A VMware ESXi virtualisation environment can grow rapidly. The complexity of configuring so many virtual computers in a large deployment presents a challenge to administrators faced with the need to maintain reliable and easily maintained systems. ESXi servers address this problem by allowing administrators to create templates for commonly deployed virtual guest configurations. Templates not only simplify the deployment process but also help to reduce the possibility of misconfiguring virtual guests.
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Things you need
- ESX host server
- VSphere service console
Create a source virtual machine. Open the VSphere service console and from the "File" drop-down menu choose "New," "Virtual Machine... ." Give this source machine a meaningful name, such as "Windows Template." The new machine wizard will guide you through the process of selecting a target host, the guest operating system and the virtual disk size.
Once you have created the machine, configure it by installing an operating system, configuring as few features as you will need for future deployments.
Convert the source machine to a template. Right-click on the name of the source machine and choose "Template," "Convert to Template." You will know the resulting template by its icon, which resembles a sheet of paper rather than the VMWare logo used by virtual machines.
Deploy the template. Right-click on the template and choose "Deploy Virtual Machine from this Template... ." Give the virtual machine a unique name and a location in the VMWare inventory. Select an appropriate host, resource pool and data store for the new server. Choose an appropriate format for the server, either thin provisioned or thick format. The wizard displays an option to customise the virtual machine, but you will encounter fewer problems if you customise after deploying the machine. Click "Finish" to complete the deployment and begin using the new server.
Tips and warnings
- Use the summary tab for your templates in order to maintain notes regarding how the template was built. This will make it easy to track the contents of templates that you use infrequently.
- Update templates frequently with operating system patches and the latest versions of application software and the VMWare Tools.
- Scan templates regularly with antivirus software to prevent them from becoming a source of repeated infections.
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