You can customize the first ESXi host that you boot for your environment and create a host profile. You can set up Auto Deploy to provision other target hosts with that host profile. The ESXi host you create the host profile from is considered your reference host or template host.

How you configure the reference host depends on what you want to do.
Shared settings
Specify settings that all hosts share and save a host profile for the host.
Host-specific settings
Customize hosts by setting up the host profile to prompt for user input for a limited number of options such as a static IP address. Host customizations are saved when you save the host profile. See Host Customization in the vSphere Web Client.
Auto Deploy applies all common settings from the host profile to all target hosts. If you set up the host profile to ask for user input, all hosts provisioned with that host profile come up in maintenance mode. You must reapply the host profile or reset host customizations to be prompted for the host-specific information.
Note: Administrators cannot directly access or manipulate host customizations. Use the vSphere Web Client Host Profiles UI to work with host customizations.



  1. Use the vSphere Web Client to connect to the vCenter Server system.
    In this proof of concept setup, the vCenter Server system is localhost.
  2. Click Hosts and Clusters and select the host that Auto Deploy added to the first datacenter.
  3. Configure the host.
    The rest of the proof of concept setup assumes that you configure at least one setting that is different for different hosts.
    Configuration Description
    Networking Configure the following networking components.
    • Base virtual switch and management port group for VMkernel.
    • Storage network port group for VMkernel.
    • Virtual machine networking port group.
    • Any additional virtual switches and port groups.
    • Distributed switches, if necessary (transfer port groups to distributed switches if you use them).
    Storage Configure shared storage.
    Time settings Configure your time settings.
    Security Configure the security profile.
    Authentication Configure authentication.
    DNS and routing If necessary, configure DNS and route settings.
    Other Configure advanced settings or any other settings as required in the target environment.

What to do next

Create the host profile from the reference host for use with all other target hosts. See the Host Profiles documentation.