You begin the VMware Cloud Foundation deployment process by deploying the VMware Cloud Builder appliance. The VMware Cloud Builder appliance includes the VMware Imaging Appliance service, which you can use to image your servers with ESXi software. After imaging your servers, you download and complete the deployment parameters workbook from the VMware Cloud Builder appliance to define your network information, host details, and other required information. During the deployment process, this workbook is uploaded to the VMware Cloud Builder appliance, where a JSON file is generated to drive the bring-up process. The provided information is validated, and the automated phase of the bring-up process begins.

You can perform bring-up with certificates generated by an external CA, in which case ESXi certificates are not replaced with vCenter Server signed certificates. If you use external certificates for ESXi hosts in the management domain, hosts added after bring-up must also be added with external certificates. This feature is supported only through APIs. For more information, see Deploy the Management Domain Using ESXi Hosts with External Certificates.


You must prepare your environment for deploying VMware Cloud Foundation. See the Planning and Preparation Workbook.