Ideal CentOS minimal template for Automation

Ever try to build a CentOS image for use with automation or just simply use for templates in general with VMware? I can tell you from experience it can be very frustrating to have a great VM that you thought would work for cloning but when you actually test it nothing seems to work. With that in mind I thought I would create this post. In a very verbose manner we will walk through the following steps

Let’s start by going to vCenter -> select your DC -> Create a new virtual machine
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We are going to Create a new virtual machine
02 vSphere Web Client

Give it a name and select the data center you wish to create it in
03 vSphere Web Client

Choose the cluster
04 vSphere Web Client

Choose the storage *Note – if using for automation, put it on shared storage
05 vSphere Web Client

Select the compatibility mode *Note – you will not be able to choose any level higher than your supported vCenter/Host. It’s also important to know that if you choose 5.5 it will only be editable by the web client)
06 vSphere Web Client

Choose the Guest OS family – Linux, and a OS version. *Note – I recommend using RHEL even though there is a Cent option. If you choose RHEL you can then use customization specs within vCenter
07 vSphere Web Client

Go to VM Options tab -> Expand Boot Options -> Check Force Bios
08 vSphere Web Client

Now expand Advanced -> Edit Configuration
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Now we add the following 3 rows FALSE FALSE
keyboard.typematicMinDelay 200000
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Click Finish when ready
12 vSphere Web Client

Now power on the VM
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Go to the manage and connect the iso image for CentOS
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Launch Console
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In the BIOS settings make sure to set CD-ROM Drive in the boot options to first
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Now boot into your iso image
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Media check, I typically skip but can be handy if you have any corrupt data from your iso
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Installer is now running – click next
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Select your language
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Should be Basic Storage Device as the vmdm is what you will be installing to
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Warning about wiping data, since this is a new VM should not matter
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Choose a host name *Note with 6.5 the short name here is what it will use for the default Volume Group in the LVM configuration
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Configure Network
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Ensure that “Connect automatically” is checked
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Select your timezone
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Set your password for root
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Choose your disk layout, I select “Use All Space” in order to build a default LVM
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Are you sure…Yes write changes to disk
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After some time the install will complete and give you this reboot screen
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After the reboot is complete we login as root and update to the latest software components
Type yum update
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As that completes you will see a summary
Type y to continue with the updates
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Once that portion completes you will be prompted to continue with the RPM Key for installation purposes
Type y to continue
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Once installation of the updates completes now you need to install perl so that vmware tools can load properly
Type yum install perl
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Again a summary will appear
Type y to continue
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Install the piece for automation tools to detect information about the system
Type yum install dmi_decode

Next let’s initiate the vmware tools install
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Mount the disk
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Now we go through the step by step commands *Note the [TAB] references the tab button as it will complete the file name or directory for you
Type mkdir /mnt/cdrom (this creates the directory)
Type mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom (this mounts the cdrom into that created directory)
Type cp /mnt/cdrom/VMwareTools[TAB] /tmp (this will copy the file to the /tmp directory)
Type umount /mnt/cdrom (unmounts the cdrom)
Type cd /tmp (takes you into the /tmp directory)
Type ls (verify file is there)
Type tar -xzvf VMware[TAB] (this will extract the files)
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Next we run the following commands to kick off the install of tools
Type cd vmware-tools-distrib
Type ./
Choose all the defaults during installation
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Once complete you will see the following on the screen
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Now that we have complete the installation of tools we have a number of steps that need to occur to make this streamlined for cloning
Type rm /etc/dev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules
Type y
Type vi /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0
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Move the cursor to the UUID row and type dd to delete it
Do the same for the HWADDR
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Type :wq in to save and exit the editor
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Now lets disable the firewalls that would prevent communication of any agents
Type chkconfig iptables off
Type chkconfig ip6tables off
Type echo 0 >selinux/enforce
Type vi /etc/selinux/config
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Type i to insert
Change the SELINUX= to disabled
Type :wq to save
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Your template is now ready for use!
Type shutdown -h now
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Now back to the vSphere client and either take a snapshot for linked clone or clone directly to a template
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    • Daniel Edwards on July 10, 2014 at 3:04 am
    • Reply

    Does this work with static IPs and VCAC6? Having a real problem getting the linked clone to pick up an IP after its provisioned. I used a customization spec and the adapter just gets set to DHCP. VCAC has an allocation for the IP under network profiles. It just nevers makes its way to the OS.

    • Daniel Edwards on July 10, 2014 at 3:05 am
    • Reply

    Does this work with static IPs and VCAC6? Having a real problem getting the linked clone to pick up an IP after its provisioned. I used a customization spec and the adapter just gets set to DHCP. VCAC has an allocation for the IP under network profiles. It just nevers makes its way to the OS.

    edited the reply email

    1. Daniel,
      Yes this works with vCAC and static IPs from the network profile. Couple of key steps though

    2. First you need to classify the CentOS template as a RedHat template in vCenter. The reason for this is we don’t support customization specs to be applied to Cent yet.
    3. Next you create a Linux customization spec in vCenter, make sure to define a static IP in the customization spec so we can overwrite with vCAC.
    4. Finally on the blueprint use that customization spec by name and yes it’s case sensitive.
    5. Then on the blueprint use that customization spec by name.
    6. Ta Da, you will now have static IP assignments working!

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