CentOS unattended installation for vSphere template

Automate Virtual Machine template creation in vSphere with CentOS 7 unattended installation

Last updated 19th September 2018


This first guide will go throught:

  1. create a CentOS 7 ISO with a kickstart config file
  2. create a virtual image template inside vSphere on OVH Private Cloud Computing


  • an access to a vSphere instance
  • a terminal with root access for package installation. It can be a Debian under WSL, CentOS, Ubuntu, ...

From your terminal, install ansible and govc.

If you use python-2, make sure to use ansible-2.7 or above due to issue #42237 otherwise, switch to python-3 and ansible-2.6.4

pip install ansible
pip install requests # dependency for the ansible vmware_guest module
pip install PyVmomi # dependency for the ansible vmware_guest module

All variables are set in a vars.yml file that needs to be edited before running the playbooks

GOVC installation

govc is a Go client using the vSphere API. You can fetch the latest release from the Release page.

After an unzip or tar and chmod +x, you'll need to setup at least three environmnent variables.

export GOVC_URL=https://pcc-xxx-xxx-xxx-xxx.ovh.com/sdk
export GOVC_USERNAME=username
export GOVC_PASSWORD=password

Tip: Edit a file activate with the three export commands and source it . activate from your terminal before running the scripts.

You can now try the following command

$ govc about
Name:         VMware vCenter Server
Vendor:       VMware, Inc.
Version:      6.0.0
Build:        7037394
OS type:      win32-x64
API type:     VirtualCenter
API version:  6.0
Product ID:   vpx
UUID:         xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx

Preparing ISO images

There will be two images.

The first one will be the unmodified Centos iso file. There are three ISO flavors. We'll pick the DVD edition, the smallest one with the open-vm-tools package.

The second one will a simple iso volume named OEMDRV containing the /KS.CFG file. The full documentation is on RedHat documentation page.

The above steps can be automated via

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends genisoimage
ansible-playbook -vvv --extra-vars @vars.yml create_isos.yml

You are now ready to move the the second section.

Creating a vSphere VM template.

We'll first upload the two ISO images created in the previous step in a datastore define by the variable datastore.

Then, we'll create the virtual machine and attach two CDROM devices, each for one of the ISO files.

During the installation, to observe what is happening you can connect using the VMware Remote Console and get the vmrc link with govc vm.console Centos7

Tip: Without VMRC, you can check if the install is done by trying to connect the the VM guest tool daemon with govc guest.ls -l root:test -vm centos7 .

Be sure the use the proper password defined is the ks.cfg file

Once the installation is done and the VM has rebooted, we'll eject the ISO files and convert the VM to a template.

The above can be done automated via

ansible-playbook -vvv --extra-vars @vars.yml create_template.yml


We have learn how to create a custion unattended installation CentOS ISO file and a VM template in vSphere.

Go further

The next step is to deploy our first OpenShift Origin mono-server instance.

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