vSphere Auto Deploy can provision hundreds of physical hosts with ESXi software. You can specify the image to deploy and the hosts to provision with the image. Optionally, you can specify host profiles to apply to the hosts, and a vCenter Server folder or cluster for each host.

When a physical host set up for Auto Deploy is turned on, Auto Deploy uses a PXE boot infrastructure in conjunction with vSphere host profiles to provision and customize that host. No state is stored on the host itself. Instead, the Auto Deploy server manages state information for each host

Auto Deploy stores the information for the ESXi hosts to be provisioned in different locations. Information about the location of image profiles and host profiles is initially specified in the rules that map machines to image profiles and host profiles. When a host boots for the first time, the vCenter Server system creates a corresponding host object and stores the information in the database.

Here is an overview of installing and configuring vSphere Auto Deploy: (VMware KB)
  1. Prepare for vSphere Auto Deploy, which includes:
    1. Ensuring that you meet all prerequisites. For more information, see Prepare Your System and Install the Auto Deploy Server in the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.
    2. Installing the vSphere Auto Deploy server as part of a vCenter Server installation or standalone on a Windows system, or deploying the vCenter Server Appliance to an ESXi system of your choice. For more information, seePrepare Your System and Install the Auto Deploy Server in the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.
    3. Installing PowerCLI and other required software. For more information, see Install PowerCLI and Prerequisite Software in the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.
    4. Getting familiar with Auto Deploy cmdlets. For more information, Using Auto Deploy Cmdlets in the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.
    5. Setting up bulk licensing. For more information, see Set up Bulk Licensing in the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.
  2. Manage AutoDeploy with PowerCLI Cmdlets, which includes:
  3. Provision ESXi Systems with vSphere Auto Deploy, which includes:
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