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I am new to vmware and templates. From what I understand templates are meant to eliminate some repetitive tasks when creating virtual machines.

I am currently setting up a virtual machine on win2008 R2, and configuring it to be a base template using the following link as a guide. http://jeremywaldrop.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/how-to-build-a-windows-2008-vmware-esx-vm-template/

Ok great, I can eliminate some of the OS setup tasks when creating a virtual machine using my base template.

My question however is, what else are other users here putting in their templates?

Should I setup external applications in my templates such as SQL Server 2005, notepad++, wireshark? Or are templates only meant to be used for OS type settings like in the above guide?

Thanks.

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There's 2 main components to templates, if you're running vSphere (ESX and vCenter). The template Vms themselves, and Guest Customization. If you configure guest customization (just by coping sysprep for each OS onto the vcenter), all the windows deployment steps (naming, network, license, time zone, owner info) is taken care of for you.

So once that's running, all you have to do with the templates is provide a base OS configuration, patched, with a temporary network name. If you have 'standard build' apps that you must layer on your builds (e.g. monitoring agents, wallpaper) then you can do this to the template VM before marking it as a template.

Beyond that, I don't think there's too much more to it, everything else you could add on is at your discretion. I find that keeping a relatively small number of templates/guest customizations, usually one per OS, is sufficient and saves a chunk of deployment time.

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A key point about using just templates without guest customization - Cloning from a template won't handle Windows SID duplication and you'd need to take care of that yourself somehow. –  Chris Thorpe Jan 28 '11 at 0:17

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