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How to Create a Virtual Machine Template

Updated: February 28, 2014

Applies To: System Center 2012 - Virtual Machine Manager, System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager, System Center 2012 SP1 - Virtual Machine Manager

You can use the following procedure to create a virtual machine template in Virtual Machine Manager (VMM). Virtual machine templates help you create new virtual machines and configure tiers in a service template. For more information about service templates, see Creating Service Templates in VMM.

You can create a virtual machine template based on an existing virtual machine template or based on an existing virtual hard disk that is stored in a library. Alternatively, you can create a virtual machine template based on an existing virtual machine that is deployed on a host. This option requires that the existing machine has been stopped.

If you base your new virtual machine template on an existing virtual machine template or on a virtual hard disk that is stored in the library, you can configure hardware settings, guest operating system settings, application installations, and the installation of instances of Microsoft SQL Server. You can configure each of these settings manually, or you can import the settings from an existing profile. For more information about creating profiles, see Creating Profiles and Templates in VMM.

If you create a virtual machine template that is based on the Linux operating system, some of the Linux-specific settings, such as operating system specialization, work only if you deploy the Linux-based virtual machine on a Hyper-V host. Also, the option to create a virtual machine template that is based on an existing virtual machine that is deployed on a host is not applicable for Linux-based virtual machine templates. For more information about creating Linux-based virtual machines, see Requirements for Linux-Based Virtual Machines.

Before you create a virtual machine template, note the following:

  • When you create a virtual machine template, you can customize IP address settings. Static IP address settings are available only when you deploy a virtual machine from a virtual machine template.

  • Application deployment, SQL Server deployment, and configurable service settings apply only when you deploy the virtual machine as part of a service.

  • If you grant rights for a particular template to a user that does not have rights to the Run As account that is specified in the template, then the user can potentially extract the credentials for the Run As account from the template during deployment.

  • Make sure the template has the correct operating system specified.

  • Before creating a template based on a virtual machine, you must create a new local administrator account on that virtual machine. Using the default built-in administrator account will cause Sysprep to fail.

  • Before creating a template based on a virtual machine, make sure that the virtual machine is not joined to a domain. Otherwise, Sysprep will fail. For more information, see SCVMM create virtual machine error 66.

  • When creating a template for a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 system, the Sysprep.exe and Setupcl.exe files must be copied to the appropriate directory under C:\Program Files\Microsoft System Center 2012\Virtual Machine Manager\Sysprep on the VMM server. For more information, see Creating a System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager template for a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 system fails with error 678.

noteNote
For Sysprep best practices, see Sysprep, SkipRearm, and Image Build Best Practices.

To create a virtual machine template that is based on an existing virtual hard disk or virtual machine template

  1. Open the Library workspace.

  2. On the Home tab, in the Create group, click Create VM Template.

    The Create VM Template Wizard opens.

  3. On the Select Source page, click Use an existing VM template or a virtual hard disk stored in the library, and then click Browse.

  4. In the Select VM Template Source dialog box, click the appropriate virtual hard disk or virtual machine template, click OK, and then click Next.

  5. Specify identity options as follows, and then click Next:

    • With VMM in System Center 2012 SP1 or System Center 2012, on the VM Template Identity page, provide a name and optional description for the virtual machine template.

    • With VMM in System Center 2012 R2, on the Identity page, enter the virtual machine name and an optional description.

      If the VM template source that you selected on the previous page was a virtual hard disk in VHDX format, the Generation box also appears. In the Generation box, select Generation 1 or Generation 2. (For more information, see Understanding Generation 1 and Generation 2 Virtual Machines in VMM.)

  6. On the Configure Hardware page, configure the hardware settings. If you have an existing hardware profile that you want to use, in the Hardware profile list, click the desired hardware profile. After you have configured the hardware settings, click Next.

    When you configure hardware settings, consider the following:

    • If you intend to deploy the virtual machine to a private cloud, under Capability, you must select a cloud capability profile that is supported by the private cloud.

    • With VMM in System Center 2012 R2, if you selected Generation 1 or Generation 2 in the previous step, the hardware profiles and hardware options that are available are those of the generation that you selected. For more information, see Understanding Generation 1 and Generation 2 Virtual Machines in VMM.

    • If you configure a network adapter to use static IP addresses, you must also set the media access control (MAC) address to static.

    • In System Center 2012 (without Service Pack 1), it is a known issue that the Enable spoofing of MAC addresses check box does not actually change the setting. You must enable spoofing of MAC addresses if you want to deploy a service to a Windows Server 2008 R2–based Hyper-V host (regardless of the version of VMM) with Network Load Balancing (NLB) enabled. To enable MAC spoofing, you must first create the template and then use the Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) command shell to configure the setting either in the template or in the hardware profile that you use for the template. For more information, see the Windows PowerShell commands in How to Configure NLB for a Service Tier.

    • As of System Center 2012 SP1, if the virtual machine will be on a host cluster, you can use VMM to configure virtual machine priority for the virtual machine. For more information, see How to Configure Priority in VMM for a Virtual Machine on a Host Cluster.

