You learned about VMware Auto Deploy’s benefits in part one of our two-part series, but it’s also important to know the vSphere 5 feature’s nuts and bolts and how to set it up for customers.
Auto Deploy takes advantage of the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) boot feature that is present in many physical network interface cards (NICs). This allows a server to boot from a remote image file using only a physical NIC and without local storage.
A server booting with PXE first obtains an IP address using Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and then loads a boot image from a Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) server. Auto Deploy uses PXE booting to download an ESXi image file to a host and its components work to define which image a host should use, customizations and host-specific configuration information.
Auto Deploy relies on software depots that are used to store collections of vSphere Installation Bundles (VIB) and image files that are accessed remotely via HTTP to deploy or update hosts. VIB files are used to deploy the ESXi software and any hardware vendor customizations. The Auto Deploy Server uses the software depot to pull VIBs and image profiles when booting an ESXi host.
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