»Packer Builder for VMware vSphere

Type: vsphere-iso

This builder uses the vSphere API, and creates virtual machines remotely. It starts from an ISO file and creates new VMs from scratch.

  • VMware Player is not required.
  • It uses the official vCenter API, and does not require ESXi host modification
  • This builder is supported for vSphere version 6.5 and greater. Builds on lower versions may work, but some configuration options may throw errors because they do not exist in the older versions of the vSphere API.

»Examples

See complete Ubuntu, Windows, and macOS templates in the examples folder.

»Configuration Reference

There are many configuration options available for this builder. In addition to the items listed here, you will want to look at the general configuration references for HTTP, Floppy, Boot, Hardware, Output, Run, Shutdown, Communicator, Export, configuration references, which are necessary for this build to succeed and can be found further down the page.

»Boot Configuration

The boot configuration is very important: boot_command specifies the keys to type when the virtual machine is first booted in order to start the OS installer. This command is typed after boot_wait, which gives the virtual machine some time to actually load.

The boot_command is an array of strings. The strings are all typed in sequence. It is an array only to improve readability within the template.

There are a set of special keys available. If these are in your boot command, they will be replaced by the proper key:

  • <bs> - Backspace

  • <del> - Delete

  • <enter> <return> - Simulates an actual "enter" or "return" keypress.

  • <esc> - Simulates pressing the escape key.

  • <tab> - Simulates pressing the tab key.

  • <f1> - <f12> - Simulates pressing a function key.

  • <up> <down> <left> <right> - Simulates pressing an arrow key.

  • <spacebar> - Simulates pressing the spacebar.

  • <insert> - Simulates pressing the insert key.

  • <home> <end> - Simulates pressing the home and end keys.

  • <pageUp> <pageDown> - Simulates pressing the page up and page down keys.

  • <menu> - Simulates pressing the Menu key.

  • <leftAlt> <rightAlt> - Simulates pressing the alt key.

  • <leftCtrl> <rightCtrl> - Simulates pressing the ctrl key.

  • <leftShift> <rightShift> - Simulates pressing the shift key.

  • <leftSuper> <rightSuper> - Simulates pressing the ⌘ or Windows key.

  • <wait> <wait5> <wait10> - Adds a 1, 5 or 10 second pause before sending any additional keys. This is useful if you have to generally wait for the UI to update before typing more.

  • <waitXX> - Add an arbitrary pause before sending any additional keys. The format of XX is a sequence of positive decimal numbers, each with optional fraction and a unit suffix, such as 300ms, 1.5h or 2h45m. Valid time units are ns, us (or µs), ms, s, m, h. For example <wait10m> or <wait1m20s>.

  • <XXXOn> <XXXOff> - Any printable keyboard character, and of these "special" expressions, with the exception of the <wait> types, can also be toggled on or off. For example, to simulate ctrl+c, use <leftCtrlOn>c<leftCtrlOff>. Be sure to release them, otherwise they will be held down until the machine reboots. To hold the c key down, you would use <cOn>. Likewise, <cOff> to release.

  • {{ .HTTPIP }} {{ .HTTPPort }} - The IP and port, respectively of an HTTP server that is started serving the directory specified by the http_directory configuration parameter. If http_directory isn't specified, these will be blank!

  • {{ .Name }} - The name of the VM.

