Nested ESXi Templates

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Over the past week I have been working on a streamlined process to deploy nested ESXi 6.7 via automation tooling. Going through this I came across an issue with all nested ESXi hosts obtaining the same IP address. I had already followed the normal processes that are well documented in regard to prepping the image before bundling up for use as a template.

The following were the commands that I found as a typical scenario:

esxcli system settings advanced set -o /Net/FollowHardwareMac -i 1
sed -i '/\\/system\\/uuid/d' /etc/vmware/esx.conf
/sbin/auto-backup.sh

These seemed to be working as desired until I decided to spin up quite a few of them, and boom, there it was, all nested ESXi hosts had the same IP address. Now for clarity, I am using Packer to build the base nested ESXi image (more on this in a later post). But that was not the cause of the issue.

The following is what I was finally able to get to work as desired (in addition to the above commands):

sed -i '/\\/net\\/pnic\\/child\\[0000\\]\\/mac/d' /etc/vmware/esx.conf
sed -i '/\\/net\\/vmkernelnic\\/child\\[0000\\]\\/mac/d' /etc/vmware/esx.conf

So the whole command set in one would look like:

esxcli system settings advanced set -o /Net/FollowHardwareMac -i 1
sed -i '/\\/system\\/uuid/d' /etc/vmware/esx.conf
sed -i '/\\/net\\/pnic\\/child\\[0000\\]\\/mac/d' /etc/vmware/esx.conf
sed -i '/\\/net\\/vmkernelnic\\/child\\[0000\\]\\/mac/d' /etc/vmware/esx.conf
/sbin/auto-backup.sh

The issue was that all the hosts were still coming up with the same MAC address. So, not sure what was going on here in my scenario, but possibly this may save someone else the headache I went through on this.

UPDATE: 05/13/2019 - Ran into the infamous datastore1 issue when attempting to join nested ESXi hosts to vCenter. You will experience the issue because all of the templates have the same UUID for datastore1. Resolve this by adding --novmfsondisk in your ks.cfg. Ex. install --firstdisk --overwritevmfs --novmfsondisk.

Enjoy!

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