1. How to Register and Un-Register a VM in vSphere 7
So here I am at the home screen of the VSphere client in VSphere 7. And I’m going to browse hosts and clusters. And you can see here that I’ve got some virtual machines that are already created. These virtual machines are also assigned to this Six host. So I’ve got a demo VM, which you can see is currently powered off. And I’ve got a couple of other virtual machines, including my VCenter server appliance. Now let’s focus on the demo VM here. I can right-click this virtual machine, and I can delete it from disk. Demo VM now has files saved to disk. And if I take a look at this virtual machine here, you can see the hard disc is stored on this large shared data store.
So let’s go to that data store for a moment and take a look. And this virtual machine, Demo VM, has a set of files that are stored on my data store. So if I delete a virtual machine from disc, I am destroying all of that. I’m deleting all of those files that are on that data store. and I don’t want to do that here. But what I do want to do is remove this virtual machine from inventory. So I’m going to click on that option, and what that basically is going to now do is, when I click yes here, it’s going to disassociate that virtual machine from this ESXi host. So now the VM is gone. I can’t see it in my VSphere client. It’s not present anymore. But if I go to storage and I go to that large shared data store and I look at the files, all of the files for this virtual machine still exist. So all I did was unregister the virtual machine from the host, and at any point I can come in here to this data store and locate the VMX file for that virtual machine. And here it is: the VMX demo. And on that VMX file, I can select that file, and I can go to register a virtual machine.
So this is already an existing VM. The VM is 100% created and ready to go. It’s just not booted up, and it’s not registered to any particular host. So I can go ahead and register this virtual machine. I’m going to pick a different ESXi host this time. Host 15. I’ll click “next year” and go ahead and click “finish,” and we should see it appear here. There it is. It’s back as if it were never deleted. And so now I can just go ahead and power that virtual machine on this host. So that’s what we’re doing when we remove a VM from inventory: we’re basically just unregistering the VM from that particular ESXi host, and we can always go back to the underlying data store and register that VM to some other host or even register it back to the same host that it was previously registered to.
2. Working with VMX Files in vSphere 7
As you can see, I’m at the VSphere client’s home screen and Vsphere Seven. And I’m going to click on hosts and clusters here. And you can see that I’ve already set up and running some virtual machines. Now, before I can modify the VMX file, I need to shut down one of these virtual machines. So I’m going to shut down my VM called Demo VM. And once the virtual machine is successfully shut down, what I’m going to do is actually remove the virtual machine from inventory so that it’s not registered to any of my ESXi hosts. So I’m going to right-click the VM and remove it from inventory. And actually, before I do that, I’m just going to make a quick note that this VM is stored in my large shared data store. Okay? So I’m going to right-click the VM, and I’m going to remove it from inventory. And I’m not actually deleting the virtual machine. I’m just unregistering it from my host, and then I’m going to go to my data store. Here’s my large shared data store. And here are all of the files for this demo VM virtual machine.
So what I’m going to do now is find the VMX file for Demo VM and download this VMX file to my computer from the data store. And here you can see the file that was downloaded, “demo VM VMX.” So I’m just going to go ahead and show the folder where that file is. And there it is. VM VMX Demo So, first and foremost, if I’m going to be working with and modifying this VMX file, I’m going to grab it and move it to a different folder. So I’m going to create a new folder called “VMX.” And I just want to avoid any confusion here. So here’s my demo VMX file. I’ll also copy this and make a copy of that VMX file. And I’m just going to call the old VMX the copy demo VM. And what I’m essentially doing is making a backup of the original VMX file so that when I start altering the VMX file, I can always go back to the way things were. I always have that restore point. And then I’m just going to right-click my demo VMX file and open it in Notepad. There are other programmes that we could use to open this. Maybe Adam would be a nice little editor because, as you can see here, this is a little confusing to look at. Let’s try opening it instead with WordPad, and maybe that will look a little bit better. There we go.