Example boot command. This is actually a working boot command used to start an CentOS 6.4 installer:

In JSON:

"boot_command": [
    "<tab><wait>",
    " ks=http://{{ .HTTPIP }}:{{ .HTTPPort }}/centos6-ks.cfg<enter>"
 ]

In HCL2:

boot_command = [
    "<tab><wait>",
    " ks=http://{{ .HTTPIP }}:{{ .HTTPPort }}/centos6-ks.cfg<enter>"
 ]

The example shown below is a working boot command used to start an Ubuntu 12.04 installer:

In JSON:

"boot_command": [
  "<esc><esc><enter><wait>",
  "/install/vmlinuz noapic ",
  "preseed/url=http://{{ .HTTPIP }}:{{ .HTTPPort }}/preseed.cfg ",
  "debian-installer=en_US auto locale=en_US kbd-chooser/method=us ",
  "hostname={{ .Name }} ",
  "fb=false debconf/frontend=noninteractive ",
  "keyboard-configuration/modelcode=SKIP keyboard-configuration/layout=USA ",
  "keyboard-configuration/variant=USA console-setup/ask_detect=false ",
  "initrd=/install/initrd.gz -- <enter>"
]

In HCL2:

boot_command = [
  "<esc><esc><enter><wait>",
  "/install/vmlinuz noapic ",
  "preseed/url=http://{{ .HTTPIP }}:{{ .HTTPPort }}/preseed.cfg ",
  "debian-installer=en_US auto locale=en_US kbd-chooser/method=us ",
  "hostname={{ .Name }} ",
  "fb=false debconf/frontend=noninteractive ",
  "keyboard-configuration/modelcode=SKIP keyboard-configuration/layout=USA ",
  "keyboard-configuration/variant=USA console-setup/ask_detect=false ",
  "initrd=/install/initrd.gz -- <enter>"
]

For more examples of various boot commands, see the sample projects from our community templates page.

We send each character to the VM with a default delay of 100ms between groups. The delay alleviates possible issues with latency and CPU contention. If you notice missing keys, you can tune this delay by specifying "boot_keygroup_interval" in your Packer template, for example:

{
  "builders": [
    {
      "type": "vsphere-iso",
      "boot_keygroup_interval": "500ms"
      ...
    }
  ]
}

»Optional:

  • boot_keygroup_interval (duration string | ex: "1h5m2s") - Time to wait after sending a group of key pressses. The value of this should be a duration. Examples are 5s and 1m30s which will cause Packer to wait five seconds and one minute 30 seconds, respectively. If this isn't specified, a sensible default value is picked depending on the builder type.

  • boot_wait (duration string | ex: "1h5m2s") - The time to wait after booting the initial virtual machine before typing the boot_command. The value of this should be a duration. Examples are 5s and 1m30s which will cause Packer to wait five seconds and one minute 30 seconds, respectively. If this isn't specified, the default is 10s or 10 seconds. To set boot_wait to 0s, use a negative number, such as "-1s"

  • boot_command ([]string) - This is an array of commands to type when the virtual machine is first booted. The goal of these commands should be to type just enough to initialize the operating system installer. Special keys can be typed as well, and are covered in the section below on the boot command. If this is not specified, it is assumed the installer will start itself.

  • http_ip (string) - The IP address to use for the HTTP server started to serve the http_directory. If unset, Packer will automatically discover and assign an IP.

»Http directory configuration

Packer will create an http server serving http_directory when it is set, a random free port will be selected and the architecture of the directory referenced will be available in your builder.

Example usage from a builder:

wget http://{{ .HTTPIP }}:{{ .HTTPPort }}/foo/bar/preseed.cfg

»Optional:

  • http_directory (string) - Path to a directory to serve using an HTTP server. The files in this directory will be available over HTTP that will be requestable from the virtual machine. This is useful for hosting kickstart files and so on. By default this is an empty string, which means no HTTP server will be started. The address and port of the HTTP server will be available as variables in boot_command. This is covered in more detail below.

  • http_port_min (int) - These are the minimum and maximum port to use for the HTTP server started to serve the http_directory. Because Packer often runs in parallel, Packer will choose a randomly available port in this range to run the HTTP server. If you want to force the HTTP server to be on one port, make this minimum and maximum port the same. By default the values are 8000 and 9000, respectively.

  • http_port_max (int) - HTTP Port Max

  • http_bind_address (string) - This is the bind address for the HTTP server. Defaults to 0.0.0.0 so that it will work with any network interface.

