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Fastest way to deploy 100 or more Windows XP Virtual Machines?

Hello,

I am about to deploy a test virtual network with VMware ESXi server.

What are best practices for building and deploying a 100 virtual XP workstations as quickly as possible?

My conventional method of creating a new copy of a VM is by:
- Preparing the VM workstation with latest updates and SPs
- Turn off all updating
- Sysprep
- Snapshot it
- Clone the snapshot
- copy the heck out of that clone
- Power each of them up
  (but b/c it's sysprep'd, there is still a bit of a manual process to get each of them
   up and running).

Is there a better way?

What about the Ultimate Deployment Appliance (http://www.ultimatedeployment.org/inside.html)? Has anyone here used this?

Any other thoughts?

Thank you
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S Connelly
Asked:
S Connelly
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1 Solution
 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
use vCenter Server to deploy Virtual Machines or VMware View or Citrix XenDesktop.

But you will be limited by datastore, as this will produce heavy IO.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
UDA is one mechanism we use in our labs for rapid deployment.
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S ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
Hello Hanccoka,

Thanks again for your advice. Are you the only one who reads and/or understands the Virtualization sig questions? :-)

Actually, if you recall... I am only going to be using the free version of ESXi?

Can I use vCenter Server for a free trial (long enough to complete the deployment)?

I am also looking into Microsoft's free deployment tool: Microsoft Deployment Kit (http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=25175)
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You can use free trials of ESXi and vCenter for 60 days, to complete your deployments on all your servers, and then add free licenses to ESXi and your done!

vCenter has then done its job for you.

I would use that method, simple.
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S ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
Thanks again for your especially rapid responses.

>UDA is one mechanism we use in our labs for rapid deployment.

Any tips on using this tool when deploying XP VMs on ESXi hosts. Quick glance did not reveal any documentation.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Create one Master XP template, with your build, apps, patches, the way you want it, Deploy this template, it will clone, sysprep, generate new sid, add to domain, create correct machine name, networking etc.....and it will Queue all the builds...
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Use vCenter and ESXi for free.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
thats the issue with UDA its fiddly...use vCenter.
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Aaron TomoskyTechnology ConsultantCommented:
If you can use a zfs backed nfs datastore (check out zfs guru or nappit) you can put one vm in a filesystem sysprep and clone it instantly. The main problem is you have to add each clone as an NSF share (thanks VMware for not supporting nfsv4).
But it's faster than copying the vm 100 times.
In fact, you can Cli script adding all the nfs stores.
If you can figure outhow to automate the renaming of machines and stuff it may be really fast.
Also nexenta has a cool vm clone thing built into their open indiana based zfs NSF storage setup but I think it's only in the paid version.
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S ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
Thank you again! You're awesome!
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