Deploy VMware VMs with PowerCLI and MDT

If you are managing Windows servers, chances are you have a mix of physical and virtual servers in your data center. While VMware provides a method to create VMs from templates to simplify server deployments, this method obviously does not work for deploying physical servers. Fortunately, you can use MDT to deploy a physical or virtual server, which provides one solution for configuring on-premises server deployment tasks.

For new servers to use MDT, they need to boot to Windows PE using the preboot execution environment (PXE). We most commonly do this with Windows Deployment Services (WDS) or by booting directly to CD/ISO Lite Touch media, which circumvents WDS. For deploying new VMs, I prefer to attach the Lite Touch ISO file to a VM. Using this method, I do not have to depend on PXE. In addition, I can automate creating a new VMware virtual machine by just running a PowerCLI cmdlet.

With my PowerCLI function New-MDTVM, you can easily deploy VMware virtual machines (VMs) with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT).

Configuring MDT 

One of the exceptional features of MDT is that you can automate the wizard to the point where there is no need for user interaction. This is ideal for server deployments because depending on the size of your environment, automation is essential for reducing overhead. You can easily deploy multiple VMs simultaneously. I will not elaborate on this process as there are many tutorials online, but I highly recommend you take this approach.

Copy the Lite Touch ISO to a data store with PowerCLI

After setting up and configuring MDT to automate the deployment wizard, the next step is to copy over the Lite Touch ISO to a data store in your vSphere environment.

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