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My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together
(Apologies to fellow Brits for the spelling of “center/centre”, it bugs me too! but that’s the product name, spelling and all – plus it helps our worldwide friends who are coming in via Google)
Just incase you are interested here are the steps to do so.
I have a Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition “Gold” VM image that I’ve used for years (see this page for some more good ideas on that) and I’ve ported it all the way from VM Workstation 4.x, through 5.x, VMware Server 1.x, 2.x and now ESX 3.5.
I used the VMWare P2V Convertor (which yes I slated earlier.. but it works in this instance) to convert from Workstation 6.x format for my new ESX server and manage it as a template via Virtual Centre.
1st off, Right click on the template and choose to deploy (hint: if you want to make a template right click on a VM you prepared earlier and clone/convert to template.)
Choose where you want to run the VM – this is a list of your VC data centres
Choose the ESX host where you want to run it – I only have 1 which is my desktop ESX server (https://vinf.net/2008/01/14/vmware-esx-v35-on-cheap-pc-hardware/)
I get this warning message, but this is because I’ve ported my VM across so many different versions of VMWare, and the template VM still has a virtual USB port – must get round to removing it!
Choose the datastore – this is my 500Gb SATA drive inside the PC
and you can pick a template to customise the VM, this essentially lets you choose (or not) to automatically run a SysPrep once the VM has booted – the “customization specification” is essentially a sysprep.inf file that you pre-created using the customization specification wizard (below).
The customization wizard does seem to add some bells and whistles as you can choose the VM machine name based on what you’ve called it in Virtual Center or spawn out to an external application/script which is a nice feature that I don’t believe you can do with standard Sysprep
Anyway, back to the VM deployment..
Choose from your set of templates, I have just one at this stage that incudes the product key, regional settings and create the server name based on the VM name, note you can also break out to the customization wizard to make one time adjustments to the specification you’ve chosen.
You are then shown a summary of the VM you are going to create and given options to power it on once the clone is finished, or edit the virtual hardware (add more CPUs, disks, RAM, etc.) – not sure why edit hardware is (experimental) would think it would just spring up the normal UI for doing this within VC.
You’ll se a job submitted to Virtual Center’s queue
It took 9mins to deploy – and this was on my cheap ESX desktop PC so not the most high-performance disk subsystem – but more than acceptable, whenever I’ve had to do this in the past on a physical PC it usually takes at least this long to find the correct CD 🙂
The VM is now booting and doing it’s sysprep/minisetup wizard without any hands-on required – it’s totally automated via the customization specification/template setup.
OS Starting, installing VM Tools in the background
VM Reboots automatically.. (but I wasn’t quick enough to get a screen cap of that..)
Built & Ready to go! (my customization template makes the administrator account auto logon on 1st boot)
Start to finish, a ready to use OS with all it’s service packs and any software I require in 11mins, and that’s on cheap hardware.. all the timestamp’s are in the screen shots if you need proof 😉