. You cannot assign the host to a
standalone top-level folder.
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Connect-VIServer cmdlet to connect to the vCenter Server system
that vSphere Auto Deploy is registered with.
Connect-VIServer ipv4_or_ipv6_address
The cmdlet might return a server certificate warning. In a production environment, make sure no
server certificate warnings result. In a development environment, you can ignore the warning.
2Define a rule in which hosts with certain attributes, for example a range of IP addresses, are assigned
to a folder or a cluster.
New-DeployRule -Name testrule3 -Item "my folder" -Pattern "vendor=Acme,Zven", "ipv4=192.XXX.
1.10-192.XXX.1.20"
This example passes in the folder by name. You can instead pass in a folder, cluster, or data center
object that you retrieve with the Get-Folder, Get-Cluster, or Get-Datacenter cmdlet.
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3Add the rule to the rule set.
Add-DeployRule testrule3
By default, the working rule set becomes the active rule set, and any changes to the rule set become
active when you add a rule. If you use the NoActivate parameter, the working rule set does not
become the active rule set.
What to do next
nAssign a host already provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy to the new folder or cluster location by
performing test and repair compliance operation. See Test and Repair Rule Compliance.
nPower on unprovisioned hosts to add them to the specified vCenter Server location.
Configure a Stateless System by Running a Custom Script
You can use vSphere Auto Deploy to configure one or more hosts by associating custom scripts with a
vSphere Auto Deploy rule.
The scripts run in alphabetical order after the initial ESXi boot workflow of the host.
Prerequisites
nVerify that the script bundle you want to associate with a vSphere Auto Deploy rule is in .tgz format,
with a maximum size of 10 MB, and written in Python or BusyBox ash scripting language.
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Connect-VIServer cmdlet to connect to the vCenter Server system
that vSphere Auto Deploy is registered with.
Connect-VIServer ipv4_or_ipv6_address
The cmdlet might return a server certificate warning. In a production environment, make sure no
server certificate warnings result. In a development environment, you can ignore the warning.
2Run the Add-ScriptBundle cmdlet to add the script bundle that contains the necessary scripts to the
vSphere Auto Deploy inventory.
Add-ScriptBundle c:/temp/MyScriptBundle.tgz
The name of the script bundle without the .tgz extension is the name identifier or object of the script
bundle item. You can update an existing script bundle by using the -Update parameter with the Add-
ScriptBundle cmdlet.
3(Optional) Run the Get-ScriptBundle cmdlet to verify that the script bundle is added to the vSphere
Auto Deploy inventory.
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4Define a rule in which hosts with certain attributes, for example a range of IP addresses, are assigned
to the script bundle.
New-DeployRule -Name "testrule4" -Item "MyScriptBundle" -Pattern "vendor=Acme,Zven", "ipv4=192.XXX.
1.10-192.XXX.1.20"
Double quotes are required if a name contains spaces, optional otherwise. Specify -AllHosts
instead of a pattern to apply the item to all hosts.
You create a rule named testrule4. The rule assigns the script bundle named My Script Bundle to all
hosts with a vendor of Acme or Zven that also have an IP address in the specified range. You can use
the name identifier of the script bundle or the object returned by the Get-ScriptBundle cmdlet to
identify the script bundle you want to associate with the rule.
5Add the rule to the rule set.
Add-DeployRule testrule4
By default, the rule is added to both the working rule set and the active rule set. If you use the
NoActivate parameter, the working rule set does not become the active rule set.
What to do next
nFor hosts already provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy, perform the compliance testing and repair
operations to provision them with the new scripts. See Test and Repair Rule Compliance.
nTurn on unprovisioned hosts to provision them with the new scripts.
Test and Repair Rule Compliance
When you add a rule to the vSphere Auto Deploy rule set or make changes to one or more rules, hosts
are not updated automatically. vSphere Auto Deploy applies the new rules only when you test their rule
compliance and perform remediation.
Prerequisites
nPrepare Your System for vSphere Auto Deploy
nVerify that your infrastructure includes one or more ESXi hosts provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy,
and that the host on which you installed PowerCLI can access those ESXi hosts.
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Connect-VIServer cmdlet to connect to the vCenter Server system
that vSphere Auto Deploy is registered with.
Connect-VIServer ipv4_or_ipv6_address
The cmdlet might return a server certificate warning. In a production environment, make sure no
server certificate warnings result. In a development environment, you can ignore the warning.
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2Use PowerCLI to check which vSphere Auto Deploy rules are currently available.
Get-DeployRule
The system returns the rules and the associated items and patterns.
3Make a change to one of the available rules.
For example, you can change the image profile and the name of the rule.
Copy-DeployRule -DeployRule testrule -ReplaceItem MyNewProfile
You cannot edit a rule already added to the active rule set. Instead, you can copy the rule and replace
the item or pattern you want to change.
4Verify that you can access the host for which you want to test rule set compliance.
Get-VMHost -Name MyEsxi42
5Run the cmdlet that tests rule set compliance for the host, and bind the return value to a variable for
later use.
$tr = Test-DeployRuleSetCompliance MyEsxi42
6Examine the differences between the contents of the rule set and configuration of the host.
$tr.itemlist
The system returns a table of current and expected items if the host for which you want to test the
new rule set compliance is compliant with the active rule set.
CurrentItem ExpectedItem
----------- ------------
My Profile 25 MyNewProfile
7Remediate the host to use the revised rule set the next time you boot the host.
Repair-DeployRuleSetCompliance $tr
What to do next
If the rule you changed specified the inventory location, the change takes effect when you repair
compliance. For all other changes, reboot your host to have vSphere Auto Deploy apply the new rule and
to achieve compliance between the rule set and the host.
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Register a Caching Proxy Server Address with vSphere Auto Deploy
Simultaneously booting large number of stateless hosts places a significant load on the vSphere Auto
Deploy server. You can load balance the requests between the vSphere Auto Deploy server and one or
more proxy servers that you register with vSphere Auto Deploy.
Prerequisites
Procedure
1In a PowerCLI session, run the Connect-VIServer cmdlet to connect to the vCenter Server system
that vSphere Auto Deploy is registered with.
Connect-VIServer ipv4_or_ipv6_address
The cmdlet might return a server certificate warning. In a production environment, make sure no
server certificate warnings result. In a development environment, you can ignore the warning.
2Register a caching proxy server addresses with vSphere Auto Deploy by running the Add-
ProxyServer cmdlet.
Add-ProxyServer -Address 'https://proxy_server_ip_address:port_number'
You can run the cmdlet multiple times to register multiple proxy servers. The address can contain a
port number.
3(Optional) Run the List-ProxyServer cmdlet to verify that the caching proxy server is registered
with vSphere Auto Deploy.
Managing vSphere Auto Deploy with the vSphere Web Client
You can add ESXi hosts to the vSphere Auto Deploy inventory and create, monitor, and manage the
vSphere Auto Deploy rules and ESXi host associations by using the vSphere Web Client.
Create a Deploy Rule
Before you provision ESXi hosts with vSphere Auto Deploy, you must create rules that assign image
profiles, host profiles, and host locations to the hosts. An ESXi host can match more than one vSphere
Auto Deploy rule criteria, when this is the case, the rule order is considered.
