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In this post, I wanted to provide a quick introduction to the powerful new graphical interface for Image Builder, which is part of the new Auto Deploy GUI.  There are many great enhancements in VMware vSphere 6.5, and for an excellent overview please be sure to look at the What’s New whitepaper.

Because the Image Builder and Auto Deploy features are tightly coupled, the UI is only visible when both of those services are running. So, if you’re wondering how to enable the GUI, take a look at Administration > System Configuration > Services in the vSphere Web Client. Start both of those services, and also set them to start automatically if desired. Then log out and back in to the Web Client to verify the Auto Deploy object is visible.

 

ad-ib-gui-enable

 

Alternatively, these services can be enabled via command line. Simply SSH into the VCSA and run the following commands:

Regardless of whether Auto Deploy is in use in your environment, the Image Builder GUI is a convenient alternative to the PowerCLI cmdlets previously required for creating custom VMware ESXi images. Administrators can upload zip depots of images and drivers as well as create online depots that connect to VMware or OEM partner image repositories.

software-depots-highlights

The full URL of the VMware public depot is:  https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml

In addition to being available to Auto Deploy for deploy rule creation, the UI also allows administrators to customize, compare, or export images to ISO or zip format for a variety of uses. The vSphere 6.5 product documentation describes the functionality in more detail.

Even though the PowerCLI Image Builder is still available, we hope this new Image Builder GUI helps those customers that prefer a more guided approach for these tasks. Let us know in the comments what you think about this new feature!

About the Author

Eric Gray

Eric Gray is a Principal Architect in Cloud Platform Technical Marketing, currently focused on vSphere host lifecycle management. He has been with VMware since 2005, and was a noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Army before migrating to Silicon Valley in 1996. Find him on Twitter: @eric_gray.