Auto Deploy Boot Process

When you turn on a host that you want to provision or reprovision with vSphere Auto Deploy, the Auto Deploy infrastructure supplies the image and, optionally, a host profile and a location for that host. The process is different for hosts that have not yet been provisioned with Auto Deploy (first boot) and for hosts that have been provisioned with Auto Deploy and added to a vCenter Server system (subsequent boot). For subsequent boots, the vCenter Server system stores the information for the host.

First Boot Prerequisites

Before a first boot process, you must set up your system. Setup includes the following tasks, which are discussed in more detail in “Preparing for vSphere Auto Deploy,” on page 67.

  • Set up a DHCP server that assigns an IP address to each host upon startup and that points the host to the TFTP server to download the gPXE boot loader from.
  • Ensure that the Auto Deploy server has an IPv4 address. PXE booting is supported only with IPv4.
  • Identify an image profile to be used in one of the following ways.
  • Choose an ESXi image profile in a public depot.
  • (Optional) Create a custom image profile using the Image Builder PowerCLI, and place the image profile in a depot the Auto Deploy server can access. The image profile must include a base ESXi VIB.
  • (Optional) If you have a reference host in your environment, export the host profile of the reference host and define a rule that applies the host profile to one or more hosts.
  • Specify rules for the deployment of the host and add the rules to the Auto Deploy rules engine.

First Boot Overview

When a host that has not yet been provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy boots (first boot), the host interactswith several Auto Deploy components.

1. When the administrator turns on a host, the host starts a PXE boot sequence.

The DHCP Server assigns an IP address to the host and instructs the host to contact the TFTP server.

2. The host contacts the TFTP server and downloads the gPXE file (executable boot loader) and a gPXEconfiguration file.

3. gPXE starts executing.

The configuration file instructs the host to make a HTTP boot request to the Auto Deploy server. The HTTPrequest includes hardware and network information.

4. In response, the Auto Deploy server performs these tasks:

     a. Queries the rule engine for information about the host.

     b. Streams the components specified in the image profile, the optional host profile, and optional vCenterServer location information.

5. The host boots using the image profile.

If the Auto Deploy server provided a host profile, the host profile is applied to the host.

image

 

8. Auto Deploy assigns the host to the vCenter Server system that Auto Deploy is registered with.

9.If a rule specifies a target folder or cluster on the vCenter Server system, the host is placed in that folder or cluster. If no rule exists that specifies a vCenter Server inventory location, Auto Deploy adds the host to the first datacenter displayed in the   vSphere Client UI.

image

 

(Optional) If the host profile requires the user to specify certain information, such as a static IP address,the host is placed in maintenance mode when the host is added to the vCenter Server system.You must reapply the host profile and answer any questions to have the host exit maintenance mode. If a host required user input during a previous boot, the answers are saved with the vCenter Server in an answer file. If you want to prompt the user for new information, you reapply the host profile.

If the host is part of a DRS cluster, virtual machines from other hosts might be assigned to the host after the host has successfully been added to the vCenter Server system.

Subsequent Boots Without Updates

For hosts that are provisioned with Auto Deploy and managed by a vCenter Server system, subsequent boots can become completely automatic. The host is provisioned by the vCenter Server system, which stores information about the image profile and host profile for each host in the database.

The boot process proceeds as follows.

1. The administrator reboots the host.

2. As the host boots up, Auto Deploy provisions the host with its image and host profile, which are stored in vCenter Server. It means Auto Deploy doesn’t query for image in the rule engine

image

 

3. Virtual machines are brought up or migrated to the host based on the settings of the host.

      a. Standalone host. Virtual machines are powered on according to autostart rules defined on the host.

      b. DRS cluster host. Virtual machines that were successfully migrated to other hosts stay there. Virtual machines for which no host had enough resources are registered to the rebooted host.

If the hosts specified by the pattern are not currently managed by a vCenter Server system, Auto Deploy provisions them with the already stored image profile and the specified host profile and adds them to the target cluster. After the host has been added to a vCenter Server system, the boot configuration is determined by the vCenter Server system