Prerequisites
nPrepare your system and install the Auto Deploy Server. For more information, see Prepare Your
System for vSphere Auto Deploy.
nIf you want to include an image profile to the rule, verify that the software depot you need is added to
the inventory. See Add a Software Depot or Import a Software Depot.
Procedure
1Start the New Deploy Rule Wizard
You can create a new vSphere Auto Deploy rule by using the New Deploy Rule wizard.
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2Name the Rule and Define Matching Criteria in the New Deploy Rule Wizard
When you start the New Deploy Rule wizard, you must first enter a rule name and select a pattern
to apply the rule to some or all hosts in the inventory.
3Select an Image Profile in the New Deploy Rule Wizard
In the New Deploy Rule wizard, you can optionally assign an image profile to the hosts that match
the rule criteria.
4Select a Host Profile in the New Deploy Rule Wizard
In the New Deploy Rule wizard, you can optionally assign a host profile to the hosts that match the
rule criteria.
5Select Host Location in the New Deploy Rule Wizard
In the New Deploy Rule wizard, you can optionally add the hosts that match the criteria of the rule
to a specific location.
6View the Summary of the New Deploy Rule Wizard
In the New Deploy Rule wizard,, you can review the settings of the new vSphere Auto Deploy rule
before completing the wizard.
What to do next
nActivate a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Activate, Deactivate, and Reorder Deploy Rules.
nEdit a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Editing a Deploy Rule.
nView the image profile, host profile, and location associations of a host. See View Host Associations.
nRemediate non-compliant hosts. See Remediate a Non-compliant Host.
nChange the image profile association of a host. See Edit the Image Profile Association of a Host.
Start the New Deploy Rule Wizard
You can create a new vSphere Auto Deploy rule by using the New Deploy Rule wizard.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere Auto Deploy service.
2On the Deploy Rules tab, click New Deploy Rule.
The New Deploy Rule wizard appears.
Name the Rule and Define Matching Criteria in the New Deploy Rule Wizard
When you start the New Deploy Rule wizard, you must first enter a rule name and select a pattern to
apply the rule to some or all hosts in the inventory.
Procedure
1On the Name and hosts page of the wizard, enter a name for the new rule.
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2Select a pattern to apply the rule to the hosts in the inventory.
You can select to apply the rule to all the hosts in the inventory or to apply the rule only to hosts that
match a specific pattern. You can select one or more patterns.
For example, the rule can apply only to hosts in a vCenter Single Sign-On domain, with a specific
host name, or that match a specific IPv4 range.
3Click Next.
Select an Image Profile in the New Deploy Rule Wizard
In the New Deploy Rule wizard, you can optionally assign an image profile to the hosts that match the
rule criteria.
Prerequisites
If you want to include an image profile to the rule, verify that the software depot you need is added to the
inventory. See Add a Software Depot or Import a Software Depot.
Procedure
1On the Select image profile page of the wizard, select an image profile.
Option Action
If you do not want to assign an image profile to the selected
hosts
Select the No image profile check box.
If you want to assign an image profile to the selected hosts 1 Select a software depot from the drop-down menu.
2 Select an image profile from the list.
3 (Optional) If you want to bypass the acceptance level
verification for the image profile, select the Skip image
profile signature check check box.
2Click Next.
Select a Host Profile in the New Deploy Rule Wizard
In the New Deploy Rule wizard, you can optionally assign a host profile to the hosts that match the rule
criteria.
Procedure
1On the Select host profile page of the wizard, select a host profile.
Option Action
If you do not want to assign a host profile to the selected
hosts
Select the Do not include a host profile check box.
If you want to assign a host profile to the selected hosts Select a host profile from the list.
2Click Next.
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Select Host Location in the New Deploy Rule Wizard
In the New Deploy Rule wizard, you can optionally add the hosts that match the criteria of the rule to a
specific location.
Procedure
1On the Select host location page of the wizard, select a location for the hosts that match the rule.
Option Action
If you do not want to select a host location Select the Do not include a location check box.
If you want to select a specific location for the selected hosts Select a data center, folder, or cluster as host location.
2Click Next.
View the Summary of the New Deploy Rule Wizard
In the New Deploy Rule wizard,, you can review the settings of the new vSphere Auto Deploy rule before
completing the wizard.
Procedure
1On the Ready to complete page, review the summary information for the new rule.
2Click Finish.
You can view the newly created rule listed on the Deploy Rules tab.
Clone a Deploy Rule
You can use a vSphere Auto Deploy rule as a template and modify only parts of the rule instead of
creating a new one.
Prerequisites
nPrepare your system and install the Auto Deploy Server. For more information, see Prepare Your
System for vSphere Auto Deploy.
nCreate a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Create a Deploy Rule.
nIf you want to include an image profile to the rule, verify that the software depot you need is added to
the inventory. See Add a Software Depot or Import a Software Depot.
Procedure
1Start the Clone Deploy Rule Wizard
You can clone an existing vSphere Auto Deploy rule by using the Clone Deploy Rule wizard.
2Name the Rule and Define Matching Criteria in the Clone Deploy Rule Wizard
When you start the Clone Deploy Rule wizard to clone a vSphere Auto Deploy rule, you must first
choose whether to keep the default name of the cloned rule and whether to change the matching
criteria of the rule.
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3Select an Image Profile in the Clone Deploy Rule Wizard
In the Clone Deploy Rule wizard, you can optionally assign an image profile to the hosts that match
the rule criteria or keep the same image profile that the cloned rule uses.
4Select a Host Profile in the Clone Deploy Rule Wizard
In the Clone Deploy Rule wizard, you can optionally assign a host profile to the hosts that match
the rule criteria or keep the same host profile used in the cloned rule.
5Select Host Location in the Clone Deploy Rule
In the Clone Deploy Rule wizard, you can optionally add the hosts that match the criteria of the rule
to a specific location or keep the location that the cloned rule uses.
6View the Summary of the Clone Deploy Rule Wizard
You can review the settings of the cloned vSphere Auto Deploy rule before completing the wizard.
What to do next
nActivate a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Activate, Deactivate, and Reorder Deploy Rules.
nEdit a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Editing a Deploy Rule.
Start the Clone Deploy Rule Wizard
You can clone an existing vSphere Auto Deploy rule by using the Clone Deploy Rule wizard.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere Auto Deploy service.
2On the Deploy Rules tab, select a rule from the list.
3Click the Clone icon.
The Clone Deploy Rule wizard appears.
Name the Rule and Define Matching Criteria in the Clone Deploy Rule Wizard
When you start the Clone Deploy Rule wizard to clone a vSphere Auto Deploy rule, you must first
choose whether to keep the default name of the cloned rule and whether to change the matching criteria
of the rule.
Procedure
1On the Name and hosts page of the wizard, enter a name for the new rule.
2Select a pattern to apply the rule to the hosts in the inventory.
You can select to apply the rule to all the hosts in the inventory or to apply the rule only to hosts that
match a specific pattern. You can select one or more patterns.
For example, the rule can apply only to hosts in a vCenter Single Sign-On domain, with a specific
host name, or that match a specific IPv4 range.
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3Click Next.
Select an Image Profile in the Clone Deploy Rule Wizard
In the Clone Deploy Rule wizard, you can optionally assign an image profile to the hosts that match the
rule criteria or keep the same image profile that the cloned rule uses.
Prerequisites
If you want to include an image profile to the rule, verify that the software depot you need is added to the
inventory. See Add a Software Depot or Import a Software Depot.