So that looks better. But I would recommend, if you’re going to be working with these, a text editor like Adam would be a great option to use because it makes it much easier to interpret what you’re seeing here. So what I’m going to do here is make some modifications to this VMX file. I’m going to search for SCSI, and I’m going to find my virtual disk. Here it is: my demo VM, one VMDK. That’s my virtual disk. And let’s assume that that virtual disc has become corrupted. So what I want to do is replace it with a different virtual disk. So I’m going to put in a new filename for the VMDK for this virtual machine here. So now I’m done with my changes. I’m just going to go ahead and click on the save button. And what you want to make sure of here is that we’re not changing the type of file. We’re not going to change it to a text file or anything like that. It still needs to be called the VMX file. That still needs to be the file type. So, yeah, now I’ve made these modifications to this file. The VMX file now has a new virtual disc name inside of it. So here I am back at my data store. In this demo VM folder, I’m going to upload a file, and I’m going to upload my new modified VMX file. It should give me a little warning that I’m about to overwrite the existing file. That’s fine. I’ll just go ahead and press the yes button. And there we go. Now we’ve got our new demo VMX file here.
So now that I’ve got my VMX file here, I’m going to register this VM to one of my hosts because, remember, we removed it from inventory earlier. So I’m going to pick an ESXi host. I’m going to pick the second host here, and I’m going to go ahead and register this VM on that host. And now I should see my demo VM virtual machine. And it looks like I’ve created some problems for myself here because it’s telling me consolidation status is needed. There are problems with my virtual disks, and a consolidation is required. This is why we make that backup copy of the VMX file. So usually, when you’re dealing with manually modifying the VMX file, you’re trying to fix some weird issue, like a disc corruption or something along those lines. You don’t want to modify the VMX file and then be unable to get it back to the way that it was.
So obviously, whatever I’m trying to do here has gone horribly wrong, as I expected it would. And so we’re going to remove this VM from inventory one more time. We’re going to go back to this datastore and go back to the demo VM folder. And what I now want to do is grab this demo VM file that I modified. I’m just going to get rid of that and grab my other demo VM file that I named Old, and I’m going to go ahead and rename it back to its original name, and I’m going to upload that file into my data store. And again, it’s going to warn me that I’m overwriting an existing file. That’s fine. I’m just getting things back to the way that they were. So here’s my demo VMX file. Once again, I’m going to register this virtual machine on an ESXi host, add it back to my inventory here, and then I can go back to hosts and clusters. There’s my VM. Notice that it doesn’t have any of those pesky warning messages that it had before. And if I try to boot this virtual machine up, it should boot up, no problem. So that’s why you always keep a backup of the VMX file.
And there we go. Now the VM is back up. So I showed you what can go wrong here. What are some of the reasons why you may want to modify a VMX file? Well, let’s say, for example, that Vcenter is down, and for some reason, we need to modify this virtual machine. So maybe I need to change the port group of this virtual machine and move it to another network. Maybe that’s one of the things I have to do to get whatever problem I’m having resolved. I can come into the VMX file and modify the port group. Another use case for this could be creating snapshots in a different location than the default virtual machine directory. So, anyway, there are certain use cases where modifying these VMX files makes sense, but you’re probably not going to do it on a regular basis. But if you do perform this task, you can follow the methodology shown here and always make sure that you’re backing up the original VMX file.
3. Demo – VM Advanced Settings in vSphere 7
And so here I am at the Vsphere client under Host and Clusters. I’m going to mess around with my demo VM again, but before I start working on it, I’m just going to go ahead and shut the virtual machine down. And now that the VM is finished shutting down, I’m going to right-click it and go to the Edit settings screen. And under Edit settings, I’m going to click on VM options. We also have an Advanced section under VM Options. If we scroll down a little bit, we’ll see a link called EditConfiguration next to Configuration parameters. So I’m going to click on that, and here are all of these configuration parameters that I could potentially modify. So there are a lot of advanced configuration parameters here, and if I know exactly what I’m looking for, I can filter based on name here.
