Sysprep & Hyper-V

You can automate the deployment of Hyper-V host servers using Sysprep.  W2008 would disable the autostart of the hypervisor in any machine deployed from a sysprepped template.  Ben Armstrong has confirmed that this is different with Windows Server 2008 R2; the hypervisor will automatically start.

You could use soemthing like WDS to deploy a new host.  I’d prefer MDT or ConfigMgr OSD because they use task sequences.  That will allow you to automate a bunch of operations using command line, batch scripts, or PowerShell scripts.

I did actually use WDS to build my original W2008 cluster back in 2008.  I didn’t have ConfigMgr and I wasn’t comfortable yet with MDT.  I prepped the initial build, figured out the kinks, and modified the images.  I repeated for the pilot.  The production deployment was completed in 1 hour (bare metal to functioning Hyper-V cluster) from a meeting room in a hotel room via VPN and HP ILO.

Heck, if you use one of the tasq sequence deployment solutions for normal server deployment then you only need to create a new task sequence to run against an existing Windows image (most probably Datacenter edition) and use the Server Manager powershell modules to enable the Failover Clustering feature and the Hyper-V role, reboot, install DPM/OpsMgr agents, etc.

So, if you deploy Hyper-V hosts freqeuently or you are planning a huge farm deployment, take a look at Sysprep, WDS, MDT and ConfigMgr OSD to automate the process.  A little work up front can save you a lot of time later on and give you a consistent result.

Notes for sysprepping a configured Hyper-V host:

  • External networks in the image will be converted into internal networks.
  • Passthrough disks will need to be reconfigured in the Hyper-V Manager.
  • The Dynamic MAC address pool on the host will be recreated so that it is unique.

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