Cloning and deploying ESXi

I’ve got a pile of MicroSD cards, a few racks worth of blades in different locations, and a hankering to deploy VMware in a stateful manner by simply plugging these SD cards in and booting up the blades or deploy blades with SD cards and perform remote installs with as little effort as possible.

 

First challenge is to reduce the amount of effort in prepping or installing the base hypervisor on the SD cards.

I can clone them quickly using an SD card reader from a base image – however ESXi has to be prepared for cloning (Windows engineers will recognize this as a Sysprep).

  1. Install ESXi on a blade as you normally would.
  2. Boot ESXi and make sure it boots up without issues. You could join it to vCenter and push any applicable patches or VIBs your blade will need (Nexus 1k VEM, EMC PowerPath, etc).
  3. Log into the console and select the last option “Reset System Configuration” , press F-11 to confirm, press Enter to restart the host.
  4. Once ESXi reboots, shutdown the blade and grab the SD Card, that’ll be your master image.
  5. You can now clone this SD card or better yet, create a master template image file so you can push it multiple times. Each copy will generate its own UUID and Service Console MAC address so there will be no conflicts.

One thing to note – your password is now BLANK, so when you deploy – make sure you get a strong password on it. I’ll be using host profiles so that’ll be taken care of during the prep for production.

 

My second option is to create a custom install ISO. I’m looking to have this ISO boot to a menu or prompt that will allow the installing engineer enter in the host name, IP address, and whatnot – then install and customize the ESXi install automatically and reboot.

Still investigating that.

You might be interested in …

vSphere 6.7 Pardoned Until Oct 2022

Technology, VMware

VMware has decided not to stop providing general support in November of 2021 – extending it until October 2022. We’ll get another eleven months to plan and migrate off vSphere 6.7. For most small and mid size businesses, this won’t be much of a challenge. The upgrade path to 7.x is very well established. Most […]

Read More

Viral Marketing… we all get sick.

Uncategorized

In this world of viral marketing, you’re going to see a lot of stuff get blown way out of proportion in the blogosphere. You see we’ve become accustomed to gathering the daily events and news footage for our ADHD lives from sources written by blokes like me and the next website you’ll be visiting shortly […]

Read More

Crouching Vista, Hidden Telnet

Uncategorized

I use the command line a fair amount of time because its a quick and easy way to perform small tasks with different input. Like DNS lookups using dig, or FTP just to grab a quick file without having to configure yet another FTP profile in my FTP client. Telnet is one that I truly […]

Read More
%d bloggers like this: