Deploy an ESXi host using Auto Deploy

Assuming there is an installed and working vCenter, install the Auto Deploy server located on vCenter ISO media (vctools\VMware-autodeploy.exe). Auto Deploy can be installed with the vCenter or as stand alone server: in this post vCenter and Auto Deploy are installed together. After Auto Deploy installation, a new option will be available using Web Client: auto_deploy_tab

Download TFTP Boot Zip file ( and upload to a TFTP server. In the following example a Cisco switch is used as both DHCP and TFTP server:

ip dhcp pool LAN
   bootfile undionly.kpxe.vmw-hardwired
tftp-server flash:undionly.kpxe.vmw-hardwired
tftp-server flash:tramp

Also unpack the the file and copy the undionly.kpxe.vmw-hardwired file to the switch:

Switch#copy tftp:// flash:vmware.pxe
Switch#copy tftp:// flash:

The undionly.kpxe.vmw-hardwired file is useful for standard BIOS servers; the file contains files for EFI architecture also. The tramp file is a simple config file pointing to the vCenter:

set filename

Download ESXi Offline Bundle Install PowerCLI

PowerCLI> Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned
PowerCLI> Set-PowerCLIConfiguration -invalidCertificateAction "Ignore" -confirm:$false
PowerCLI> Connect-ViServer -Server -Protocol https -User Administrator -Pass Password
PowerCLI> Add-EsxSoftwareDepot C:\Depot\
PowerCLI> Get-EsxImageProfile

Name                           Vendor          Last Modified   Acceptance Level
----                           ------          -------------   ----------------
ESXi-5.5.0-1331820-standard    VMware, Inc.    9/19/2013 6:... PartnerSupported
ESXi-5.5.0-1331820-no-tools    VMware, Inc.    9/19/2013 6:... PartnerSupported

PowerCLI> New-DeployRule -Name "5.5.0-Stateless" -Item "ESXi-5.5.0-1331820-standard" -Pattern "mac=00:1A:4B:BE:F6:C2,00:1A:4B:BE:F6:C4"
PowerCLI> Add-DeployRule -DeployRule 5.5.0-Stateless

Now the server can be powered on and it will boot ESXi 5.5.0 via PXE. By deafult host will added to the vCenter server (root password is blank).