This content is part of the Essential Guide: Managing storage for virtual environments: A complete guide

How can VM images ease virtual server provisioning?

By creating multiple VM images, a storage administrator can save time managing and deploying an organization's virtual environment.

To make provisioning in a virtual server environment easier, you should create virtual machine (VM) images for each type of virtual machine so you can deploy the VMs in a consistent way. For example, if all your IIS servers are deployed from a single image, you can ensure each server uses the same system files and security settings. When building VM images, it's a good idea to apply all of the currently available patches to the images. That way, virtual machines built from an image won't have to start from square one with regard to patch management.

Profiles can help you automate image-based operating system (OS) and application deployments. System Center Virtual Machine Manager, for instance, supports guest OS profiles and application profiles. Profiles contain installation instructions for whatever is installed from an image. A guest OS profile might include a product key and instructions for assigning a computer name to any VMs provisioned from the attached image.

I also recommend that storage administrators set up a dedicated volume to store ISO files. Remember, in a virtual server environment you won't be deploying the same server configuration in every situation. You may be asked to deploy VMs running a variety of server operating systems and an even wider variety of server applications.

Looking for an installation DVD each time you have to build new VM images is a time-consuming process. Building and maintaining an ISO library can help admins become better organized and minimize the work involved in the deployment process.

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Golden image explanation and creation

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