»Floppy configuration

  • floppy_img_path (string) - Datastore path to a floppy image that will be mounted to the VM. Example: [datastore1] ISO/pvscsi-Windows8.flp.

  • floppy_files ([]string) - List of local files to be mounted to the VM floppy drive. Can be used to make Debian preseed or RHEL kickstart files available to the VM.

  • floppy_dirs ([]string) - List of directories to copy files from.

  • floppy_label (string) - The label to use for the floppy disk that is attached when the VM is booted. This is most useful for cloud-init, Kickstart or other early initialization tools, which can benefit from labelled floppy disks. By default, the floppy label will be 'packer'.

»Connection Configuration

  • vcenter_server (string) - vCenter server hostname.

  • username (string) - vSphere username.

  • password (string) - vSphere password.

  • insecure_connection (bool) - Do not validate vCenter server's TLS certificate. Defaults to false.

  • datacenter (string) - VMware datacenter name. Required if there is more than one datacenter in vCenter.

»Hardware Configuration

  • CPUs (int32) - Number of CPU cores.

  • cpu_cores (int32) - Number of CPU cores per socket.

  • CPU_reservation (int64) - Amount of reserved CPU resources in MHz.

  • CPU_limit (int64) - Upper limit of available CPU resources in MHz.

  • CPU_hot_plug (bool) - Enable CPU hot plug setting for virtual machine. Defaults to false.

  • RAM (int64) - Amount of RAM in MB.

  • RAM_reservation (int64) - Amount of reserved RAM in MB.

  • RAM_reserve_all (bool) - Reserve all available RAM. Defaults to false. Cannot be used together with RAM_reservation.

  • RAM_hot_plug (bool) - Enable RAM hot plug setting for virtual machine. Defaults to false.

  • video_ram (int64) - Amount of video memory in KB.

  • vgpu_profile (string) - vGPU profile for accelerated graphics. See NVIDIA GRID vGPU documentation for examples of profile names. Defaults to none.

  • NestedHV (bool) - Enable nested hardware virtualization for VM. Defaults to false.

  • firmware (string) - Set the Firmware for virtual machine. Supported values: bios, efi or efi-secure. Defaults to bios.

  • force_bios_setup (bool) - During the boot, force entry into the BIOS setup screen. Defaults to false.

»Location Configuration

  • vm_name (string) - Name of the new VM to create.

  • folder (string) - VM folder to create the VM in.

  • cluster (string) - ESXi cluster where target VM is created. See Working with Clusters.

  • host (string) - ESXi host where target VM is created. A full path must be specified if the host is in a folder. For example folder/host. See the Specifying Clusters and Hosts section above for more details.

  • resource_pool (string) - VMWare resource pool. If not set, it will look for the root resource pool of the host or cluster. If a root resource is not found, it will then look for a default resource pool.

  • datastore (string) - VMWare datastore. Required if host is a cluster, or if host has multiple datastores.

  • set_host_for_datastore_uploads (bool) - Set this to true if packer should the host for uploading files to the datastore. Defaults to false.

»Run Configuration

  • boot_order (string) - Priority of boot devices. Defaults to disk,cdrom

»Shutdown Configuration

  • shutdown_command (string) - Specify a VM guest shutdown command. VMware guest tools are used by default.

  • shutdown_timeout (duration string | ex: "1h5m2s") - Amount of time to wait for graceful VM shutdown. Defaults to 5m or five minutes.

  • disable_shutdown (bool) - Packer normally halts the virtual machine after all provisioners have run when no shutdown_command is defined. If this is set to true, Packer will not halt the virtual machine but will assume that you will send the stop signal yourself through the preseed.cfg or your final provisioner. Packer will wait for a default of five minutes until the virtual machine is shutdown. The timeout can be changed using shutdown_timeout option.

