(I'm very new to VMware, so bare with me )
I'm attempting to set up a Server 2012R2 template and customization on our new ESXi 6 host. This is my first attempt at setting up something like with VMware products (we are migrating from XenServer), and I just can't get this working.
I set up the 2012R2 VM and configured only a few basic things: installed the Tools, set up the VMXNet 3 driver, installed Classic Shell (just for the start menu), and set up NSClient++ for our monitoring.
Based on what I read on the Internet, I then cloned the VM to a template. I also set up Guest OS Customization rules. Because we use a lot of OEM licenses, I did not fill out the license information (if that matters). I also did not select "Use custom SysPrep answer file".
When I deploy a new VM with my 2012R2 template and customization routine, it boots up, and nothing has changed.
When I reboot the system, I get the "VMware Image Customization in progress" display on my screen, but it only stays up for 30ish seconds. Then, it prompts me to change the Administrator password (which I don't think should be happening), and after that, it logs in to the machine. However, the machine still has the template netbios name, has not been joined to the domain, and still has DHCP (the IP did not get set).
I've read in other threads that you need to manually reboot the machine at this point. After rebooting, I again get the "VMware Image Customization in progress" message, and then I get to the Ctrl+Alt+Del screen. After logging in, everything is still the same. I've tried additional reboots, both from within Windows and from the Guest OS menu, and shutdown/startups, and the customizations never take effect. It does show the "VMware Image Customization in progress" after every reboot, but nothing's happening.
I'm not super experienced with Windows server management (I'm the Linux guy in our shop), so any particular logs to look at? I've looked at the Sysprep logs in C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\Pather, and it looks like it's working (but, I'll be honest, I don't really know what I'm looking for).
Is there something I'm doing wrong? This is my first time with VMware (we used to be a XenServer) shop, and one of the selling points was the "super easy" customization for templates. From everything I've read and done, that sure looks to be the case, but it's just not working!