Getting started with Auto Deploy requires that you learn how Auto Deploy works, install the Auto Deploy server, install PowerCLI, write PowerCLI rules that provision hosts, and turn on your hosts to be booted with the image profile you specify. Customizations of the image profile, host profile, and vCenter Server location are supported.

See Auto Deploy Proof of Concept Setup for a step-by-step exercise that helps you set up your first Auto Deploy environment on a Windows 2008 system.

To successfully provision the hosts in your environment with Auto Deploy you can follow a few steps discussed in more detail in this document.


Install the Auto Deploy server.


The Auto Deploy server is included with the vCenter Server installation media. You can install the Auto Deploy server on the same system as vCenter Server or on a different system.

vCenter Server appliance

The vCenter Server appliance includes vCenter Server and the Auto Deploy server. The Auto Deploy server on the vCenter Server appliance is disabled by default.

You can use both servers on the appliance, use a standalone vCenter Server installation with Auto Deploy on the appliance, or use a standalone Auto Deploy installation with the vCenter Server appliance. See Using Auto Deploy with the VMware vCenter Server Appliance for configuration information.


You cannot use more than one Auto Deploy server with one vCenter Server system.

See Prepare Your System and Install the Auto Deploy Server for information on installing the software, setting up the DHCP server, and downloading the TFTP configuration file.


Install PowerCLI, which includes Auto Deploy and Image Builder cmdlets, and set up remote signing.

See Install PowerCLI and Prerequisite Software and Using Auto Deploy Cmdlets.


Find the image profile that includes the VIBs that you want to deploy to your hosts.

In most cases, you add the depots that contain the software that you are interested in to your PowerCLI session, and then select an image profile from one of those depots.

To create a custom image profile, use Image Builder cmdlets to clone an existing image profile and add the custom VIBs to the clone. Add the custom image profile to the PowerCLI session.

Using Image Builder for customization is required only if you have to add or remove VIBs. In most cases, you can add the depot where VMware hosts the image profiles to your PowerCLI session as a URL.


Use the New-DeployRule PowerCLI cmdlet to write a rule that assigns the image profile to one host, to multiple hosts specified by a pattern, or to all hosts.

New-DeployRule -Name "testrule" -Item image-profile -AllHosts

See Assign an Image Profile to Hosts.


Auto Deploy is optimized for provisioning hosts that have a fixed MAC address to IP address mapping in DHCP (sometimes called DHCP reservations). If you want to use static IP addresses, you must set up the host profile to prompt for host customization. See Set Up Host Profiles for Static IP Addresses in the vSphere Client and Set Up Host Profiles for Static IP Addresses in the vSphere Web Client.


Turn on the host to have Auto Deploy provision the host with the specified image profile.


Set up the host you provisioned as a reference host for your host profile.

You can specify the reference host syslog settings, firewall settings, storage, networking, and so on. See Setting Up an Auto Deploy Reference Host.


Create and export a host profile for the reference host.

See the Host Profiles documentation.


To provision multiple hosts, you can use the Copy-DeployRule cmdlet.

You can revise the rule to assign not only an image profile but also a host profile and a cluster location .

Copy-DeployRule -DeployRule "testrule" -ReplaceItem my_host_profile_from_reference_host,my_targetcluster
               -ReplacePattern  "ipv4=192.XXX.1.10-192.XXX.1.20"

my_host_profile_from_reference_host is the name of the reference host profile. my_targetcluster is the name of the target cluster.


Turn on the hosts you want to provision.

If the hosts that are specified by the pattern are not currently managed by a vCenter Server system, Auto Deploy provisions them with the already stored image profile and the specified host profile and adds them to the target cluster.


Check that the hosts you provisioned meet the following requirements.

Each host is connected to the vCenter Server system.

The hosts are not in maintenance mode.

The hosts have no compliance failures.

Each host with a host profile that requires user input has up-to-date host customization information.

Remedy host customization and compliance problems and reboot hosts until all hosts meet the requirements.

Read Understanding vSphere Auto Deploy for an introduction to the boot process, a discussion of differences between first and subsequent boots, and an overview of using host customization.