Procedure
1On the Select image profile page of the wizard, select an image profile.
Option Action
If you do not want to change the image profile Select the Same image profile option.
If you do not want to assign an image profile to the selected
hosts
Select the No image profile option.
If you want to assign a new image profile to the selected
hosts
1 Select the Browse for Image Profile option.
2 Select a software depot from the drop-down menu.
3 Select an image profile from the list.
4 (Optional) If you want to bypass the acceptance level
verification for the image profile, select the Skip image
profile signature check check box.
2Click Next.
Select a Host Profile in the Clone Deploy Rule Wizard
In the Clone Deploy Rule wizard, you can optionally assign a host profile to the hosts that match the rule
criteria or keep the same host profile used in the cloned rule.
Procedure
uOn the Select host profile page of the wizard, select a host profile.
Option Action
If you want to keep the host profile used in the cloned rule Click Next.
If you do not want to assign a host profile to the selected
hosts
Select the Do not include a host profile check box and click
Next.
If you want to assign a new host profile to the selected hosts Select a host profile from the list and click Next.
Select Host Location in the Clone Deploy Rule
In the Clone Deploy Rule wizard, you can optionally add the hosts that match the criteria of the rule to a
specific location or keep the location that the cloned rule uses.
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Procedure
1On the Select host location page of the wizard, select a location for the hosts that match the rule.
Option Action
If you want to keep the host location used in the cloned rule Leave the default location.
If you do not want the rule to include a host location Select the Do not include a host profile check box.
If you want to select a new location for the selected hosts Select a data center, folder, or cluster as host location.
2Click Next.
View the Summary of the Clone Deploy Rule Wizard
You can review the settings of the cloned vSphere Auto Deploy rule before completing the wizard.
Procedure
1On the Ready to complete page, review the summary information for the new rule.
2Click Finish.
You can view the newly created rule listed on the Deploy Rules tab.
Editing a Deploy Rule
You can edit a vSphere Auto Deploy rule only if it is in inactive state in the inventory. You can edit the
name of the rule, the matching hosts, the assigned image profile, host profile, and host location.
nEdit the Name and Matching Hosts of a Rule
If a rule in the inventory is in inactive state, you can edit its name and change the selection of hosts
that match the rule criteria.
nEdit a Rule to Assign a Different Image Profile to Hosts
If a rule in the inventory is in inactive state, you can edit the rule and assign a different image profile
to the hosts matching it.
nEdit a Rule to Assign a Different Host Profile to Hosts
If a rule in the inventory is in inactive state, you can edit the rule and assign a different host profile to
the hosts that match the criteria for the rule.
nEdit the Host Location of a Rule
If a rule in the inventory is in inactive state, you can edit the rule and assign a different host location
to the hosts that match the rule criteria.
Edit the Name and Matching Hosts of a Rule
If a rule in the inventory is in inactive state, you can edit its name and change the selection of hosts that
match the rule criteria.
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Prerequisites
nPrepare your system and install the Auto Deploy Server. For more information, see Prepare Your
System for vSphere Auto Deploy.
nCreate a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Create a Deploy Rule.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere Auto Deploy service.
2On the Deploy Rules tab, from the list of rules in the inventory select the rule that you want to edit
and click Edit.
The Edit Deploy Rule dialog box appears.
3Select the Name and hosts page and enter a new name of the rule.
4Select a pattern to apply the rule to the hosts in the inventory.
You can select to apply the rule to all the hosts in the inventory or to apply the rule only to hosts that
match a specific pattern. You can select one or more patterns.
For example, the rule can apply only to hosts in a vCenter Single Sign-On domain, with a specific
host name, or that match a specific IPv4 range.
5Click OK.
Edit a Rule to Assign a Dierent Image Profile to Hosts
If a rule in the inventory is in inactive state, you can edit the rule and assign a different image profile to the
hosts matching it.
Prerequisites
nPrepare your system and install the Auto Deploy Server. For more information, see Prepare Your
System for vSphere Auto Deploy.
nCreate a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Create a Deploy Rule.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere Auto Deploy service.
2On the Deploy Rules tab, from the list of rules in the inventory select the rule that you want to edit
and click Edit.
The Edit Deploy Rule dialog box appears.
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3Select the Select image profile page to assign an image profile to the hosts that match the rule
criteria.
Option Action
If you do not want to change the image profile Select the Same image profile option.
If you do not want to assign an image profile to the selected
hosts
Select the No image profile option.
If you want to assign a new image profile to the selected
hosts
1 Select the Browse for Image Profile option.
2 Select a software depot from the drop-down menu.
3 Select an image profile from the list.
4 (Optional) If you want to bypass the acceptance level
verification for the image profile, select the Skip image
profile signature check check box.
4Click OK.
Edit a Rule to Assign a Dierent Host Profile to Hosts
If a rule in the inventory is in inactive state, you can edit the rule and assign a different host profile to the
hosts that match the criteria for the rule.
Prerequisites
nPrepare your system and install the Auto Deploy Server. For more information, see Prepare Your
System for vSphere Auto Deploy.
nCreate a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Create a Deploy Rule.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere Auto Deploy service.
2On the Deploy Rules tab, from the list of rules in the inventory select the rule that you want to edit
and click Edit.
The Edit Deploy Rule dialog box appears.
3Select the Select host profile page and assign a new host profile to the hosts matching the rule.
Option Action
If you do not want to assign a host profile to the selected
hosts
Select the Do not include a host profile check box.
If you want to assign a host profile to the selected hosts Select a host profile from the list.
4Click OK.
Edit the Host Location of a Rule
If a rule in the inventory is in inactive state, you can edit the rule and assign a different host location to the
hosts that match the rule criteria.
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Prerequisites
nPrepare your system and install the Auto Deploy Server. For more information, see Prepare Your
System for vSphere Auto Deploy.
nCreate a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Create a Deploy Rule.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere Auto Deploy service.
2On the Deploy Rules tab, from the list of rules in the inventory select the rule that you want to edit
and click Edit.
The Edit Deploy Rule dialog box appears.
3Select the Select host location page and select a host location for the hosts matching the rule.
Option Action
If you do not want to select a host location Select the Do not include a location check box.
If you want to select a specific location for the selected hosts Select a data center, folder, or cluster as host location.
4Click OK.
Activate, Deactivate, and Reorder Deploy Rules
After you create a vSphere Auto Deploy rule, the rule is in inactive state. You must activate the rule for it
to take effect. You can use the Activate and Reorder wizard to activate, deactivate, and change the order
of the rules.
The upper list on the Activate and Reorder page of the wizard displays the rules in the active rule set.
The lower list displays the inactive rules.
Prerequisites
nPrepare your system and install the Auto Deploy Server. For more information, see Prepare Your
System for vSphere Auto Deploy.
nCreate a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Create a Deploy Rule.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere Auto Deploy service.
2On the Deploy Rules tab, click Activate/Deactivate rules.
The Activate and Reorder wizard appears.
3(Optional) If you want to deactivate an active rule, select the rule from the active rules list and click
the Deactivate button.
4From the list of inactive rules, select the rule that you want to activate and click the Activate button.
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5(Optional) If you want to reorder the rules in the active rule list, select a rule that you want to move up
or down in the list and click the Move up or Move down icon above the list of active rules.
