Today I deployed my first virtual machine from template using a customization specification. I talked a little bit about them in a previous article.
To start, you need to install Sysprep deep inside VirtualCenter’s CommonAppData folder. I’m not sure why would you would need to download/install ALL of those sysprep version folders. There is one for Sysprep 1.1, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003. I only installed the Windows 2003 SP1 Sysprep tools (there’s a newer one than the CD edition on Microsoft’s website) to the Windows 2003 folder (look at the PDFs linked in the previous article for a specific path).
My template was already syspreped. I created a customization specification. My customization specification was very generic so it will work for almost all of my deployments. I had it ask me at deployment time for static IP, computer name, and such. One bug during the TCP/IP section, it forced me to include a default gateway and an alternate gateway. That seems pretty useless.
I deployed my template, it asked for all the information as I specified. And.. It worked just as I thought it would. It was already booted up by the time I got the console open. I chose not to join the VM to our domain right away in the customization specification, so I logged in and did that manually.
I’m not sure if having my template already syspreped mattered, I haven’t been able to find official instructions on how to make a Windows template and for use with customization specifications. I’ll have to try to deploy a template to a non-syspreped template and see how that works. I may have gotten lucky!