In this scenario you are going to set up and configure a working vSphere Auto Deploy environment that includes four hosts. You will create rules and provision two of the hosts with an image profile and the other two with the same image profile and a host profile that is set up to prompt for user input.

This scenario can provide you with the basis for a production environment. The task descriptions assume that you are using a flat network with no VLAN tagging between the physical hosts and the rest of your environment.

To perform the tasks in this scenario, you should have the following background knowledge and privileges.

Experience with vSphere (vCenter Server and ESXi).

Basic knowledge of Microsoft PowerShell and PowerCLI.

Administrator rights to the target Windows and vCenter Server systems.

Follow the tasks in the order presented in this scenario. Some steps can be performed in a different order, but the order used here limits repeated manipulation of some components.

vSphere Auto Deploy Setup and Hosts Provisioning Workflow

vSphere Auto Deploy takes advantage of the iPXE infrastructure and PXE booting with legacy BIOS firmware is possible only over IPv4. If the hosts that you want to provision with vSphere Auto Deploy are with legacy BIOS, the vSphere Auto Deploy server must have an IPv4 address. PXE booting with UEFI firmware is possible with either IPv4 or IPv6.


Before you can start the tasks in this vSphere Auto Deploy scenario, make sure that your environment meets the hardware and software requirements, and that you have the necessary permissions for the components included in the setup.


To set up a vSphere Auto Deploy infrastructure, you must install a TFTP server in your environment. . vSphere Auto Deploy relies on a TFTP server for sending the boot image to the hosts that it provisions.


Before you can manage vSphere Auto Deploy with rules that you create with PowerCLI cmdlets, you must install PowerCLI.


You must configure the BIOS settings of the four hosts and reconfirm the MAC address of the primary network device to prepare the target hosts for provisioning with vSphere Auto Deploy.


When you prepare the vSphere Auto Deploy target hosts, you must set up the DHCP server in this scenario to serve each target host with an iPXE binary.


After you prepare the DHCP server, you must start the vSphere Auto Deploy vCenter Server service and configure the TFTP server. You must download a TFTP Boot ZIP file from your vSphere Auto Deploy server. The customized FTP server serves the boot images that vSphere Auto Deploy provides.


After you configure the vSphere Auto Deploy infrastructure, you must add an ESXi software depot, specify an image profile, write a rule, and add it to the active rule set.


After creating a rule and adding it to the active rule set, you can provision the first host and check its vCenter Server location to complete verification of the image provisioning of your setup.


After provisioning the first host, you can extract and configure a host profile that can be used to apply the same configuration to other target hosts. Configuration that differs for different hosts, such as a static IP address, can be managed through the host customization mechanism.


After creating a host profile from a reference host, you can create a rule that applies the previously verified image profile and the host profile that you extracted to target hosts from a specific IP range.


With the rule in place that provisions hosts using an image profile and a host profile, you can provision specific target hosts. If any host profile items are set to prompt the user for input, the host comes up in maintenance mode. You apply the host profile or check host compliance to be prompted for the information. The system associates the host customization with the host.