Friday, September 13, 2013

How to build and deploy clone servers on VMware Workstation


This posting walks you through the process of building and deploying clones of Windows Server 2008 R2 within the VMware Workstation environment. It involves a five-step process: build, sysprep, snapshot, clone and launch.  Budget about 3h for completion of all steps - most of which will involve the build step.

Step 1: Build
  1. In VMware Workstation, create a new VM.  For my work, 40GB disk is sufficient
    • 1.5GB memory will work fine if total host memory is limited.
  2. Install Windows Server 2008 R2
  3. Install Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1
  4. Install all remaining updates
  5. Do not add roles or features (these are not supported for sysprep)
  6. Do not configure the network adapter
  7. Do not configure system properties
Step 2: Sysprep
  1. Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\sysprep:
  2. Launch sysprep.
  3. Configure as:
    1. System Cleanup Action: Enter System Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE)
    2. Generalize: Enabled
    3. Shutdown Options: Shutdown
  4. Click OK.
  5. Wait for completion. 

Step 3: Snapshot
  1. Right-click build in VMware Workstation sidebar
  2. Choose Take Snapshot
  3. Enter identifying information
  4. Click OK.
Step 4: Clone
  1. Right-click build in VMware Workstation sidebar
  2. Choose Clone...
  3. Click Next
  4. Select An existing snapshot (powered off only)
  5. From dropdown, select snapshot you created
  6. Click Next
  7. Select Create a full clone
  8. Click Next
  9. Enter virtual machine name and location
  10. Click Finish
  11. Wait for completion.
Step 5: Launch
  1. Select a new clone and power up.
  2. On power up, the startup screen will appear different. 

    Seeing this screen is an indication that your clone was successful.  Services and devices will be installed. To retain services and devices in the template, review the references for additional command line arguments.
  3. After bootup, complete the usual installation prompts
  4. This completes this procedure.

In this posting, you have learned how to build and deploy clones of Windows Server 2008 R2 in VMware Workstation.

  • If after cloning the build and joining it to your domain, you experience weird problems such as disappearing domain accounts or security principal errors, verify that you made the snapshot after sysprep and not before.

No comments: