Template VM’s are specialized VM’s. They’re designed to allow you to rapidly re-deploy preconfigured virtual machines, with little to no fuss. Often, however, that is not the case. I mean, who doesn’t just right click and “Convert to Template…”
What that action does, is simply mark a file letting vCenter and ESX both know it’s now a template. Clever? Sure. Useful? Almost. When you do this you better make sure your template is ready to be deployed from. Here is a quick checklist to run down for Windows VM’s (is there another kind?) that you can use:
- Set a strong admin password & document it. The resulting VM’s will be no good if you can’t log back in.
- Make sure your configured apps are not bound to the VM’s IP address. When deploying the next hundred, this will be a pain to fix.
- Defrag, for good measure. This one is debatable in VM’s, but is a good practice, and will help keep the template image file smaller.
- Zero out – From Mr. Epping @ Yellow-Bricks, this will save you “a lot” of space as well.
- Run sysprep. – This strips out the identity of the virtual machine, it’s SID’s and it’s computer name. This also allows you the opportunity to create an answer file to be used when redeploying the VM to make on lining it that much faster.
Have any extra steps? Have a procedure you use? Have a process for Linux VM’s, Solaris? I’d love to hear about it. Post in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @cody_bunch