How to Create a VMWare Template for Deployment

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How to Create a VMWare Template for Deployment

So you are deploying Servers regularly and ask becoming sick of completing this the manual way. Well to create a template for quick deployment is relatively easy, just follow the steps in this blog post and you will be deploying VMs in no time.

There are two methods to create a VMWare template, Clone to Template or Convert to Template. 

Clone to Template does exactly that. It creates an exact copy of the VM and leaves the original VM you choose intact. Choosing this option allows you to change the format of the Virtual Disk to either Thick or Thin Provisioning. Thin Provisioning the disk will allow the VM to use only the disk space it requires, and grow with time. Thick Provisioning the VM will use the amount of Disk Space you specify. Creating a Clone to Template VMWare duplicates the Virtual Disks and the .VMX file that holds all the configuration settings for that Virtual Machine.

Convert to Template is the other possible method available to you. (This is what I use in this example). It is much faster than using Clone to Template as it is not required to duplicate the source Virtual Machine disks. What it does is changes this VM to a Template format.

Once you have finished creating a VMWare Template following this post, Click this link to see how to make a VM automatically join a Windows Domain.

VMWare Console

  1. Log in to your VMWare console and then Right Click your datacentre and choose New Virtual Machine.

VMWare Template Creation


Configuration Tab

2. The VM Deployment Wizard starts off with the Configuration Tab. You can choose whether this VM will be customised or typical. Choose the settings you require and click on Next.

VMWare Template Creation 2

Name and Location Tab

3. Now give the VM a name. As this is going to be a template for future deployment of Windows Server 2016, I have chosen 2016 Template to make it easier to see which Operating System this template will install.

VMWare Template Creation 3

Host / Cluster Tab

4. Chose the Host or Cluster you want the VM to be deployed to then click on Next.


How to deploy Virtual Machine

Storage Tab

5. Next you specify the storage location for the VM to reside on. Select the appropriate VM datastore and then click on Next.

VMWare Template Creation Storage

Guest Operating System Tab

6. Choose the Operating System you want to install on the VM and click Next.

VMWare Template Creation Operating System

Network Tab

7. Select the VM network you want this VM to communicate on and click Next.

VMWare Template Creation Network Settings

Create a Disk Tab

8. Specify the size of the Operating System Disk then click Next.

VMWare Template Creation Disk Size

Ready to Complete Tab

9. Confirm the settings are correct and click on Finish. In this example I checked the checkbox for Edit the virtual machine settings before completion to show you what hardware settings you can change. Click Finish when ready.

VMWare Template Creation Hardware Settings

10. Now the VM is ready to install the operating system, you will have to attach an ISO file for the installation. Find the VM then Right Click the Virtual Machine and select Edit Settings.

VMWare Template Creation Edit Settings

Edit VMware VM Settings

11. Select CD/DVD drive then Datastore ISO file. Browse to the datastore location of your Operating System installation media and select the appropriate media then click on OK. You can also change other hardware settings for this template.

VMWare Template Datastore

Power On

12. Now we need to install the Operating System so that we can easily redeploy this VM as a template. Right Click the VM and choose Power On.

VMWare Template Creation Power OnVMWare Template Datastore

Virtual Machine Console

13. Right Click the VM again and choose Open Console so that you can install the Operating System.

VMWare Template Creation Power On

Operating System Installation

14. Next will require you to install the Operating System. Please note that if you are going to change this to a VM Template, do not join your Windows Domain.

VMWare Template Creation Installation

Shutdown Machine

15. Once the machine has logged in to Windows for the first time, shut the machine down.

VMWare Shutdown

Create a VMWare Template

16. Once the installation of the Operating System has completed and the Virtual Machine is powered off we can now create a VMWare Template. Right Click the Virtual Machine, go to Template,  then Convert to Template. This will now change the Virtual Machine and convert it to a ready to deploy Template for quick and easy future deployment.

VMWare Template Convert