The rules are listed by priority. For example, if two or more rules apply to the same host but are set to
provision the host with different image profiles, host profiles, and locations, the rule that is highest in
the list takes effect on the host.
6(Optional) If you want to test an inactive rule before activation, select the Test rules before
activation check box and click Next.
a On the Select test targets page of the wizard, from the Filter tab select the hosts on which to test
the inactive rule and click Next.
The Selected tab displays only the selected hosts.
b On the Preview test results page of the wizard, select a host from the list to view the current
status of the host and the changes that are expected after the activation of the rule.
If the host is compliant with the rule, you do not need to remediate the host after you activate the
rule.
c (Optional) If you want to remediate the selected hosts after the rule activation, select the
Remediate listed host associations after rule activation check box.
7Click Next.
8Review the list of active rules and click Finish.
On the Deploy Rules tab, the rule is listed as active in the Status column.
What to do next
nView the image profile, host profile, and location associations of a host. See View Host Associations.
nRemediate non-compliant hosts. See Remediate a Non-compliant Host.
View Host Associations
Some of the hosts in the vSphere Auto Deploy inventory might not be compliant with the active deploy
rules. To verify that one or more ESXi hosts are compliant with the active rule set, you must check the
host associations compliance.
Prerequisites
nPrepare your system and install the Auto Deploy Server. For more information, see Prepare Your
System for vSphere Auto Deploy.
nCreate a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Create a Deploy Rule.
nActivate a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Activate, Deactivate, and Reorder Deploy Rules.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere Auto Deploy service.
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2Check the host associations compliance
The Check Host Associations Compliance window displays the current status of the host and
whether the host is compliant with the active rule set. You can view the currently assigned image
profile, host profile, host location, script bundle, and the associations that will take effect after a
remediation of the host. You can assign a script bundle to a host only by using PowerCLI cmdlets.
Option Steps
If you want to check the
host associations
compliance of a single
host
1 On the Deployed Hosts tab, select an ESXi host.
2 Click Check Host Associations Compliance.
3 Check if the host associations are compliant with the current active rule set.
4 Close the Check Host Associations Compliance window.
nIf you want to remediate the host, click Remediate.
nIf you do not want to remediate the host, click Close.
If you want to check the
host associations
compliance of multiple
hosts
1 On the Deployed Hosts tab, use Shift+left-click or Ctrl+left-click to select multiple ESXi hosts.
2 Click Check Host Associations Compliance.
3 Confirm that you want to check the compliance of all selected hosts.
4 Review the compliance status of the hosts in the left pane.
5 (Optional) In the left pane, select a host to view the compliance status details in the right pane.
6 (Optional) Select one or multiple hosts and click Remediate Selected Hosts to remediate
them.
nClick the check box of each host you want to select.
nClick the Hosts check box to select all hosts.
7 Click Close to close the Check Host Associations Compliance window.
What to do next
nRemediate non-compliant hosts. See Remediate a Non-compliant Host.
nEdit the image profile association of a host. See Edit the Image Profile Association of a Host.
nEdit a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Editing a Deploy Rule.
Edit the Image Profile Association of a Host
You can edit the image profile association of a single host if the host is not associated with a vSphere
Auto Deploy rule or if you do not want to change the image profile association of multiple hosts by editing
a rule.
Prerequisites
nPrepare your system and install the Auto Deploy Server. For more information, see Prepare Your
System for vSphere Auto Deploy.
nCreate a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Create a Deploy Rule.
nActivate a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Activate, Deactivate, and Reorder Deploy Rules.
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Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere Auto Deploy service.
2On the Deployed Hosts tab, select an ESXi host.
3Click Edit Image Profile Association.
The Edit Image Profile Association dialog box appears.
4Edit the image profile association of the host.
Option Action
If you do not want to change the image profile Select the Same image profile option.
If you want to assign a new image profile to the selected
hosts
1 Select the Browse for Image Profile option.
2 Select a software depot from the drop-down menu.
3 Select an image profile from the list.
4 (Optional) If you want to bypass the acceptance level
verification for the image profile, select the Skip image
profile signature check check box.
5Click OK.
The new image profile is listed in the Image Profile column after a refresh of the page.
What to do next
nView the image profile, host profile, and location associations of a host. See View Host Associations.
nIf the host is associated with a rule and you want to revert to the image profile defined in the rule,
remediate the host. See Remediate a Non-compliant Host.
Remediate a Non-compliant Host
When you add a rule to the vSphere Auto Deploy active rule set or make changes to one or more rules,
hosts are not updated automatically. You must remediate the host associations to apply the new rules to
the host.
Prerequisites
nPrepare your system and install the Auto Deploy Server. For more information, see Prepare Your
System for vSphere Auto Deploy.
nCreate a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Create a Deploy Rule.
nActivate a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Activate, Deactivate, and Reorder Deploy Rules.
nIf the remediation of a host, results in a change in its location, the host must be placed in
maintenance mode.
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Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere Auto Deploy service.
2On the Deployed Hosts tab, select an ESXi host.
You can use Shift+left-click or Ctrl+left-click to select multiple hosts
3Click Remediate Host Associations.
If you remediate a host that has an edited image profile association, the host reverts to the settings
defined in the rule that it matches.
You can monitor the progress of the remediation process in the Recent Tasks pane.
What to do next
nView the image profile, host profile, and location associations of a host. See View Host Associations.
nChange the image profile association of a host. See Edit the Image Profile Association of a Host.
Add a Host to the vSphere Auto Deploy Inventory
You can view the hosts that do not match any vSphere Auto Deploy rule and manually add a host to the
vSphere Auto Deploy inventory.
To add a host to the current vSphere Auto Deploy inventory of deployed hosts, you can create a new rule
or edit an existing rule to include a host that is not deployed with vSphere Auto Deploy and associate it
with a specific image profile, host profile and location. Alternatively, you can add a host manually to the
inventory by assigning to it an image profile, host profile, and location.
Prerequisites
nPrepare your system and install the Auto Deploy Server. For more information, see Prepare Your
System for vSphere Auto Deploy.
nTo assign an image profile to the host, add the software depot that you need to the inventory. See
Add a Software Depot or Import a Software Depot.
Procedure
1Start the Add to Inventory Wizard
You can add a host that does not correspond to any vSphere Auto Deploy rule to the list of deployed
hosts by using the Add to Inventory wizard.
2Select an Image Profile in the Add to Inventory Wizard
You can assign an image profile to a host that you want to add to the vSphere Auto Deploy
inventory.
3Select a Host Profile in the Add to Inventory Wizard
You can optionally assign a host profile to a host that you want to add to the vSphere Auto Deploy
inventory.
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4Select a Host Location in the Add to Inventory Wizard
You can assign a location to a host that you want to add to the vSphere Auto Deploy inventory.
5View the Summary of the Add to Inventory Wizard
You can review the host associations before you complete the Add to Inventory wizard.
What to do next
nEdit a vSphere Auto Deploy rule. See Editing a Deploy Rule.
nView the image profile, host profile, and location associations of a host. See View Host Associations.
nRemediate non-compliant hosts. See Remediate a Non-compliant Host.
Start the Add to Inventory Wizard
You can add a host that does not correspond to any vSphere Auto Deploy rule to the list of deployed
hosts by using the Add to Inventory wizard.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere Auto Deploy service.
