Today, we're continuing with season one, and this is S1E4. In this episode, we'll be creating a template. Although the goal for season one is to build everything manually, we want to avoid repetitive tasks. A template will help us create a baseline image for our setup.

We'll upload the ISOs we need, including Windows Server 2016, SQL 2019, and Windows 11. We'll use these ISOs to build our template. We'll deploy a VM, attach the ISOs, and go through the Windows Server 2016 installation. We'll install all necessary software components, such as Notepad++, on this VM.

Once the setup is complete, we'll convert it into a template. This will streamline future VM deployments, allowing us to push out new VMs quickly—potentially in less than two minutes. We'll only need to make minor adjustments, like adding more hard drive space or CPU power, as needed during deployment.

I have the ISOs for Windows Server 2016, SQL Server 2016, and Windows 11. These are the operating system versions we need to build our template. While this list will grow over time, these are the essentials to get us started.

Windows ISO

Open vSphere and create a new folder named "dev2" for our development environment. We'll also create a separate folder for templates. This helps organize our environment and streamline future deployments. All templates we create today will go in the template folder.

Now, let's go to the storage location. We'll create a folder called "ISO." Within this ISO folder, we'll further organize it into subfolders like "Linux," "Others," and "Windows." This is where we'll upload our ISOs.

Storage vSphere

 To upload, click on the ISO folder, then the Windows subfolder, and select "Upload File." Choose the ISOs we need, like Windows Server 2016, SQL Server 2016, and Windows 11.

The upload process may take some time due to the large file sizes. If you encounter an upload error, refresh the browser and try again.


Once uploaded, you'll see all the ISOs in the Windows folder, ready to be used for creating VMs and templates.

Now that our ISOs are uploaded, we're ready to start setting up our template. Refresh the folder view to ensure all ISOs are visible. With these in place, we can proceed to create a VM and convert it into a template. Let's get started!

Select the dev2 folder and then select the option to create a new VM. Name the VM "Server 2016" as we will be using the Windows Server 2016 ISO for this build. 

Follow the "New Virtual Machine" setup process by selecting the host server, designating the storage location, disabling Windows virtualization-based security, allocating resources (starting with 4 CPUs and adjustable memory), adding two storage disks (150GB for the OS and 250GB for other components), and selecting the appropriate network settings. Attach the Windows Server 2016 ISO to the VM. Configure the VM to boot from the ISO upon power-on.

Power on the VM and follow the on-screen instructions to install Windows Server 2016, selecting the version with the Desktop Experience, accepting the license terms, proceeding with a custom installation, and choosing the 150GB disk for the OS installation. 

Set a strong password for the administrator account, disable the Windows Firewall for a lab environment, enable remote management and remote desktop, turn off Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration for easier software downloads, and perform Windows updates to ensure the latest patches are installed.

Install all the essential software you need on the server. In my case, I will be installing the following software:

  • Google Chrome: Download and install Chrome for easier web browsing and downloads.
  • Notepad++: Download and install Notepad++ for advanced text editing.
  • WinSCP: Download and install WinSCP for file transfer and management.
  • PuTTY: Download and install PuTTY for SSH and telnet clients.
  • Visual Studio Code: Download and install VS Code for coding and scripting needs.
  • Angry IP Scanner: Download and install Angry IP Scanner for network management and scanning.
  • WinMerge: Download and install WinMerge for file comparison

Verify that the server settings are configured as required after installing all the necessary software, then shut down the server. Go back to vSphere, right-click on the VM, select "Clone," and then "Clone to Template" to start the template creation process. After the template is created, you can use it to create new VMs. Watch the video if you want to see the entire process.

That wraps up this episode. Be sure to check out the other episodes in this season if you haven't already, and as always, don't forget to stay geeking!

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About the author

Paul Koroma

Hey there, I'm Paul—a relentless seeker of knowledge and an IT enthusiast on a quest for personal growth. Soccer and IT have always ignited a fire within me, igniting my drive to create Koroma Tech. It's not just my own journey; it's an opportunity to uplift others as I forge my path in this ever-evolving field. Challenges excite me—they're the fuel for my growth. Every day presents a new hurdle, but it's a challenge I've learned to embrace wholeheartedly.