Vmware Guest Customization , VMtools and Best Practices

Posted on 2016-10-08
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2016-10-15
I have open another question about this not long about but since then have done more testing and worked with Vmware support but wanted to run my finding by everyone to make sure they are correct.

We are not using Guest Customization now but looking to do so. All of your Windowsr Templates are sysprepped, I found when deploying a VM with the customization it would not apply. I only got the custoin to apply after build a clean image that was not sysprepped.

This got me think Servers OS's are capped at 3 syspreps before you need to rearm them. I probablly makes more sense not to sysprep the template image but let the customization do this correct? Also even though I am runnin ESxi 6 update 1a VMtools 9.x the latest build out is 10.0.2. Does VMware recommend using the latest VMtools from their site regardless of the ESXi host version you are on (with in reason of course). If this is the case is there value in creating a central share that all host would pull from so all host would be deploying the same VMtools version?

I konw this is a lot of information so thank you in advance.
Question by:compdigit44
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LVL 122
ID: 41835556
Does VMware recommend using the latest VMtools from their site regardless of the ESXi host version you are on (with in reason of course). If this is the case is there value in creating a central share that all host would pull from so all host would be deploying the same VMtools version?

You will find that VMware, will ONLY support VMware Tools version matched to hosts.

If you look in the Support Matrix.

Active Directory can be your friend for deployment of unattended versions of VMware Tools and MDT!
LVL 122
ID: 41835806
Just to add some more info mismatched VMware tools and host IS version does work but not supported by VMware eg if you have an issue with VM they will suggest upgrade to correct version on the host.
LVL 20

Author Comment

ID: 41835838
Thank you very much for the great feedback as always.. Regarding the VM deployments should I sysprep my template or should I not do this and let the customization handle it?
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LVL 122
ID: 41836621
Either or, let Custom OS do it or you do it.

Based on how you want to work.

Most of our clients do not do it via Custom...
LVL 20

Author Comment

ID: 41837683
Well I have been going back and forth with VMware support and wanted to share their recommends.

Like you mentioned either have the Gold/ template image sysprepped ahead of time or so not sysprep this image and let the customization do it. The engineer recommended letting Vmware trigger it as to avoid rearming issue on the Gold image.

Regarding the Vmtools questions, according to the engineer VMware now will fully support have newer VMtools versions and are newer than the host they are running on. I just they have been changing their stance on this over time and might create a cental local to deploy all VMtool images from.

Do you agree with everything????
LVL 122
ID: 41840913
We never agree with VMware Support because they do not work at the coal face!

As for OS issues in VMs it also depends who you speak to and whether it's a difficult issue!

Guest OS templates has been losing faith and ground since it's first release it's very basic

And many better methods for deployment eg SCCM or MDT Config Manager.
LVL 82

Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 41841339
to get around the rearm counts.. take a snapshot, sysprep and capture, roll back snapshot
LVL 122
ID: 41841430
That method works for MDT but Guest OS Deployment it's either Sysprep it before and not let Guest Custom. Do it or let Guest Custom do it e.g. generalise it.
LVL 20

Author Comment

ID: 41842282
Thanks everyone .. the whole point of me wanted to use Gust Customizations is so deployed will already have the Guest OS remained to match the VM's display name and join the domain that is it

I am getting frustrated with support because I keep pushing them with the question "What is VMware recommendated method for using Sysprep and Gust Customizations and cannot get a straing answer from them
LVL 122
ID: 41842292
They will not give you an Answer because they have NO control of the OS.

If you use Guest Custom. You have to take the risk it's flaky....
LVL 20

Author Comment

ID: 41842311
Ok, I got that but I am only trying to understand since MDT is not really an option for use with server deployments right now, should I sysprep the template or not do this and let the customization do it.

I am trying to understand how others do this process. Right now we have are template sysprepped and need to walk through the setup process for each deployment and trying to streamline this process
LVL 122

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 41842592
Our Clients do NOT use Guest Customisations to do anything Sysprep or join domains or name machine because IT FAILS and then have to do it manually!

So deploy template as is make sure never Sysprep.

At first startup of is run Sysprep manually at first reboot go through Wizard add Product Key

Rename machine to match inventory add to domain.

Make sure your template is on a workgroup and not Sysprepped.

The above works.

Guest OS Customisations are hit and miss and always have been.

I appreciate this is manual and not streamlined but feel free to argue this with VMware Suppory when it fails and it will and then you got two choices manually fix or destroy and redeploy.

Life is too short when you've got 80 to deploy!
LVL 20

Author Closing Comment

ID: 41844398
Excellent advice as always!!!
LVL 122
ID: 41845043
No problems.....

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