With Packer, VM template creation is easy
Posted by Jack P. Yon on 18th August 2020

Templates make the system of deploying VMs in vSphere quicker, simpler and greater green than manually deploying VMs. Packer is a free tool that assists you to automate vSphere template introduction and control, and you can use the sphere-iso plugin to integrate Packer, center, and Windows.

Templates represent a static start line for a VM, and you can configure exclusive settings — including the IP deal with, Active Directory domain and host call — to lead them to particular. You can then installation VMs from templates with command-line equipment, which include PowerCLI.

Historically, you had to manually create VM templates in vSphere. To manually create a template, you need to mount an ISO file on the VM, install Windows and make any modifications to the template thru the GUI. Instead, Packer automates the image constructing system from the OS set up thru saving a VM as a template.
Packer developers

Packer functions more than one developers, however, many such builders are optimized for VMware Fusion, Workstation and Workstation Player. For companies with vSphere surroundings, it might seem silly to apply a laptop to construct a production template.

The VMware-iso builder helps the use of a far off ESXi server for constructing a template. However, this builder communicates without delay with the ESXi host through Secure Shell, this means that you can not honestly use the host with the maximum to be had sources. It additionally approach, in case you retire a number, you must make adjustments to your configuration report to factor to a new host.

You can use a Packer plugin known as sphere-iso with the VMware-iso builder to hook up with a vCenter surroundings and build on any host in a cluster.
Packer JSON

When you operate Packer to make a VM template with Windows and vSphere, you figure with main record types: the JSON record — which makes up the template — and the autounattend file that automates the Windows set up on a VM. When Packer mounts the scripts specified in your floppy files, you need to locate the autounattend.Xml file among them.

“kind”: “sphere-iso” represents the Packer builder type furnished by way of the JetBrains plugin. Certain settings — along with “vcenter_server” — are only available with that plugin.

The “convert_to_template”: “real” placing robotically converts a VM to a template on the end of a construct without a publish processor.

“network”: “VM Network” defines the community that you build your VM on. You might not require community connectivity in the course of the build technique, however in case you intend to download and deploy software program remotely, you may require a community later.

Originally posted 2019-08-25 11:33:28.