You can use the VMware Imaging Appliance service (VIA) included with the VMware Cloud Builder appliance to image servers for use in the management domain and VI workload domains. Alternatively, you can install ESXi manually. For the supported ESXi version, see the BOM section of the VMware Cloud Foundation Release Notes.

Before you can complete the deployment parameter workbook to define your network information, host details, and other required information, you must install ESXi on your servers. If your servers are already installed with a supported version of ESXi, you can skip imaging. Otherwise, you can use VIA.

This guide describes using VIA to image servers prior to bring-up of a Cloud Foundation system. You can also use VIA to image servers prior to adding them to Cloud Foundation as part of the host commissioning process after bring-up is complete. See the VMware Cloud Foundation Operations and Administration Guide for more information.

Server Prerequisites

The servers that you image must meet certain prerequisites:
  • PXE Boot is configured as primary boot option
  • Install device is configured as the second boot option
  • Legacy boot mode configured in BIOS (UEFI boot mode is not supported)
  • Servers are in the same L2 domain as the VMware Cloud Builder appliance
  • Servers are reachable over an untagged VLAN/Network (VLAN ID 0)
  • The VMware Cloud Builder appliance is deployed on an untagged VLAN/Network
  • Server hardware/firmware should be configured for virtualization and vSAN and match the Cloud Foundation BOM as described in the Release Notes
  • Physical hardware health status should be "healthy" without any errors
  • Any onboard NICs are disabled on the servers and only the two 10 GbE NICs reserved for use with Cloud Foundation are enabled in BIOS

The default root credentials for servers imaged with VIA are user root, password EvoSddc!2016.