I know VMware ESX can create and clone templates but can ESXi? I have ESXi running on 2 servers but I can not create or clone VM guests to a template. The options are simply not there. Does ESXi support templates?
It is VirtualCenter that provides the ability to clone, etc from the VI client. This applies to both ESXi and ESX. To clone without VirtualCenter create a new VM that will be your template. To clone it
1) Create a new VM with the VI client - give it a small HD size.
2) Edit the new VM and remove the HD.
3) With the RCLI, use vmkfstools to copy the template VMDK to the new VM's folder.
4) Edit the VM and add a HD - use the option to select an existing VMDK.
5) Start the VM and run sysprep, etc to customize the OS.
it's very very good idea... one of those which i like!
i've tested and works fine.
The procedure is simple and extremely funtional.
Now what could i do is implementing a shell script that execute all steps in a nutshell.
Once completed i publish it.
if you don't want to install the RCLI, you could also use the DataStore Browser and Upload the Template VMDK from Host, connected with the Virtual Infrastructure Client... Is may be faster than making perl working correctly using Vista
Yes, very good idea. you don't have to run sysprep on all your Vms; once you syspreped the VM you are using as template any other VM you use it on should start in Windows Mini setup mode. Remember, all you need from the template VM is just the VMDK file (the Virtaul hard disk). As you rightly said earlier, you can use the Datastore Browser to copy from the template VM to the new VM you want to clone. It's simply like customising a physical computer and running sysprep on it and then transfering its hard drive to another computer of similar hardware configuration (If you are familiar with cloning of physical computer hard drives).
you can also use vConverter and do an appliance file( ova format).
Run sysprep on the VM you want to image, power it down. Run vConverter, select your ESXi server, select the VM. And as a destination select 'Virtual Appliance'.
It is not perfect but it works.