»Wait Configuration

  • ip_wait_timeout (duration string | ex: "1h5m2s") - Amount of time to wait for VM's IP, similar to 'ssh_timeout'. Defaults to 30m (30 minutes). See the Golang ParseDuration documentation for full details.

  • ip_settle_timeout (duration string | ex: "1h5m2s") - Amount of time to wait for VM's IP to settle down, sometimes VM may report incorrect IP initially, then its recommended to set that parameter to apx. 2 minutes. Examples 45s and 10m. Defaults to 5s(5 seconds). See the Golang ParseDuration documentation for full details.

  • ip_wait_address (*string) - Set this to a CIDR address to cause the service to wait for an address that is contained in this network range. Defaults to "0.0.0.0/0" for any ipv4 address. Examples include:

    • empty string ("") - remove all filters
    • 0:0:0:0:0:0:0:0/0 - allow only ipv6 addresses
    • 192.168.1.0/24 - only allow ipv4 addresses from 192.168.1.1 to 192.168.1.254

»ISO Configuration

By default, Packer will symlink, download or copy image files to the Packer cache into a "hash($iso_url+$iso_checksum).$iso_target_extension" file. Packer uses hashicorp/go-getter in file mode in order to perform a download.

go-getter supports the following protocols:

  • Local files
  • Git
  • Mercurial
  • HTTP
  • Amazon S3

Examples: go-getter can guess the checksum type based on iso_checksum length, and it is also possible to specify the checksum type.

In JSON:

  "iso_checksum": "946a6077af6f5f95a51f82fdc44051c7aa19f9cfc5f737954845a6050543d7c2",
  "iso_url": "ubuntu.org/.../ubuntu-14.04.1-server-amd64.iso"
  "iso_checksum": "file:ubuntu.org/..../ubuntu-14.04.1-server-amd64.iso.sum",
  "iso_url": "ubuntu.org/.../ubuntu-14.04.1-server-amd64.iso"
  "iso_checksum": "file://./shasums.txt",
  "iso_url": "ubuntu.org/.../ubuntu-14.04.1-server-amd64.iso"
  "iso_checksum": "file:./shasums.txt",
  "iso_url": "ubuntu.org/.../ubuntu-14.04.1-server-amd64.iso"

In HCL2:

  iso_checksum = "946a6077af6f5f95a51f82fdc44051c7aa19f9cfc5f737954845a6050543d7c2"
  iso_url = "ubuntu.org/.../ubuntu-14.04.1-server-amd64.iso"
  iso_checksum = "file:ubuntu.org/..../ubuntu-14.04.1-server-amd64.iso.sum"
  iso_url = "ubuntu.org/.../ubuntu-14.04.1-server-amd64.iso"
  iso_checksum = "file://./shasums.txt"
  iso_url = "ubuntu.org/.../ubuntu-14.04.1-server-amd64.iso"
  iso_checksum = "file:./shasums.txt",
  iso_url = "ubuntu.org/.../ubuntu-14.04.1-server-amd64.iso"

»Required:

  • iso_checksum (string) - The checksum for the ISO file or virtual hard drive file. The type of the checksum is specified within the checksum field as a prefix, ex: "md5:{$checksum}". The type of the checksum can also be omitted and Packer will try to infer it based on string length. Valid values are "none", "{$checksum}", "md5:{$checksum}", "sha1:{$checksum}", "sha256:{$checksum}", "sha512:{$checksum}" or "file:{$path}". Here is a list of valid checksum values:

    • md5:090992ba9fd140077b0661cb75f7ce13
    • 090992ba9fd140077b0661cb75f7ce13
    • sha1:ebfb681885ddf1234c18094a45bbeafd91467911
    • ebfb681885ddf1234c18094a45bbeafd91467911
    • sha256:ed363350696a726b7932db864dda019bd2017365c9e299627830f06954643f93
    • ed363350696a726b7932db864dda019bd2017365c9e299627830f06954643f93
    • file:http://releases.ubuntu.com/20.04/MD5SUMS
    • file:file://./local/path/file.sum
    • file:./local/path/file.sum
    • none Although the checksum will not be verified when it is set to "none", this is not recommended since these files can be very large and corruption does happen from time to time.
  • iso_url (string) - A URL to the ISO containing the installation image or virtual hard drive (VHD or VHDX) file to clone.

