Getting started with vSphere Auto Deploy requires that you learn how vSphere Auto Deploy works, start the vSphere Auto Deploy and vSphere ESXi Image Builder vCenter Server services, create deploy rules that provision hosts, and power on your hosts to be booted with the image profile you specify.

The workflow for provisioning the hosts in your environment with vSphere Auto Deploy includes the following tasks:

  1. Deploy vCenter Server.

    The vSphere Auto Deploy server is included.

  2. Configure the vSphere Auto Deploy and vSphere ESXi Image Builder service startup types.

    See Prepare Your System for vSphere Auto Deploy and Configure the vSphere ESXi Image Builder.

  3. Add or import a software depot to the vSphere Auto Deploy inventory.

    See Add a Software Depot or Import a Software Depot.

  4. (Optional) If you want to create a custom image profile, clone, or create an image profile by using the vSphere Client.

    See Clone an Image Profile or Create an Image Profile.

  5. Create a deploy rule that assigns the image profile to one host, to multiple hosts specified by a pattern, or to all hosts.

    See Create a Deploy Rule.

    Note: vSphere Auto Deploy is optimized for provisioning hosts that have a fixed MAC address to IP address mapping in DHCP (sometimes called DHCP reservations). If you want to use static IP addresses, you must set up the host profile to prompt for host customization. For more information, see the vSphere Host Profiles documentation.
  6. Power on the hosts that you want to provision.
  7. Set up the host you provisioned as a reference host for your host profile.

    You can specify the reference host syslog settings, firewall settings, storage, networking, and so on.

  8. Extract a host profile from the reference host.

    See the Host Profiles documentation.

  9. To provision multiple hosts with the host profile, clone or edit the previously created rule by using the vSphere Client.

    See Clone a Deploy Rule or Edit a Deploy Rule.

  10. Activate the new rule and deactivate the old one.

    See Activate, Deactivate, and Reorder Deploy Rules.

  11. Remediate the host associations to apply the new rule to the host.

    See Remediate a Non-compliant Host.

  12. Verify that the hosts you provisioned meet the following requirements.
    • Each host is connected to the vCenter Server system.
    • The hosts are not in maintenance mode.
    • The hosts have no compliance failures.
    • Each host with a host profile that requires user input has up-to-date host customization information.

    Remediate host associations and compliance problems and reboot hosts until all hosts meet the requirements.

Read for an introduction to the boot process, differences between first and subsequent boots, and an overview of using host customization.