How to automate host configuration

Hi all, I work in an environment that has x10 hosts in each datacenter. Occasionally we have to add more hosts but the configuration has to all be done manually. So I have to add vswitches, port groups etc by hand. What is the best way to automate this so that all I have to do is drop a host into a cluster and give it an IP? Or is this not possible?

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  1. I’d read up on host profiles and Auto Deploy. You CAN manually kickstart an ESXi host too. You can also use Auto Deploy in concert with Kickstarting.

    See here: [https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.0/com.vmware.vsphere.install.doc/GUID-9A827220-177E-40DE-99A0-E1EB62A49408.html](https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.0/com.vmware.vsphere.install.doc/GUID-9A827220-177E-40DE-99A0-E1EB62A49408.html)

    VMware super-guru William Lam covers a lot of ESXi kickstarting: [https://www.virtuallyghetto.com/vmware-kickstart](https://www.virtuallyghetto.com/vmware-kickstart)

  2. Make a kickstart script. Basically you make the script then when you go to image it you give it a command to use that script too. So it images it and configures it all in one go.

  3. It’s a bit of work up front but we run a stateless auto deploy environment. We are working on adding FC SAN automation to do true end to end host provisioning.

  4. At most customers I use a PowerCLI script I wrote which configures the ESXi host based on a CSV file. Some of the things it does include:

    * Adding it to vCenter and the cluster
    * Host networking including configuring the vMotion VMkernel Interface
    * NTP configuration
    * Active Directory join
    * Patching using a VUM baseline

    Took some time to work it out, but saves a lot of time once it’s done.

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