»Optional:

  • iso_urls ([]string) - Multiple URLs for the ISO to download. Packer will try these in order. If anything goes wrong attempting to download or while downloading a single URL, it will move on to the next. All URLs must point to the same file (same checksum). By default this is empty and iso_url is used. Only one of iso_url or iso_urls can be specified.

  • iso_target_path (string) - The path where the iso should be saved after download. By default will go in the packer cache, with a hash of the original filename and checksum as its name.

  • iso_target_extension (string) - The extension of the iso file after download. This defaults to iso.

»CDRom Configuration

Each iso defined in the CDRom Configuration adds a new drive. If the "iso_url" is defined in addition to the "iso_paths", the "iso_url" is added to the VM first. This keeps the "iso_url" first in the boot order by default allowing the boot iso being defined by the iso_url and the vmware tools iso added from the datastore. Example:

"iso_urls": [
  "win10.iso",
  "http://example.org/isos/win10.iso"
],
"iso_paths": [
    "[] /usr/lib/vmware/isoimages/windows.iso"
],
  • cdrom_type (string) - Which controller to use. Example: sata. Defaults to ide.

  • iso_paths ([]string) - List of Datastore or Content Library paths to ISO files that will be mounted to the VM. Here's an HCL2 example:

    iso_paths = [
      "[datastore1] ISO/ubuntu.iso",
      "Packer Library Test/ubuntu-16.04.6-server-amd64/ubuntu-16.04.6-server-amd64.iso"
    ]
    
  • remove_cdrom (bool) - Remove CD-ROM devices from template. Defaults to false.

An iso (CD) containing custom files can be made available for your build.

By default, no extra CD will be attached. All files listed in this setting get placed into the root directory of the CD and the CD is attached as the second CD device.

This config exists to work around modern operating systems that have no way to mount floppy disks, which was our previous go-to for adding files at boot time.

»Optional:

  • cd_files ([]string) - A list of files to place onto a CD that is attached when the VM is booted. This can include either files or directories; any directories will be copied onto the CD recursively, preserving directory structure hierarchy. Symlinks will have the link's target copied into the directory tree on the CD where the symlink was. File globbing is allowed.

    Usage example (JSON):

    "cd_files": ["./somedirectory/meta-data", "./somedirectory/user-data"],
    "cd_label": "cidata",
    

    Usage example (HCL):

    cd_files = ["./somedirectory/meta-data", "./somedirectory/user-data"]
    cd_label = "cidata"
    

    The above will create a CD with two files, user-data and meta-data in the CD root. This specific example is how you would create a CD that can be used for an Ubuntu 20.04 autoinstall.

    Since globbing is also supported,

    cd_files = ["./somedirectory/*"]
    cd_label = "cidata"
    

    Would also be an acceptable way to define the above cd. The difference between providing the directory with or without the glob is whether the directory itself or its contents will be at the CD root.

    Use of this option assumes that you have a command line tool installed that can handle the iso creation. Packer will use one of the following tools:

    • xorriso
    • mkisofs
    • hdiutil (normally found in macOS)
    • oscdimg (normally found in Windows as part of the Windows ADK)
  • cd_label (string) - CD Label

»Create Configuration

»Network Adapter Configuration

Defines a Network Adapter

Example that creates two network adapters:

In JSON:

  "network_adapters": [
    {
      "network": "VM Network",
      "network_card": "vmxnet3"
    },
    {
      "network": "OtherNetwork",
      "network_card": "vmxnet3"
    }
  ],

In HCL2:

  network_adapters {
      network = "VM Network"
      network_card = "vmxnet3"
  }
  network_adapters {
      network = "OtherNetwork"
      network_card = "vmxnet3"
  }
  • network_card (string) - Set VM network card type. Example vmxnet3.