2On the Discovered Hosts tab, select one or more hosts that you want to provision with an image
profile, host profile, and location.
3Select Add to Inventory.
The Add to Inventory wizard appears.
Select an Image Profile in the Add to Inventory Wizard
You can assign an image profile to a host that you want to add to the vSphere Auto Deploy inventory.
Prerequisites
To assign an image profile to the host, add the software depot that you need to the inventory. See Add a
Software Depot or Import a Software Depot.
Procedure
1Select a software depot from the drop-down menu.
2Select an image profile from the list of image profiles in the selected depot.
3If you want to bypass the acceptance level verification of the image profile, select the Skip image
profile signature check check box.
4Select an image profile.
5Click Next.
Select a Host Profile in the Add to Inventory Wizard
You can optionally assign a host profile to a host that you want to add to the vSphere Auto Deploy
inventory.
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Procedure
1On the Select host profile page of the wizard, select a host profile.
Option Action
If you do not want to assign a host profile to the selected
hosts
Select the Do not include a host profile check box.
If you want to assign a host profile to the selected hosts Select a host profile from the list.
2Click Next.
Select a Host Location in the Add to Inventory Wizard
You can assign a location to a host that you want to add to the vSphere Auto Deploy inventory.
Procedure
1Select a data center, folder, or cluster as the location for the host.
2Click Next.
View the Summary of the Add to Inventory Wizard
You can review the host associations before you complete the Add to Inventory wizard.
Procedure
1On the Ready to complete page, review the selected host associations.
2Click Finish.
Provisioning ESXi Systems with vSphere Auto Deploy
vSphere Auto Deploy can provision hundreds of physical hosts with ESXi software. You can provision
hosts that did not previously run ESXi software (first boot), reboot hosts, or reprovision hosts with a
different image profile, host profile, custom script, or folder or cluster location.
The vSphere Auto Deploy process differs depending on the state of the host and on the changes that you
want to make.
Provision a Host (First Boot)
Provisioning a host that has never been provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy (first boot) differs from
subsequent boot processes. You must prepare the host and fulfill all other prerequisites before you can
provision the host. You can optionally define a custom image profile with vSphere ESXi Image Builder by
using the vSphere Web Client or PowerCLI cmdlets.
Prerequisites
nMake sure your host meets the hardware requirements for ESXi hosts.
See ESXi Hardware Requirements.
nPrepare the system for vSphere Auto Deploy. See Preparing for vSphere Auto Deploy.
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nWrite rules that assign an image profile to the host and optionally assign a host profile and a
vCenter Server location to the host. See Managing vSphere Auto Deploy with PowerCLI Cmdlets or
Managing vSphere Auto Deploy with the vSphere Web Client.
When the setup is complete, the vSphere Auto Deploy service is enabled, DHCP setup is complete,
and rules for the host that you want to provision are in the active rule set.
Procedure
1Turn on the host.
The host contacts the DHCP server and downloads iPXE from the location the server points it to.
Next, the vSphere Auto Deploy server provisions the host with the image specified by the rule engine.
The vSphere Auto Deploy server might also apply a host profile to the host if one is specified in the
rule set. Finally, vSphere Auto Deploy adds the host to the vCenter Server system that is specified in
the rule set.
2(Optional) If vSphere Auto Deploy applies a host profile that requires user input such as an IP
address, the host is placed in maintenance mode. Reapply the host profile with the
vSphere Web Client and provide the user input when prompted.
After the first boot process, the host is running and managed by a vCenter Server system. The
vCenter Server stores the host's image profile, host profile, and location information.
You can now reboot the host as needed. Each time you reboot, the host is reprovisioned by the
vCenter Server system.
What to do next
Reprovision hosts as needed. See Reprovisioning Hosts.
If you want to change the image profile, host profile, custom script, or location of the host, update the
rules and activate them by using the vSphere Web Client or perform a test and repair compliance
operation in a PowerCLI session. See Rules and Rule Sets or Test and Repair Rule Compliance.
Reprovisioning Hosts
vSphere Auto Deploy supports multiple reprovisioning options. You can perform a simple reboot or
reprovision with a different image profile or a different host profile.
A first boot using vSphere Auto Deploy requires that you set up your environment and add rules to the
rule set. See Preparing for vSphere Auto Deploy.
The following reprovisioning operations are available.
nSimple reboot.
nReboot of hosts for which the user answered questions during the boot operation.
nReprovision with a different image profile.
nReprovision with a different host profile.
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Reprovision Hosts with Simple Reboot Operations
A simple reboot of a host that is provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy requires only that all prerequisites
are still met. The process uses the previously assigned image profile, host profile, custom script, and
vCenter Server location.
Prerequisites
nVerify that the setup you performed during the first boot operation is in place. See Provision a Host
(First Boot).
nVerify that all associated items like are available. An item can be an image profile, host profile,
custom script or vCenter Server inventory location.
nVerify that the host has the identifying information (asset tag, IP address) it had during previous boot
operations.
Procedure
1Place the host in maintenance mode.
Host Type Action
Host is part of a DRS cluster VMware DRS migrates virtual machines to appropriate hosts when you place the
host in maintenance mode.
Host is not part of a DRS cluster You must migrate all virtual machines to different hosts and place each host in
maintenance mode.
2Reboot the host.
The host shuts down. When the host reboots, it uses the image profile that the vSphere Auto Deploy
server provides. The vSphere Auto Deploy server also applies the host profile stored on the
vCenter Server system.
Reprovision a Host with a New Image Profile by Using PowerCLI
You can use vSphere Auto Deploy to reprovision a host with a new image profile in a PowerCLI session
by changing the rule for the host and performing a test and repair compliance operation.
Several options for reprovisioning hosts exist.
nIf the VIBs that you want to use support live update, you can use an esxcli software vib
command. In that case, you must also update the rule set to use an image profile that includes the
new VIBs.
nDuring testing, you can apply an image profile to an individual host with the Apply-
EsxImageProfile cmdlet and reboot the host so the change takes effect. The Apply-
EsxImageProfile cmdlet updates the association between the host and the image profile but does
not install VIBs on the host.
nIn all other cases, use this procedure.
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Prerequisites
nVerify that the image profile you want to use to reprovision the host is available. Use vSphere ESXi
Image Builder in a PowerCLI session. See Customizing Installations with vSphere ESXi Image
Builder.
nVerify that the setup you performed during the first boot operation is in place.
Procedure
1At the PowerShell prompt, run the Connect-VIServer PowerCLI cmdlet to connect to the
vCenter Server system that vSphere Auto Deploy is registered with.
Connect-VIServer ipv4_or_ipv6_address
The cmdlet might return a server certificate warning. In a production environment, make sure no
server certificate warnings result. In a development environment, you can ignore the warning.
2Determine the location of a public software depot that contains the image profile that you want to use,
or define a custom image profile with vSphere ESXi Image Builder.
3Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot to add the software depot that contains the image profile to the
PowerCLI session.
Depot Type Cmdlet
Remote depot Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot depot_url.
ZIP file a Download the ZIP file to a local file path or create a mount point local to the
PowerCLI machine.
b Run Add-EsxSoftwareDepot C:\file_path\my_offline_depot.zip.
4Run Get-EsxImageProfile to see a list of image profiles, and decide which profile you want to use.