So I’m going to click on the little filter icon. I’m just going to type in NVRAM, and there’s an NVRAM setting that I could potentially modify. So that’s how you can narrow down and find a specific advanced setting that you might want to change. I’m going to cancel that and return to the Edit configuration screen. I can also add new rows to the advanced configuration, so I could click on “add configuration parameters” to add configuration parameters and add additional lines to the advanced configuration of this virtual machine. So, for example, maybe I want to configure the maximum amount of memory that can be reclaimed from this virtual machine by ballooning.
So the setting is called sked mem max mem CTO. And now I can go ahead and input a value for that advanced configuration parameter and just set the maximum amount of memory that can be reclaimed from this VM by the ballooning process of my ESXi host. So by default, this is unlimited. But I can set a value in megabytes here. So maybe I’ll set it to 100 megabytes, which is the maximum for this configuration parameter, and then I can just hit OK. And let’s just validate that. That new parameter I just configured is actually there. If I go to the bottom of my list of configuration parameters, there it is. So that’s how we can modify the advanced settings and configuration parameters of a virtual machine. So here I am at docs.vmware.com one more time, and I’m looking at a page called Advanced Virtual Machine Attributes, and look which one is at the top of the list. Here is the one that I just modified. So this lists some of the advanced virtual machine attribute settings that you may potentially want to configure here. Now, this isn’t something you want to just casually do. When you’re modifying these settings, you’ve probably found some sort of knowledge base article or been directed to do so by VMware Support.
4. Demo – Deploying VMs using vCenter Converter
You can find the V Center Converter at the link shown on your screen. So that’s where I am, and I’m just going to click on “Download Now” and I’m going to download a copy of the Center Converter. And in order to do so, I need to have access to a My VMware account. So, if you don’t already have a My VMaccount, now is a good time to set one up. So I logged into my VMware account, and here it is. V Sender Converter standalone version 6.2 I’m going to go to Downloads here, and I’m going to download VCenter Converter. And so I’ll just click on the “Download Now” button, accept the licencing agreement, and download VCenter Converter. Okay, so my download of VMware Converter is complete. I’ll just double-click this and go ahead and install VCenter Converter Standalone. Now the primary purpose of Vcenter Converter is to take some physical servers and create a virtual machine based on those physical servers. That is the primary application for VCenter Converter. So that’s potentially what most people will be using this for. But there are other use cases as well. For example, if I want to convert a hyper-virtual machine or a virtual machine created with VMware Workstation to a traditional VSphere-based virtual machine, I can do so.
So those are some of the options that we can potentially leverage the Center Converter for. OK, so my installation is complete; I’ll just click Finish and allow it to run the Center Converter stand-alone client now. Alright, so now that we’ve got the CenterConverter stand-alone running, we’re ready to actually go ahead and convert a machine. So I’m just going to click on “Convert machine” here and let’s start with the source system. So what is the source? And so I could potentially install VMware Vcenter Converter on a physical computer that is currently powered on, and then I could convert that local machine to a virtual machine running on an ESXi host or convert it to a virtual machine that can run in VMware Workstation. So that’s what I could potentially do here: install VMware Converter right on the source machine that I want to convert and run it on that local machine. Or I could specify a remote Windows machine, so I could put in the IP address and credentials for some other Windows server but actually run Vcenter Converter on this machine.
And then finally, I could also point to a remote Linux machine as well. So these are three different types of powered-on machines that I can use Vcenter Converter to convert to virtual machines. Now, what I will say is that if you want this to work as fast as it possibly can, this local machine is a great way to do this because if you’re pointing it at a remote Windows machine, everything has to go over the network, right? To complete the task, the Center Converters running on another machine must communicate with the machine over the network. Whereas if you’re running it on this local machine, that’s really the fastest possible way to convert a machine to a virtual machine with VCenter Converter. That’s not what we’re going to do here in our demo, though. So in our demo, I’m going to actually focus on a virtual machine that is currently powered off. So as far as the powered-off options go, first off, we’ve got a VMware infrastructure virtual machine, and that’s just a virtual machine running on an ESXi host that is managed by V Center.
