Great vSphere Templates make better Virtual Machines!

Hi everyone,

It was in this I started thinking about templates and how I might help people get the most from them.  I found some useful help on the Internet.

The links below are quite useful but it is important to pick from what they do and only pick what you need.  Don’t blindly follow them.

  • Jeremy Waldrop – How to Build a Win2K8 VMware ESX VM template – here
  • VMPROS – VMware : My favorite Windows 2008R2 template configuration – here
  • Solution Oriented Blog – In-the-lab: Windows Server 2008 R2 Template for VMware – here
  • Jason Samuel – How to build a VMware vSphere VM Template for Windows Server 2008 R2 – here

Again, it is important to note I do not follow all the way through any of these.  But they each have a lot of good ideas.

Here are some miscellaneous tidbits I think is important.

  • I build and test my template on my domain.  This means that the GPO elements help me build my template the way I want it.  But I still remove my template from the domain and restart it, before I turn it into a template.  This used to be required to be able to successfully join the domain during deployment but I am not sure if it is till required.  I still do it regardless.
  • It is important to note that the administrator account, and the join domain account, should have their passwords added in the Customization Specification using the vSphere Client.  If you enter them using the vSphere Web Client they will not be what you think they are!  This was still true in vSphere 5.5 but I have not tested it in 5.5 Update 1 yet.
  • I am trying to use the Run Once commands for more things.  Very powerful.  I saw a customer – I think the last one I saw as a VMware guy, and he had a huge number of commands in his Run Once and it was quite impressive and very useful.
  • I suggest using the Annotations to keep track what the template has or when it has been updated.
  • I suggest a monthly update of your template.  Things like Microsoft patches, Adobe Reader / Flash Updates etc.
  • I suggest using one base template, and than using it for a SQL / Exchange / AppX template.  This will allow you to say to auditors all Windows were built from the same template.
  • You may want to think about starting to use PVSCSI drivrs.

The very next time I create a template, I will be sure to detail exactly what I do here.

I hope that this helps, and as always, questions or comments are very welcome!


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