5Run Copy-DeployRule and specify the ReplaceItem parameter to change the rule that assigns an
image profile to hosts.
The following cmdlet replaces the current image profile that the rule assigns to the host with the
my_new_imageprofile profile. After the cmdlet completes, myrule assigns the new image profile to
hosts. The old version of myrule is renamed and hidden.
Copy-DeployRule myrule -ReplaceItem my_new_imageprofile
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6Test the rule compliance for each host that you want to deploy the image to.
a Verify that you can access the host for which you want to test rule set compliance.
Get-VMHost -Name ESXi_hostname
b Run the cmdlet that tests rule set compliance for the host, and bind the return value to a variable
for later use.
$tr = Test-DeployRuleSetCompliance ESXi_hostname
c Examine the differences between the contents of the rule set and configuration of the host.
$tr.itemlist
The system returns a table of current and expected items if the host for which you want to test the
new rule set compliance is compliant with the active rule set.
CurrentItem ExpectedItem
----------- ------------
my_old_imageprofile my_new_imageprofile
d Remediate the host to use the revised rule set the next time you boot the host.
Repair-DeployRuleSetCompliance $tr
7Reboot the host to provision it with the new image profile.
Reprovision a Host with a New Image Profile by Using the vSphere Web Client
You can use vSphere Auto Deploy to reprovision a host with a new image profile with the
vSphere Web Client by changing the rule that the host corresponds to and activating the rule.
Prerequisites
nVerify that the image profile you want to use to reprovision the host is available. See Create an Image
Profile.
nVerify that the setup you performed during the first boot operation is in place.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere Auto Deploy service.
2On the Deploy Rules tab, from the list of rules in the inventory select the rule that you want to edit
and click Edit.
The Edit Deploy Rule dialog box appears.
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3Select the Select image profile page to assign an image profile to the hosts that match the rule
criteria.
Option Action
If you do not want to change the image profile Select the Same image profile option.
If you do not want to assign an image profile to the selected
hosts
Select the No image profile option.
If you want to assign a new image profile to the selected
hosts
1 Select the Browse for Image Profile option.
2 Select a software depot from the drop-down menu.
3 Select an image profile from the list.
4 (Optional) If you want to bypass the acceptance level
verification for the image profile, select the Skip image
profile signature check check box.
4Click Activate/Deactivate rules.
5From the list of inactive rules, select the rule that you want to activate and click the Activate button.
6(Optional) If you want to reorder the rules in the active rule list, select a rule that you want to move up
or down in the list and click the Move up or Move down icon above the list of active rules.
The rules are listed by priority. For example, if two or more rules apply to the same host but are set to
provision the host with different image profiles, host profiles, and locations, the rule that is highest in
the list takes effect on the host.
7(Optional) If you want to test an inactive rule before activation, select the Test rules before
activation check box and click Next.
a On the Select test targets page of the wizard, from the Filter tab select the hosts on which to test
the inactive rule and click Next.
The Selected tab displays only the selected hosts.
b On the Preview test results page of the wizard, select a host from the list to view the current
status of the host and the changes that are expected after the activation of the rule.
If the host is compliant with the rule, you do not need to remediate the host after you activate the
rule.
c (Optional) If you want to remediate the selected hosts after the rule activation, select the
Remediate listed host associations after rule activation check box.
8Click Next.
9Review the list of active rules and click Finish.
10 Reboot the host to provision it with the new image profile.
Update the Host Customization in the vSphere Web Client
If a host required user input during a previous boot, the answers are saved with the vCenter Server. If you
want to prompt the user for new information, you must remediate the host.
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Prerequisites
Attach a host profile that prompts for user input to the host.
Procedure
1Migrate all virtual machines to different hosts, and place the host into maintenance mode.
Host Type Action
Host is part of a DRS cluster VMware DRS migrates virtual machines to appropriate hosts when you place the
host in maintenance mode.
Host is not part of a DRS cluster You must migrate all virtual machines to different hosts and place each host in
maintenance mode.
2On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Auto Deploy.
By default, only the Administrator role has privileges to use the vSphere Auto Deploy service.
3On the Deployed Hosts tab, select an ESXi host.
4Click Remediate Host Associations.
You can monitor the progress of the remediation process in the Recent Tasks pane.
5When prompted, provide the user input.
6Direct the host to exit maintenance mode.
The host customization is saved and takes effect the next time you boot the host.
Using vSphere Auto Deploy for Stateless Caching and Stateful Installs
The vSphere Auto Deploy stateless caching feature lets you cache the host's image. The vSphere Auto
Deploy stateful installs feature lets you install hosts over the network. After the initial network boot, these
hosts boot like other ESXi hosts.
The stateless caching solution is primarily intended for situations when several hosts boot simultaneously.
The locally cached image helps prevent a bottleneck that results if several hundreds of hosts connect to
the vSphere Auto Deploy server simultaneously. After the boot operation is complete, hosts connect to
vSphere Auto Deploy to complete the setup.
The stateful installs feature lets you provision hosts with the image profile over the network without having
to set up the PXE boot infrastructure.
nIntroduction to Stateless Caching and Stateful Installs
You can use the System Cache Configuration host profile to provision hosts with vSphere Auto
Deploy stateless caching and stateful installs.
nUnderstanding Stateless Caching and Stateful Installs
When you want to use vSphere Auto Deploy with stateless caching or stateful installs, you must set
up a host profile, apply the host profile, and set the boot order.
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nConfigure a Host Profile to Use Stateless Caching
When a host is set up to use stateless caching, the host uses a cached image if the vSphere Auto
Deploy Server is not available. To use stateless caching, you must configure a host profile. You can
apply that host profile to other hosts that you want to set up for stateless caching.
nConfigure a Host Profile to Enable Stateful Installs
To set up a host provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy to boot from disk, you must configure a host
profile. You can apply that host profile to other hosts that you want to set up for stateful installs.
Introduction to Stateless Caching and Stateful Installs
You can use the System Cache Configuration host profile to provision hosts with vSphere Auto Deploy
stateless caching and stateful installs.
Examples of Stateless Caching and Stateful Installs
Hosts provisioned with
vSphere Auto Deploy
cache the image
(stateless caching)
Set up and apply a host profile for stateless caching. You can cache the
image on a local disk, a remote disk, or a USB drive. Continue provisioning
this host with vSphere Auto Deploy. If the vSphere Auto Deploy server
becomes unavailable, for example because hundreds of hosts attempt to
access it simultaneously, the host boots from the cache. The host attempts
to reach the vSphere Auto Deploy server after the boot operation to
complete configuration.
Hosts provisioned with
vSphere Auto Deploy
become stateful hosts
Set up and apply a host profile for stateful installs. When you provision a
host with vSphere Auto Deploy, the image is installed on the local disk, a
remote disk, or a USB drive. For subsequent boots, you boot from the disk.
The host no longer uses vSphere Auto Deploy.
Preparation
To successfully use stateless caching or stateful installs, decide how to configure the system and set the
boot order.
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Table 517. Preparation for Stateless Caching or Stateful Installs
Requirement or Decision Description
Decide on VMFS partition overwrite When you install ESXi by using the interactive installer, you are
prompted whether you want to overwrite an existing VMFS
datastore. The System Cache Configuration host profile
provides an option to overwrite existing VMFS partitions.
The option is not available if you set up the host profile to use a
USB drive.
Decide whether you need a highly available environment If you use vSphere Auto Deploy with stateless caching, you can
set up a highly available vSphere Auto Deploy environment to
guarantee that virtual machines are migrated on newly
provisioned hosts and that the environment supports vNetwork
Distributed Switch even if the vCenter Server system becomes
temporarily unavailable.
Set the boot order The boot order you specify for your hosts depends on the
feature you want to use.
nTo set up vSphere Auto Deploy with stateless caching,
configure your host to first attempt to boot from the network,
and to then attempt to boot from disk. If the vSphere Auto
Deploy server is not available, the host boots using the
cache.
nTo set up vSphere Auto Deploy for stateful installs on hosts
that do not currently have a bootable disk, configure your
hosts to first attempt to boot from disk, and to then attempt
to boot from the network.
Note If you currently have a bootable image on the disk,
configure the hosts for one-time PXE boot, and provision the
host with vSphere Auto Deploy to use a host profile that
specifies stateful installs.
Stateless Caching and Loss of Connectivity
If the ESXi hosts that run your virtual machines lose connectivity to the vSphere Auto Deploy server, the
vCenter Server system, or both, some limitations apply the next time you reboot the host.
nIf vCenter Server is available but the vSphere Auto Deploy server is unavailable, hosts do not
connect to the vCenter Server system automatically. You can manually connect the hosts to the
vCenter Server, or wait until the vSphere Auto Deploy server is available again.
nIf both vCenter Server and vSphere Auto Deploy are unavailable, you can connect to each ESXi host
by using the VMware Host Client, and add virtual machines to each host.
nIf vCenter Server is not available, vSphere DRS does not work. The vSphere Auto Deploy server
cannot add hosts to the vCenter Server. You can connect to each ESXi host by using the
VMware Host Client, and add virtual machines to each host.
nIf you make changes to your setup while connectivity is lost, the changes are lost when the
connection to the vSphere Auto Deploy server is restored.
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Understanding Stateless Caching and Stateful Installs
When you want to use vSphere Auto Deploy with stateless caching or stateful installs, you must set up a
host profile, apply the host profile, and set the boot order.
When you apply a host profile that enables caching to a host, vSphere Auto Deploy partitions the
specified disk. What happens next depends on how you set up the host profile and how you set the boot
order on the host.
nvSphere Auto Deploy caches the image when you apply the host profile if Enable stateless caching
on the host is selected in the System Cache Configuration host profile. No reboot is required. When
you later reboot, the host continues to use the vSphere Auto Deploy infrastructure to retrieve its
image. If the vSphere Auto Deploy server is not available, the host uses the cached image.
nvSphere Auto Deploy installs the image if Enable stateful installs on the host is selected in the
System Cache Configuration host profile. When you reboot, the host initially boots using vSphere
Auto Deploy to complete the installation. A reboot is then issued automatically, after which the host
boots from disk, similar to a host that was provisioned with the installer. vSphere Auto Deploy no
longer provisions the host.
You can apply the host profile from the vSphere Web Client, or write a vSphere Auto Deploy rule in a
PowerCLI session that applies the host profile.
Using the vSphere Web Client to Set Up vSphere Auto Deploy for Stateless Caching or
Stateful Installs
You can create a host profile on a reference host and apply that host profile to additional hosts or to a
vCenter Server folder or cluster. The following workflow results.
1 You provision a host with vSphere Auto Deploy and edit that host's System Image Cache
Configuration host profile.
2 You place one or more target hosts in maintenance mode, apply the host profile to each host, and
instruct the host to exit maintenance mode.
3 What happens next depends on the host profile you selected.
nIf the host profile enabled stateless caching, the image is cached to disk. No reboot is required.
nIf the host profile enabled stateful installs, the image is installed. When you reboot, the host uses
the installed image.
Using PowerCLI to Set Up vSphere Auto Deploy for Stateless Caching or Stateful Installs
You can create a host profile for a reference host and write a vSphere Auto Deploy rule that applies that
host profile to other target hosts in a PowerCLI session. The following workflow results.
1 You provision a reference host with vSphere Auto Deploy and create a host profile to enable a form of
caching.
2 You write a rule that provisions additional hosts with vSphere Auto Deploy and that applies the host
profile of the reference host to those hosts.
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3 vSphere Auto Deploy provisions each host with the image profile or by using the script bundle
associated with the rule. The exact effect of applying the host profile depends on the host profile you
selected.
nFor stateful installs, vSphere Auto Deploy proceeds as follows:
nDuring first boot, vSphere Auto Deploy installs the image on the host.
nDuring subsequent boots, the host boots from disk. The hosts do not need a connection to
the vSphere Auto Deploy server.
nFor stateless caching, vSphere Auto Deploy proceeds as follows:
nDuring first boot, vSphere Auto Deploy provisions the host and caches the image.
nDuring subsequent boots, vSphere Auto Deploy provisions the host. If vSphere Auto Deploy
is unavailable, the host boots from the cached image, however, setup can only be completed
when the host can reach the vSphere Auto Deploy server.
Configure a Host Profile to Use Stateless Caching
When a host is set up to use stateless caching, the host uses a cached image if the vSphere Auto Deploy
Server is not available. To use stateless caching, you must configure a host profile. You can apply that
host profile to other hosts that you want to set up for stateless caching.
Prerequisites
nDecide which disk to use for caching and determine whether the caching process will overwrite an
existing VMFS partition.
nIn production environments, protect the vCenter Server system and the vSphere Auto Deploy server
by including them in a highly available environment. Having the vCenter Server in a management
cluster guarantees that VDS and virtual machine migration are available. If possible, also protect
other elements of your infrastructure. See Set Up Highly Available vSphere Auto Deploy
Infrastructure.
nSet up your environment for vSphere Auto Deploy. See Preparing for vSphere Auto Deploy.
nVerify that a disk with at least 1GB of free space is available. If the disk is not yet partitioned,
partitioning happens when you apply the host profile.
nSet up the host to attempt a network boot first and to boot from disk if network boot fails. See your
hardware vendor's documentation.
nCreate a host profile. See the Host Profiles documentation.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Host Profiles.
2Select the host profile you want to configure and select the Manage tab.
3Click Edit Host Profile.
4Leave the name and description and click Next.
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5On the Edit host profile page of the wizard, select Advanced Configuration Settings > System
Image Cache Configuration > System Image Cache Configuration.
6In the System Image Cache Profile Settings drop-down menu, choose a policy option.
Option Description
Enable stateless caching on the host Caches the image to disk.
Enable stateless caching to a USB disk
on the host
Caches the image to a USB disk attached to the host.
7(Optional) If you select Enable stateless caching on the host, specify the information about the disk
to use.
Option Description
Arguments for first disk By default, the system attempts to replace an existing ESXi installation, and then
attempts to write to the local disk.
You can use the Arguments for first disk field to specify a comma-separated list
of disks to use, in order of preference. You can specify more than one disk. Use
esx for the first disk with ESX installed on it, use model and vendor information,
or specify the name of the vmkernel device driver. For example, to have the
system first look for a disk with the model name ST3120814A, second for any
disk that uses the mptsas driver, and third for the local disk, specify
ST3120814A,mptsas,local as the value of this field.