That’s what we’re thinking about with a VMware infrastructure virtual machine. So if I’ve got a powered-off VM that’s managed by Vcenter that I want to convert, I can choose that, and I could potentially convert it to something like a virtual machine that would run on VMware Workstation. For example, my source can also be a virtual machine that I’ve created with VMware Workstation. And if you have watched my home lab course for VMware Workstation 7, that’s what my lab environment here is built on VMware Workstation.So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to grab a VMware Workstation virtual machine and convert it to a VMware infrastructure virtual machine that can be managed by Vcenter. And the third and final option is that if I have virtual machines that have been virtualized with HyperV, I can utilise that to convert them to VCenter-manageable virtual machines. So I’m going to choose a virtual machine that I created with VMware Workstation and now want to run it on an ESXi host.
So I’ll go ahead and click Browse here, and I’ll find this powered-off VM that I want to convert. And here’s the virtual machine that I want to convert. This is actually a virtualized ESXi host. Now I could pick a VMware Workstation machine that has Windows or Linux, or I could choose this virtual machine that I was actually running ESXi on. So I’m going to go ahead and select that hitopen here, and so that’s my source, and I can view my source details here to get some of the information about the discs that exist on my host, how large they are, and how much space they’re actually consuming. And I’ll go ahead and hit “close” here and then hit “next.” OK, so now I have to choose my destination system. So this is going to be my V Center server. I am converting this virtual machine to a virtual machine that can run and be managed by VCenter. So here’s the IP address of my VCenter server, and I’ll go ahead and put in my VCenter credentials here. So I’ve entered the correct VCenter credentials here. I’ll go ahead and click Next, and I’m just going to go ahead and ignore this certificate warning because I’m using a self-signed certificate on my VCenter server. And now, what’s the name of the virtual machine going to be?
So I am converting an existing workstation VM to a Vcenter virtual machine on Vcenter, on the VCR inventory. I’m going to call this VM host “Converter.” That way, it’ll just be very easy for me to identify, and I’m going to drop it into my training virtual datacenter, and I’ll go ahead and hit next year. And now it’s asking me which ESXi host I want to run this new virtual machine on. So I’m going to choose this ESXi host. Here’s my total source disc size. I’m going to choose which data store I actually want to place all of these files on. And you’ll notice the capacity of the data store is actually a little bit less than the total source disc size. But I’ll go ahead and hit next here anyway. And so now you can see that it’s giving me some alerts here, some data to copy. Let’s go ahead and take a look at that. Notice that my source virtual discs are all thickly provisioned, right? So if I want to, there are a few things I can do here. I can modify the provisioning for those virtual discs and change them to thinly provisioned virtual disks. And what that’s going to do for me is reduce the amount of actual space consumed by each of these virtual disks. And I know that they’re actually going to fit just fine in that data store that I’ve specified once they’re thinly provisioned.
So this little error right here, I’m going to go ahead and x that out and proceed with the conversion. Under devices, I can see the amount of memory that was allocated to the source machine and choose if I want to modify that. When I convert it to a V Center virtual machine, I can see the number of CPUs, and I might want to modify this to say, “Hey, I’m going to give it two CPUs.” I don’t necessarily need to specify the number of cores per socket. I can also potentially change the disc controller here. So basically, what you’re modifying when you modify the disc controller is the virtual scuzzy controller. And this is something that’s specific to your operating system. So I generally just go with whatever the V-centre converter recommends here. And in this case, it is advised to keep the source. So I’m just going to stick with that.
