VMware Labs has again released a fine piece of work which should make installing ESXi a lot easier : PXE manager for vCenter. I’m a fan of automation. Especially when it comes down to the installation of ESXi. First installation is fun, second is nice, but from that point on it gets boring.
Until now you always had to revert to a third party tool to do the auto installation for you. Ok, VMware provided the automated installation through kickstart, but you still needed a third party to do the PXE boot, install and configure your ESX(i) server.
VMware now introduced the PXE Manager for vCenter as a fling (so do not use in your production environment 😉 ). The rumors were already there that this would be implemented in vSphere 4.1, but unfortunately it didn’t make the cut. Good to see that it wasn’t a rumor after all and VMware does indeed have a install / management solution for deploying ESXi onto your servers.
PXE Manager for vCenter enables ESXi host state (firmware) management and provisioning. Specifically, it allows:
* Automated provisioning of new ESXi hosts stateless and stateful (no ESX)
* ESXi host state (firmware) backup, restore, and archiving with retention
* ESXi builds repository management (stateless and statefull)
* ESXi Patch management
* Multi vCenter support
* Multi network support with agents (Linux CentOS virtual appliance will be available later)
* Wake on Lan
* Hosts memtest
* vCenter plugin
* Deploy directly to VMware Cloud Director
* Deploy to Cisco UCS blades
See for yourself on the VMware Labs page over here.