VMware Template Creation and Management?

To begin, I know very little about VMware ESX and next to nothing about Linux.

I just built a new ESX 3.5 server.

I already have one VM running that was migrated over from our VMware Server using the converter tool (very nice).

Now I am building my first 2003 Windows server that I plan to use as a template for future 2003 servers.

Question

How do you create copies of VMs running or resident on the ESX server?  I had planned on creating a base 2003 server install and then copying and renaming the VM for each new 2003 VM server  but I do not see how to do this.

Can this be done using the VMware Infrastructure Client or VMware Web Access without having to go into the console using Linux commands?
fraunkdAsked:
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Paul SolovyovskyConnect With a Mentor Senior IT AdvisorCommented:
If you don't have virtual center you can use the "poor man's" template by using vConverter.  Create a VM that you'll use as your template.  You can then choose the source as the VM and destination as the same datastore with a different VM name.  Once a copy is made you login to the new VM, change name, change ip, and if it was on the domain previously you would run NewSid first to change the SID.  Now you have a new VM.  No bells and whistles but a basic work around should do the trick in most instances.

My $.02
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maredzkiCommented:
farunkd,
I believe you need to have Virtual Center server installed in order to perform this function.

Marek
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gilgetCommented:
hello there

maredzki is right, install virtual center on any windows host you have and connect to your ESX with it.

if you right click the virtual machine, you can use the option "make template from VM", afterwoods you can just rightclick the template and use the option "clone vm from template", the system will then ask you for some basic information like hostname and where to store the VM.
also, if you wish to change your template, like adding or removing anyhting, then you can just rightclick the template and use the option "revert template to VM"

ah yes, virtual center is a download of its own- Its not included on the ESX Server ISO.
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gilgetCommented:
ah yes, dont put a fix ip adress on your template- your gona hate yourself for that afterwoods-
just make a basic installation without a domain join, install your basic software and do configurations, make sure ip settings is on DHCP and then make your template- (oh yes, dont forget to update all microsoft patches before making the template, or your gona hit your head into a wall later on....)
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vmwarun - ArunCommented:
I disagree with gilget's point with respect to Basic Software installation.

My suggestion is to install the OS, upgrade Service Packs and Hotfixes and make a template.

Based on future requirements, install additional software as and when required.
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maredzkiCommented:
Just to build on to what arunraju said, here are your options to building the template:

- Clone to template (will clone your current VM to a template, will result in to VMs, original one and the cloned template)
- Convert to template (will convert your current VM to template but the VM has to be shut down)

Also, you can always convert your template back to a VM, run all the necessary SP/hotfixes on it to make it current and then bring it back to template.

Marek
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fraunkdAuthor Commented:
We do not have the licensing for Virtual Server and will need to go about this in another way.  

It looks like this leaves me with the vConverter option.

If there are other ways to make templates or copies without using Virtual Server, I'd like to see those options as well (with specific steps if possible).
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gilgetCommented:
I guess you could also use the microsoft tool SysPrep to make your image.
afterwoods just copy the files of your virtual machine and restart it.

here is a how to on sysprep:

http://www.windows-noob.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=195
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