»Optional

  • network (string) - Set the network in which the VM will be connected to. If no network is specified, host must be specified to allow Packer to look for the available network. If the network is inside a network folder in vCenter, you need to provide the full path to the network.

  • mac_address (string) - Set network card MAC address

  • passthrough (*bool) - Enable DirectPath I/O passthrough

»Storage Configuration

Defines the disk storage for a VM.

Example that will create a 15GB and a 20GB disk on the VM. The second disk will be thin provisioned:

In JSON:

  "storage": [
    {
      "disk_size": 15000
    },
    {
      "disk_size": 20000,
      "disk_thin_provisioned": true
    }
  ],

In HCL2:

  storage {
      disk_size = 15000
  }
  storage {
      disk_size = 20000
      disk_thin_provisioned = true
  }

Example that creates 2 pvscsi controllers and adds 2 disks to each one:

In JSON:

  "disk_controller_type": ["pvscsi", "pvscsi"],
  "storage": [
    {
      "disk_size": 15000,
      "disk_controller_index": 0
    },
    {
      "disk_size": 15000,
      "disk_controller_index": 0
    },
    {
      "disk_size": 15000,
      "disk_controller_index": 1
    },
    {
      "disk_size": 15000,
      "disk_controller_index": 1
    }
  ],

In HCL2:

  disk_controller_type = ["pvscsi", "pvscsi"]
  storage {
     disk_size = 15000,
     disk_controller_index = 0
  }
  storage {
     disk_size = 15000
     disk_controller_index = 0
  }
  storage {
     disk_size = 15000
     disk_controller_index = 1
  }
  storage {
     disk_size = 15000
     disk_controller_index = 1
  }
  • disk_size (int64) - The size of the disk in MB.

»Optional

»Export Configuration

You may optionally export an ovf from VSphere to the instance running Packer.

Example usage:

In JSON:

...
  "vm_name": "example-ubuntu",
...
  "export": {
    "force": true,
    "output_directory": "./output_vsphere"
  },

In HCL2:

  # ...
  vm_name = "example-ubuntu"
  # ...
  export {
    force = true
    output_directory = "./output_vsphere"
  }

The above configuration would create the following files:

./output_vsphere/example-ubuntu-disk-0.vmdk
./output_vsphere/example-ubuntu.mf
./output_vsphere/example-ubuntu.ovf

»Optional:

  • name (string) - name of the ovf. defaults to the name of the VM

  • force (bool) - overwrite ovf if it exists

  • images (bool) - include iso and img image files that are attached to the VM

  • manifest (string) - generate manifest using sha1, sha256, sha512. Defaults to 'sha256'. Use 'none' for no manifest.

  • options ([]string) - Advanced ovf export options. Options can include:

    • mac - MAC address is exported for all ethernet devices
    • uuid - UUID is exported for all virtual machines
    • extraconfig - all extra configuration options are exported for a virtual machine
    • nodevicesubtypes - resource subtypes for CD/DVD drives, floppy drives, and serial and parallel ports are not exported

    For example, adding the following export config option would output the mac addresses for all Ethernet devices in the ovf file:

    In JSON:

    ...
      "export": {
        "options": ["mac"]
      },
    

    In HCL2:

    ...
      export {
        options = ["mac"]
      }
    

»Output Configuration:

  • output_directory (string) - This setting specifies the directory that artifacts from the build, such as the virtual machine files and disks, will be output to. The path to the directory may be relative or absolute. If relative, the path is relative to the working directory packer is executed from. This directory must not exist or, if created, must be empty prior to running the builder. By default this is "output-BUILDNAME" where "BUILDNAME" is the name of the build.

