Creating and Deploying Virtual Machines Using Templates


A typical use for templates is to set up a master image of a frequently deployed server operating system, for example Windows Server 2008 R2.The master image will include latest Windows Updates, Antivirus software with updates and Windows Operating components such as Desktop Experience and others. Using templates, you will be able to create new virtual machines with the operating system ready within less than 5 minutes. In the Enterprise network, this is done through System Center Virtual Machine Manger 2012 (SCVMM 2012). (In VMware it is done through vCenter Server.)  In our example, we will be using only Hyper-V HOST. In this scenario; we have to follow the below steps to create virtual machine template for the new virtual machine.

1. First, Create a Virtual Machine with the Operating System and Install Windows Updates and Windows features as per your requirement such as the Desktop Experience.

2.  Click Start > Run and type, c:\Windows\System32\sysprep and click OK.

3. Right-click on sysprep.exe and select Run as Administrator.

4. On the System Preparation Tool dialog box, select Enter System Out-of Box Experience (OOBE) under System Cleanup Action drop-down box. In the Shutdown Options select Shutdown, select Generalize and then click OK.

5. After the shutdown process, Open the virtual machine VHD path and Rename it to identify your template.

6. To create a new virtual machine from the template, Copy one of the VHD used as template to another location.

7. Create a new virtual machine using the template virtual hard disk. The system will reboot and the sysprep process will continue, prompting the Administrator’s Password.

Summary:

A significant time savings and performing the required installation without errors can be achieved using the procedure described above. This kind of installation is recommended for environments where System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 is not an option due to cost limitations and where the numbers of Hosts are also limited.

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