    • As of System Center 2012 R2, you can use VMM to create virtual machines that will work together as a guest cluster. For more information, see How to Create a Guest Cluster by Using a Service Template in VMM.

  7. On the Configure Operating System page, open the Guest OS profile list and either select a guest operating system profile, or select the type of operating system for which you want to create customized settings—Windows, Linux, or none. Your selection from the list determines the settings that are displayed on the wizard page. Your selection also determines whether additional wizard pages are displayed.

    Configure the guest operating system settings, and then click Next.

    When you configure operating system settings, consider the following:

    • Under Identity Information:

      • For the Computer name, you can provide a pattern to generate computer names. For example, if you enter server####, the computer names that are created are server0001, server0002, and so on. The use of a pattern ensures that when you add additional virtual machines to a service, the computer names that are generated are related and identifiable. If you use this method to specify the computer name, you cannot use it in combination with a name prompt parameter (@<name>@). You can use one method or the other, but not both.

      • DNS domain name is a Linux-specific option. Enter the domain name portion of the fully qualified domain name (FQDN).

    • The Roles and Features settings apply only for Windows, and only if you use the virtual machine template in a service template. Also, the virtual machine must use a guest operating system that supports these settings, as listed in the following table:

       

      Product version of VMM Guest operating systems that support settings for roles or features

      System Center 2012

      Windows Server 2008 R2

      System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1)

      Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012

      System Center 2012 R2

      Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2012 R2

    • The RunOnce commands apply only to Linux-based virtual machine templates. These commands run in the specified order during deployment after the operating system has been configured. If shell conventions, such as pipes, are used, we recommend wrapping each command with an explicit invocation of the shell, for example, /bin/sh –c “<your command>” . In this example, double quotes in the command must be escaped.

    • Under Root Credentials, Public SSH key is a Linux-specific option. This option sets the content of a specified public Secure Shell (SSH) key as an authorized key for authentication of the root user. Enter the name of a public key file that is stored in the VMM library and has the extension .sshkey.

    • To use the virtual machine template in a service template, under Networking, configure the settings as follows:

      noteNote
      Active Directory domain settings do not apply to Linux-based templates.

      • With VMM in System Center 2012: You must configure Active Directory domain settings. Use the FQDN. For example, enter contoso.com as the domain name. The domain must have a two-way trust relationship with the domain of the VMM management server.

        To use the virtual machine template in a service template, under Admin Password, do not select the No local administrator credential required option. You can either specify the password of the local administrator account, or select a Run As account option.

      • With VMM as of System Center 2012 SP1: You can specify Active Directory domain settings by using the FQDN or by using at signs (@) before and after, for example, by entering @Domain@. By using the at signs (@) in this way, the necessary information can be entered when the virtual machine is deployed as part of a service. A trust relationship is not necessary between the domain where the service is deployed and the domain of the VMM management server.

        You can use the virtual machine template in a service template regardless of which option you select under Admin Password.

  8. If the Configure Applications page appears, as needed, configure the applications to install. If you have an existing application profile with settings that you want to use, select that application profile from the Application profile list. After you have configured the application settings, click Next.

    noteNote
    Application deployment settings do not apply if you use the template for stand-alone virtual machines that are not part of a service.

  9. If the Configure SQL Server page appears, as needed, configure the installation of an instance of SQL Server. If you have an existing SQL Server profile that you want to use, in the SQL Server profile list, click the SQL Server profile. After you have configured the SQL Server settings, click Next.

    noteNote
    SQL Server settings do not apply if you use the template for stand-alone virtual machines that are not part of a service.

  10. On the Summary page, confirm the settings, and then click Create.

To create a virtual machine template from an existing virtual machine that is deployed on a host

  1. Open the Library workspace.

  2. On the Home tab, in the Create group, click Create VM Template.

    The Create VM Template Wizard opens.

  3. On the Select Source page, click From an existing virtual machine that is deployed on a host, and then click Browse.

  4. In the Select VM Template Source dialog box, click the desired virtual machine, click OK, and then click Next.

  5. On the VM Template Identity page, provide a name for the virtual machine template, and then click Next.

    WarningWarning
    A warning message advises you that creating a template will destroy the source virtual machine, and that any user data on the source virtual machine may be lost. To continue, click Yes.

  6. On the Configure Hardware page, click Next.

  7. On the Configure Operating System page, configure the guest operating system settings. If you have an existing guest operating system profile that you want to use, in the Guest OS profile list, click the desired guest operating system profile. After you have configured the guest operating system settings, click Next.

  8. On the Select Library Server page, click the library server for the virtual machine, and then click Next.

  9. On the Select Path page, click Browse, click a library share and optional folder path, click OK, and then click Next.

  10. On the Summary page, confirm the settings, and then click Create.

See Also

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For additional resources, see Information and Support for System Center 2012.

Tip: Use this query to find online documentation in the TechNet Library for System Center 2012. For instructions and examples, see Search the System Center 2012 Documentation Library.
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