Bulk Virtual Machines Deployment and Zero Clicks Part 1

A recent project revisited deploying virtual machines via PowerCli. Its fair to say this isn’t a new tool but sometimes over looked.

Part 1 /  Part 2

My requirements were to deploy :

  • 100+ virtual machines (within a few hours)
  • domain join all machines
  • license the OS
  • various virtual machine specifications
  • various Windows OS versions.
  • to two different data centers within a linked vCenter setup
  • to resource pools
  • to different data stores
  • to different networks


The constraints:

  • vSphere 6.0 update 2
  • no budget for third party automation tools
  • small window of opportunity to deploy the VMs


On the plus side there was:

o    Loads of available CPU and RAM
o    Large datastores presented
o    Subnets prepared
o    Stretched VLANs across Data Centers


The tools I used to the task

  • Excel (CSV)
  • Notepad++
  • PowerCLi


The CSV file example

# Example Bulk_VMs_Deploy.csv

Template Datastore VMhost Custspec VMname IPaddress Subnet Gateway
2012_Template Storage1 ESXi.domain 2012_Spec test2003VL1
PDNS SDNS ResourcePool RAM CPU VLAN Size Format resource1 2 2 VM Network 10 thin


The Script

# Automate the deployment of customised virtual machines deployed in vSphere 6.0. Tested against u2
# Prereq’s
# 1) Populate the a CSV file called Bulk_VMs_Deploy.csv
# 2) Create a Windows Server template
# 3) Create a customization spec within vSphere for Windows
# 4) Run Bulk_VMs_Deploy.ps1 script via PowerCli as administrator (CSV file must be stored in the same location where the script is run from)
if ( !(Get-Module -Name VMware.VimAutomation.Core -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue) ) {

###### IMPORTANT, Check this file path is correct##########
. “C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\PowerCLI\Scripts\Initialize-PowerCLIEnvironment.ps1”
Connect-VIServer VC6.test.domain
#connect to a VC. This also works with Linked VC’s
$vmlist = Import-CSV .\Bulk_VMs_Deploy.csv
foreach ($item in $vmlist) {

#set variables to read from CSV
$template = $item.template
$datastore = $item.datastore
$vmhost = $item.vmhost
$custspec = $item.custspec
$vmname = $item.vmname
$ipaddr = $item.ipaddress
$subnet = $item.subnet
$gateway = $item.gateway
$pdns = $item.pdns
$sdns = $item.sdns
$resourcepool = $item.resourcepool
$cpu = $item.cpu
$ram = $item.ram
$vlan = $item.vlan
$size = $item.size
$format = $item.format

#Get the Specification and set the Nic Mapping
New-OSCustomizationNicMapping -Spec $custspec -IpMode UseStaticIp –Position 1 -IpAddress $ipaddr -SubnetMask $subnet -DefaultGateway $gateway -Dns $pdns,$sdns

#Create VM using Template with the adjusted Customization Specification
New-VM -Name $vmname -Template $template -Datastore $datastore -VMHost $vmhost -ResourcePool $resourcepool | Set-VM -OSCustomizationSpec $custspec -Confirm:$false

#Set the Network Name
Get-VM -Name $vmname | Get-NetworkAdapter | Set-NetworkAdapter -NetworkName $vlan -Confirm:$false

#Set the CPU and Memory
Get-VM -Name $vmname | Set-VM -MemoryGB $ram -NumCPU $cpu -Confirm:$false

#Additional Disk
#Get-VM -Name $vmname | New-HardDisk -CapacityGB $size -StorageFormat $format -Confirm:$false

#Remove the NicMapping
Get-OSCustomizationSpec $custspec | Get-OSCustomizationNicMapping | Remove-OSCustomizationNicMapping -Confirm:$false

#PowerOn VM
Start-VM $vmname

#Disconnect from VC.
disconnect-VIServer VC6.test.domain -Confirm:$false



Disclaimer Please take the code and evolve it into a different project? Credit / Tag me on your project Twitter #StephenHackers

Any use of this code is at your own risk. Remember bulk automation jobs require the right resources to be available.

This project & code was based on :
Which progressed to : https://communities.vmware.com/thread/436734

Part 1 /  Part 2