You can see that my source virtual machine has four network interfaces. So I can pick and choose which port groups I want to connect those virtual network interfaces to once this is converted to a virtual machine. So I just want to sort of think here on the source machine: which VLAN is each of these network adapters connected to, and connect them to a port group that corresponds to and has the same VLANs available? And maybe in this case, there are certain adapters that I’m actually not using. I don’t necessarily have to connect all of those adapters, but I’ll just pick the appropriate port group here. I can also change my network controller type. Now, again, you can just stick with the autohere, but what I’ll typically do is go with VMX Net Three and validate that that works. Again, this is a different device that’s going to be viewed by the operating system. Once you change this to a virtual machine, this is like changing the network interface card on a physical server; there’s a different driver. So I like to get all of my virtual machines on the VMX Net Three because it’s the most efficient virtual network available.
However, this may necessitate some testing to ensure that it works properly when you’re finished. And the other thing that I’ll throw out there is VMXnet 3. It requires VMware tools in order to function properly. So for this little experiment, I’m going to change these back to auto. And then, once the virtual machine is done being created, do I want it to automatically power on? Do I want to install VMware tools on it? Absolutely. I believe you would want to do that in the majority of cases. Generally, the rule of thumb is that if my virtual machine can support VMware tools, I want to run VMware tools on it just about every time. And so I can also do something like customization here to modify some of the operating system settings. So as far as customised guest preferences go, there’s not a lot shown here. And the reason that there’s not a lot shown here is that my source virtual machine is actually an ESXi host. It’s actually running ESXi. It’s like running Windows, for example. However, if I wanted to change some Windows options that were similar to a customization specification with a template, I could do so here.
And then finally, I’ll click on throttle. Do I want to hold back resources? Do I want to ensure that this conversion task doesn’t completely overwhelm the CPU or the network? I’m not going to implement any of those restrictions here. I’m just going to let it fly. So I’ll hit Next, and this will give me a nice little summary of what I’m planning on doing here. And then I’ll hit finish, and we’re done. My conversion task is underway. It looks like it’s going to take about 1 minute, so it’s operating pretty quickly here. You can see all of the conversion status information here, and all the tasks that are being carried out are shown here in the log highlights. There’s not a lot of data on my virtual discs, so this is going to happen relatively quickly. And as you can see, it’s already done. So let’s go to my VSA client and see if this virtual machine has now shown up in my VCenter inventory. By the way, I had this completed task hidden here in the VCenter converter because I had been experimenting with it previously, but you can see it here.
You can see all of the logs here and the summary as well. So let’s go into the Vsphere client under that Vcenterinventory that I was targeting, and let’s make sure that this virtual machine is actually there and running. Okay, so here I am in my VS for a client. I’m going to go to hosts and clusters. And there we go, hosts from Converter. So there is my virtual machine that I created, and it’s here. It’s ready to go. So I’m going to just power it on. And as it’s powering on, I’m going to launch my web console and make sure that it’s actually booting up and that it worked properly. And look at that; it’s launching into the ESXi hypervisor. So, like I said, in this case, the virtual machine that I converted was actually a virtual machine that I installed, Esxion. But in most cases, this would probably be a Linux or Windows machine booting up. Now, so that’s a demonstration of how we can use the V Center Converter standalone software to take an existing physical or virtual machine and convert it to a virtual machine and bring it into my V Center inventory.
5. Assignable Hardware in vSphere 7
about the limitations that existed prior to Version 7, so that we can understand the problem that assignable hardware solves. So here you can see a virtual machine running on an Es Xi host, and this virtual machine has access to some physical pieces of hardware, maybe a GPU card or a physical network adapter. In either case, this virtual machine is getting the benefit of bare metal performance. We’ve got hardware that’s dedicated to this virtual machine that I can use at extremely low latency and bare metal performance. But here you can see we’ve got a second ESXi host with an identical physical device installed. So let’s assume that it’s a GPU.
