Provision vSphere Hosts Rapidly

VMware vSphere® Auto Deploy™ facilitates rapid server deployment and provisioning of vSphere hosts by leveraging the network boot capabilities of x86 servers together with the small footprint of the VMware® ESXi™ hypervisor. With Auto Deploy, vSphere hosts are network-booted from a central Auto Deploy server where the ESXi software is installed directly into the server’s memory. Once installed, a VMware® vCenter™ host profile is used to configure the host. After configuration, the host is connected to vCenter where it is available to host virtual machines. The entire process is fully automated, allowing new hosts to be provisioned with no manual intervention.

Centralize ESXi Image Management

With Auto Deploy, share ESXi software images with all hosts running on matching hardware. Centralized image management eliminates the need to patch and update individual ESXi hosts. Instead, simply perform a single update to the shared image profile then reboot the VMware vSphere® hosts.

Eliminate Configuration Drift

Each time a vSphere host reboots, it is reinstalled and reconfigured, ensuring a consistent image and configuration. Auto Deploy prevents configuration drift and eliminates the need to use precious resources managing the drift of manual configuration and patch processes.

Run from Memory with Diskless vSphere Hosts

Hosts provisioned with Auto Deploy can be configured to run completely from memory, eliminating the need to purchase or allocate local storage to each vSphere host. Eliminating the need for a dedicated boot device simplifies SAN configurations with easier LUN zoning and masking.

Stateful Deployments of Hosts

With stateless caching or stateful deployments—even in the event the Auto Deploy server potentially fails—the host can still be booted from the local disk.

Technical Details

Preboot eXecution Environment (PXE)

Auto Deploy is based on the Preboot eXecution Environment (PXE). When a vSphere hosts is powered on, it initiates a PXE-based network boot. PXE boots require a DHCP and TFTP server, which must be set up outside of Auto Deploy.

Image Builder CLI

Auto Deploy uses the vSphere Image Builder CLI to create and maintain custom ESXi image profiles to install ESXi hosts.

Auto Deploy Rules Engine

A rules engine on the Auto Deploy VMware® vCenter Server™ uses information provided by the host during PXE boot to determine the proper image and host profiles needed to configure the host, as well as where within vCenter to place the host.

Auto Deploy Web Server

A web server running on the Auto Deploy server is used to deploy the ESXi image along with the host profile.

PowerCLI

Both the Image Builder CLI and Auto Deploy server are based on VMware vSphere® PowerCLI™.