The first disk setting in the host profile specifies the search order for determining
which disk to use for the cache. The search order is specified as a comma
delimited list of values. The default setting localesx,local specifies that
vSphere Auto Deploy should first look for an existing local cache disk. The cache
disk is identified as a disk with an existing ESXi software image. If vSphere Auto
Deploy cannot find an existing cache disk, it searches for an available local disk
device. When searching for an available disk vSphere Auto Deploy uses the first
empty disk that does not have an existing VMFS partition.
You can use the first disk argument only to specify the search order. You cannot
explicitly specify a disk. For example, you cannot specify a specific LUN on a
SAN.
Check to overwrite any VMFS volumes
on the selected disk
If you select this check box, the system overwrites existing VMFS volumes if not
enough space is available to store the image, image profile, and host profile.
Check to ignore any SSD devices
connected to the host
If you select this check box , the system ignores any existing SSD devices and
does not store image profiles and host profiles on them.
8Click Finish to complete the host profile configuration.
What to do next
Apply the host profile to individual hosts by using the host profiles feature in the vSphere Web Client. See
the Host Profiles documentation. Alternatively, you can create a rule to assign the host profile to hosts
with the vSphere Web Client or by using PowerCLI. See Write a Rule and Assign a Host Profile to Hosts.
nCreate a rule that applies the host profile to all hosts that you want to provision with the settings
specified in the reference host. For writing a rule in a PowerCLI session, see Write a Rule and Assign
a Host Profile to Hosts.
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nFor hosts that are already provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy, perform the test and repair
compliance operations in a PowerCLI session, see Test and Repair Rule Compliance.
nPower on unprovisioned hosts to provision them with the new host profile.
Configure a Host Profile to Enable Stateful Installs
To set up a host provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy to boot from disk, you must configure a host
profile. You can apply that host profile to other hosts that you want to set up for stateful installs.
You can configure the host profile on a single host. You can also create a host profile on a reference host
and apply that host profile to other hosts.
Prerequisites
nDecide which disk to use for storing the image, and determine whether the new image will overwrite
an existing VMFS partition.
nSet up your environment for vSphere Auto Deploy. See Preparing for vSphere Auto Deploy.
nVerify that a disk with at least 1GB of free space is available. If the disk is not yet partitioned,
partitioning happens when you apply the host profile.
nSet up the host to boot from disk. See your hardware vendor's documentation.
nCreate a host profile. See the Host Profiles documentation.
Procedure
1On the vSphere Web Client Home page, click Host Profiles.
2Select the host profile you want to configure and select the Manage tab.
3Click Edit Host Profile.
4Leave the name and description and click Next.
5On the Edit host profile page of the wizard, select Advanced Configuration Settings > System
Image Cache Configuration > System Image Cache Configuration.
6In the System Image Cache Profile Settings drop-down menu, choose a policy option.
Option Description
Enable stateful installs on the host Caches the image to a disk.
Enable stateful installs to a USB disk
on the host
Caches the image to a USB disk attached to the host.
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7(Optional) If you select Enable stateful installs on the host, specify information about the disk to
use.
Option Description
Arguments for first disk By default, the system attempts to replace an existing ESXi installation, and then
attempts to write to the local disk.
You can use the Arguments for first disk field to specify a comma-separated list
of disks to use, in order of preference. You can specify more than one disk. Use
esx for the first disk with ESX installed on it, use model and vendor information,
or specify the name of the vmkernel device driver. For example, to have the
system first look for a disk with the model name ST3120814A, second for any
disk that uses the mptsas driver, and third for the local disk, specify
ST3120814A,mptsas,local as the value of this field.
The first disk setting in the host profile specifies the search order for determining
which disk to use for the cache. The search order is specified as a comma
delimited list of values. The default setting localesx,local specifies that
vSphere Auto Deploy should first look for an existing local cache disk. The cache
disk is identified as a disk with an existing ESXi software image. If vSphere Auto
Deploy cannot find an existing cache disk, it searches for an available local disk
device. When searching for an available disk vSphere Auto Deploy uses the first
empty disk that does not have an existing VMFS partition.
You can use the first disk argument only to specify the search order. You cannot
explicitly specify a disk. For example, you cannot specify a specific LUN on a
SAN.
Check to overwrite any VMFS volumes
on the selected disk
If you select this check box, the system overwrites existing VMFS volumes if not
enough space is available to store the image, image profile, and host profile.
Check to ignore any SSD devices
connected to the host
If you select this check box , the system ignores any existing SSD devices and
does not store image profiles and host profiles on them.
8Click Finish to complete the host profile configuration.
What to do next
Apply the host profile to individual hosts by using the host profiles feature in the vSphere Web Client. See
the Host Profiles documentation. Alternatively, you can create a rule to assign the host profile to hosts
with the vSphere Web Client or by using PowerCLI. See Write a Rule and Assign a Host Profile to Hosts.
nCreate a rule that applies the host profile to all hosts that you want to provision with the settings
specified in the reference host. For writing a rule in a PowerCLI session, see Write a Rule and Assign
a Host Profile to Hosts.
nFor hosts that are already provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy, perform the test and repair
compliance operations in a PowerCLI session, see Test and Repair Rule Compliance.
nPower on unprovisioned hosts to provision them with the new host profile.
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Setting Up a vSphere Auto Deploy Reference Host
In an environment where no state is stored on the host, a reference host helps you set up multiple hosts
with the same configuration. You configure the reference host with the logging, coredump, and other
settings that you want, save the host profile, and write a rule that applies the host profile to other hosts as
needed.
You can configure the storage, networking, and security settings on the reference host and set up
services such as syslog and NTP.
Understanding Reference Host Setup
A well-designed reference host connects to all services such as syslog, NTP, and so on. The reference
host setup might also include security, storage, networking, and ESXi Dump Collector. You can apply
such a host's setup to other hosts by using host profiles.
The exact setup of your reference host depends on your environment, but you might consider the
following customization.
NTP Server Setup When you collect logging information in large environments, you must
make sure that log times are coordinated. Set up the reference host to use
the NTP server in your environment that all hosts can share. You can
specify an NTP server by running the vicfg-ntp command. You can start
and stop the NTP service for a host with the vicfg-ntp command, or the
vSphere Web Client.
Syslog Server Setup All ESXi hosts run a syslog service (vmsyslogd), which logs messages
from the VMkernel and other system components to a file. You can specify
the log host and manage the log location, rotation, size, and other attributes
by running the esxcli system syslog vCLI command or by using the
vSphere Web Client. Setting up logging on a remote host is especially
important for hosts provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy that have no
local storage. You can optionally install the vSphere Syslog Collector to
collect logs from all hosts.
Core Dump Setup You can set up your reference host to send core dumps to a shared SAN
LUN, or you can install ESXi Dump Collector in your environment and
configure the reference host to use ESXi Dump Collector. See Configure
ESXi Dump Collector with ESXCLI. You can either install ESXi Dump
Collector by using the vCenter Server installation media or use the ESXi
Dump Collector that is included in the vCenter Server Appliance. After
setup is complete, VMkernel memory is sent to the specified network server
when the system encounters a critical failure.
Security Setup In most deployments, all hosts that you provision with vSphere Auto Deploy
must have the same security settings. You can, for example, set up the
firewall to allow certain services to access the ESXi system, set up the
security configuration, user configuration, and user group configuration for
VMware ESXi Installation and Setup
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