This second host has the exact same GPU—the exact same model from the exact same manufacturer. But we still don’t support things like V-motion, high availability, or DRS. Essentially, the virtual machine on ESXi One is bound to that physical GPU on ESXi One. And so we’re trading this kind of bare-metal level of performance for portability. We can’t move this virtual machine around as easily, and High Availability and DRS don’t work with it. So to a certain extent, that problem is solved by dynamic direct path IO. So here we have our virtual machine running on ESXi One once more. And let’s assume that ESXi One and ESXi Two are part of a cluster. So these hosts have been clustered. There are probably other hosts in the cluster as well. PCI devices can be identified by their vendor names and model numbers, and there’s this dynamic direct path mapping to a PCI device. And I’ll show you the documentation so you can set these up on your own.
But essentially, now there’s a layer of virtualization between the virtual machine and this PCI device. The VM is no longer aware of the actual hardware address of that PCI device. But the mapping, this dynamic direct path mapping, is to a specific, exact type of hardware, a certain model from a certain vendor. So we call this dynamic direct path IO, and so this VM has a mapping to a specific type of hardware device, and that same device is present on another physical ESXi host in the cluster. And DRS will understand this, so it can do the initial placement. DRS knows which hosts in the cluster have this matching hardware, allowing it to perform initial placement. Meaning, hey, if I power on a VM, DRS can pick the ideal host for me. Vmotion is not available. My guess is it will come sometime in the future, but right now voting isn’t supported. So DRS can do initial placement, but it won’t do any of the motion operations on this virtual machine. So we get some level of portability by using dynamic direct path IO. How about high availability? What if ESXi one fails? Well, before Vs. versus. 7, our only option was just regular old direct path IO. And if a VM was running on a host and that host failed and the VM had Direct Path IO enabled, The VM was stuck on that host. It couldn’t be restarted on a different host. But now High Availability can reboot this virtual machine. So he has an understanding of which hosts in the cluster have this matching model of PCI device. And Ha can restart the virtual machine on a compatible host. So that’s a big enhancement here.
Now, one final little note I want to make on this slide before I move on. You have to have a full-memory reservation on this virtual machine. So this virtual machine is going to consume 100% of the memory it’s configured for any time it’s powered on. Also supported is the Nvidia Grid GPU. So here, instead of using Dynamic DirectPath, we have the Nvidia grid profile. And again, DRS and Ha understand which ESXi hosts in the cluster can meet this Nvidia grid profile. And so, therefore, DRS initial placement and high availability are supported. So let’s take a quick look at the documentation here. So this is the VMware Seven documentation, and it’s showing you how to add a PCI device to a virtual machine. And if we scroll down here, you’ll see that when you’re adding a new PCI device, you have the option that’s been there for a long time: direct path IO. If you’re just connecting it directly to a PCI device, you can use Direct Path IO, but that comes with all of those mobility limitations. You can also use dynamic direct path IO. Or you can choose the Nvidia Grid GPU. And with either of those options, we have the ability to leverage Ha and DRS’ initial placement.
6. Using Auto Deploy to Image ESXi 7 Hosts
Auto-deploy is to allow you to plug in a bare metal ESXi host and have an ESXi image and configuration automatically installed on that ESXi host. So let’s take a look at how it works. The first component that you need to set up if you’re going to be configuring auto-deploy is a DHCP server. And so as the bare metal ESXi host boots up, it will send out a DHCP request, and it will get an IP address and the address of a TFTP server from the DHCP server. So really, the only configuration that we need with this bare metal host is to configure it to do a DHCP request upon boot. And now it gets an address and the address of a TFTP server from the DHCP server. And so now the ESXi host will reach out to the TFTP server, and it’ll get a Pixie boot file. And the Pixie boot file is basically just enough information for this ESXi host to boot up and to issue an HTTP request to the auto-deploy server.
