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VMware images

MAAS 2.5 and above can deploy VMware ESXi as a custom image. MAAS cannot directly deploy the VMware ESXi ISO; you must create a specialised image from an official VMWare ISO. Canonical created a packer template to automate the image creation process.

Quick questions you may have:

Prerequisites to image creation

Image creation

Image deployment

Customizing the Image

The image may be customized by modifying packer-maas/vmware-esxi/http/vmware-esxi-ks.cfg see Installation and Upgrade Scripts in the VMware ESXi installation and Setup manual for more information.

Building an Image

Before an image is built the nbd kernel module must be loaded

sudo modprobe nbd

Once the nbd kernel module is loaded your current working directory must be in the packer-maas/vmware-esxi directory

cd /path/to/packer-maas/vmware-esxi

You can now start the image building process using packer with the following command:

sudo packer build -var
'vmware_esxi_iso_path=/path/to/VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.7.0-8169922.x86_64.iso'
vmware-esxi.json

Uploading an Image

Once you have created the image, upload it to MAAS, using the CLI, with the following command:

maas $PROFILE boot-resources create name='esxi/6.7' title='VMware ESXi 6.7'
architecture='amd64/generic' filetype='ddgz' content@=vmware-esxi.dd.gz

Features and Limitations

Networking

Storage

Custom storage configuration is not supported because VMware ESXi expects specific disk formats. MAAS will extend datastore1 to the full size of the deployment disk. After deployment, VMware tools may be used to access the other disks.

ESXi Hardware Support

VMware has very specific hardware requirements. In particular, running VMware ESXi is not supported in a virtual machine or MAAS virsh Pod.