VMware vSphere Auto Deploy: VMware Simplifies Stateless Hosts

By Lisa Gecko

vSphere 5 is the latest version of VMware’s popular virtual server infrastructure product. It includes an extensive upgrade with many new infrastructure improvements, as well as new application and management services. Perhaps the most powerful new tool included with vSphere 5 is the Auto Deploy feature. Provisioning numerous vSphere servers is a time consuming task, even when using host profiles. Auto Deploy enables a massive reduction in the resources it takes to deploy vSphere servers by automatically creating a base image and deploying it to new hardware, saving both time and cost.

Auto Deploy is essentially an advanced provisioning technology that takes advantage of standard PXE boot features to obtain a DHCP-provided IP address. Once it has done this, the host is redirected to a TFTP server which streams an ESXi image over the network and into the memory of the intended host. Once the image has been moved into memory on the host, ESXi reboots and contacts a vCenter server for further instructions such as the application of a host profile.

The days of time consuming and expensive deployment errors are over. Using a rules engine, Auto Deploy is able to precisely install specified images to the hosts of choice. The rules engine is activated during the provisioning stage as hardware data is fed to Auto Deploy so that the specified rules are applied. Thus, errorless deployments are practically guaranteed.

Beyond automating the initial deployment process, Auto Deploy has many other benefits as well. For example, it eliminates the need for a host to boot from any kind of local storage. Since a full boot image is sent to the machine over the network, the host can boot from this image and further reduce the potential for hardware failures. In addition, replacing non-functioning hosts has never been easier.

With Auto Deploy it is now possible to have a complete stateless installation, with the image stored in memory, eliminating the need to install ESXi manually. Whether you have many physical vSphere hosts, or a few, Auto Deploy will save you time and money. And it is completely scalable as your network grows, with the capability to install hundreds of physical servers if need be. With Auto Deploy and vSphere 5, business can stay productive at all times.

Auto Deploy is just one of the many upgrades with the new vSphere 5. Upgrade today and keep your business moving on the right track.