And so now the ESXi host will issue that HTTP request to the auto-deploy server, which is actually just a Vcenter server, and it will request an image. And depending on the rules engine of autodeploy, a certain image will be deployed to this ESXi host. So rules can be assigned to send different images to different hosts based on their Mac address, the vendor of the host, or a fixed DHCP IP address. So we can set up rules to send certain images to certain hosts. And the rules engine is the part of the auto-deploy server that makes those decisions. So when this image request hits the auto-deploy server, it’ll analyse its rules engine to figure out which image profile it should give to this bare metal ESXi host. And then it will go ahead and deploy the image to the host. And now the image can successfully boot up as an ESXi host. So now we’ve taken a bare metal host, it booted up, it did a DHCP request, it got the address of the TFTP server as part of that DHCP string, it got a Pixie boot image from TFTP, it reached out to Auto Deploy, and it got a full ESXi image. And now we’ve completely imaged this ESXi host. And so the next step in this process is going to be to actually apply a configuration to the ESXi host. So as part of auto-deploy, this ESXi host is getting added to a VCR inventory.
So when the autodeploy process finishes, this host is already going to be manageable by our VCR server. And so now a host profile can be used to apply a standardised configuration to this ESXi host. And so now the host profile is used to apply that configuration and get that ESXi host all ready to go. And now, not only have we imagined it, but we’ve given a complete configuration according to our standard configuration with host profiles. So what is this image made up of? Auto Deploy is going to install images on these ESXi hosts as they boot. What is the image made up of? It consists of a collection of Vibes or VMware infrastructure bundles, and each image profile includes a base Vibe that is ESXi itself. So we always have that base vibe, but then we can have other vibes added, like partner solutions and drivers, on top of that base vibe. So you can actually create your own image profiles if you’d like to use Image Builder. But many vendors provide their own prepackaged images with all the correct drivers and add-on software that you may need for a particular model of ESXi host. So most of the time, you can utilise a prepackaged image from your vendor without having to actually build an image yourself. But if you do choose to build your own image, there’s a tool built into AutoDeploy for that called Image Builder.
Now in prior versions of Vsphere, AutoDeploy was something that had to beconfigured and enabled from the command line. But here we are in the VSFare client in VSphereSeven, and notice what we have right here: Auto Deploy.So I’m going to go ahead and click on this AutoDeploy link, and I just want to say before I get started here that the level of knowledge that you need for Auto Deploy for the VCP exam is very minimal. I just want to show you the absolute basics here. So we have auto-deploy and image builder. I can also enable auto-deployment and image builder. Or I can simply enable image builder; I’ll enable both auto-deploy and image builder. So again, I can use Image Builder to create my own custom images to run on the ESXi host that will boot and automatically install these images. And Auto Deploy is going to control how that stuff happens. So with Auto Deploy, I’m going to have a software depot, and the software depot is essentially where all of my images are located, so I could do some online software depoting or I could create my own custom depot here. I’m just going to create a custom depot and click Add, and then I can start loading up images into my custom depot. So if I’m creating my own images from my own software packages here, I can add them to this software depot, then I can set up some deployment rules, and these rules are going to determine which hosts are going to get which software.
So I’m just going to call this new Deployment Rule Rick, and I’m going to include things like an image profile, which image should be installed on the ESXi host, and which host profile should be applied to automatically configure the ESXi host. And so those are the Deploy rules that basically govern which software and which configurations are going to be performed on these ESXi hosts as they are automatically deployed. And so we’re not going to take our discussion of auto-deploy much further here today, but if you’re interested in learning more, if you go to the VMware documentation, there’s a document called VMware and ESXi Installation and Setup.
And within that document, there’s a complete breakdown of how to utilise Auto Deploy to automatically image your ESXi hosts. And this is really valuable if you are going to be dealing with a massive number of ESXi hosts—hundreds or thousands of ESXi hosts that need consistent images and that you want to automatically deploy. It’s also useful in scenarios where we’re going to have ESXi hosts that don’t have any local physical storage. We just want to run ESXi in memory. So again, I would expect relatively minimal coverage of this on the VCP exam, but you want to have a basic idea of the use case and some of the basic components of how it works.