You can customize the first ESXi host that you boot for your environment and create a host profile. You can set up Auto Deploy to provision other target hosts with that host profile. The ESXi host you create the host profile from is considered your reference host or template host.

How you configure the reference host depends on what you want to do.

Shared settings

Specify settings that all hosts share and save a host profile for the host.

Host-specific settings

Customize hosts by setting up the host profile to prompt for user input for a limited number of options such as a static IP address. Host customizations are saved when you save the host profile. See Host Customization in the vSphere Web Client.

Auto Deploy applies all common settings from the host profile to all target hosts. If you set up the host profile to ask for user input, all hosts provisioned with that host profile come up in maintenance mode. You must reapply the host profile or reset host customizations to be prompted for the host-specific information.


Administrators cannot directly access or manipulate host customizations. Use the vSphere Client or the vSphere Web Client Host Profiles UI to work with host customizations.

Make sure your system meets the requirements in the preinstallation checklist. See Proof of Concept Preinstallation Checklist.

Perform all preceding proof of concept setup tasks. See Auto Deploy Proof of Concept Setup for the complete list.


Use the vSphere Client or the vSphere Web Client to connect to the vCenter Server system.

In this proof of concept setup, the vCenter Server system is localhost.


Click Hosts and Clusters and select the host that Auto Deploy added to the first datacenter.


Configure the host.

The rest of the proof of concept setup assumes that you configure at least one setting that is different for different hosts.




Configure the following networking components.

Base virtual switch and management port group for VMkernel.

Storage network port group for VMkernel.

Virtual machine networking port group.

Any additional virtual switches and port groups.

Distributed switches, if necessary (transfer port groups to distributed switches if you use them).


Configure shared storage.

Time settings

Configure your time settings.


Configure the security profile.


Configure authentication.

DNS and routing

If necessary, configure DNS and route settings.


Configure advanced settings or any other settings as required in the target environment.

Create the host profile from the reference host for use with all other target hosts. See the Host Profiles documentation.