  • directory_permission (os.FileMode) - The permissions to apply to the "output_directory", and to any parent directories that get created for output_directory. By default this is "0750". You should express the permission as quoted string with a leading zero such as "0755" in JSON file, because JSON does not support octal value. In Unix-like OS, the actual permission may differ from this value because of umask.

»Content Library Import Configuration

With this configuration Packer creates a library item in a content library whose content is a VM template or an OVF template created from the just built VM. The template is stored in a existing or newly created library item.

  • library (string) - Name of the library in which the new library item containing the template should be created/updated. The Content Library should be of type Local to allow deploying virtual machines.

  • name (string) - Name of the library item that will be created or updated. For VM templates, the name of the item should be different from vm_name and the default is vm_name + timestamp when not set. VM templates will be always imported to a new library item. For OVF templates, the name defaults to vm_name when not set, and if an item with the same name already exists it will be then updated with the new OVF template, otherwise a new item will be created.

  • description (string) - Description of the library item that will be created. This option is not used when importing OVF templates. Defaults to "Packer imported vm_name VM template".

  • cluster (string) - Cluster onto which the virtual machine template should be placed. If cluster and resource_pool are both specified, resource_pool must belong to cluster. If cluster and host are both specified, host must be a member of cluster. This option is not used when importing OVF templates. Defaults to cluster.

  • folder (string) - Virtual machine folder into which the virtual machine template should be placed. This option is not used when importing OVF templates. Defaults to the same folder as the source virtual machine.

  • host (string) - Host onto which the virtual machine template should be placed. If host and resource_pool are both specified, resource_pool must belong to host. If host and cluster are both specified, host must be a member of cluster. This option is not used when importing OVF templates. Defaults to host.

  • resource_pool (string) - Resource pool into which the virtual machine template should be placed. Defaults to resource_pool. if resource_pool is also unset, the system will attempt to choose a suitable resource pool for the virtual machine template.

  • datastore (string) - The datastore for the virtual machine template's configuration and log files. This option is not used when importing OVF templates. Defaults to the storage backing associated with the library specified by library.

  • destroy (bool) - If set to true, the VM will be destroyed after deploying the template to the Content Library. Defaults to false.

  • ovf (bool) - When set to true, Packer will import and OVF template to the content library item. Defaults to false.

Minimal example of usage to import a VM template:

    "content_library_destination" : {
        "library": "Packer Library Test"
    }

Minimal example of usage to import a OVF template:

    "content_library_destination" : {
        "library": "Packer Library Test",
        "ovf": true
    }

»Extra Configuration Parameters

»Communicator configuration

»Optional common fields:

  • communicator (string) - Packer currently supports three kinds of communicators:

    • none - No communicator will be used. If this is set, most provisioners also can't be used.

    • ssh - An SSH connection will be established to the machine. This is usually the default.

    • winrm - A WinRM connection will be established.

    In addition to the above, some builders have custom communicators they can use. For example, the Docker builder has a "docker" communicator that uses docker exec and docker cp to execute scripts and copy files.

  • pause_before_connecting (duration string | ex: "1h5m2s") - We recommend that you enable SSH or WinRM as the very last step in your guest's bootstrap script, but sometimes you may have a race condition where you need Packer to wait before attempting to connect to your guest.

    If you end up in this situation, you can use the template option pause_before_connecting. By default, there is no pause. For example if you set pause_before_connecting to 10m Packer will check whether it can connect, as normal. But once a connection attempt is successful, it will disconnect and then wait 10 minutes before connecting to the guest and beginning provisioning.

»Optional SSH fields:

  • ssh_host (string) - The address to SSH to. This usually is automatically configured by the builder.

  • ssh_port (int) - The port to connect to SSH. This defaults to 22.

  • ssh_username (string) - The username to connect to SSH with. Required if using SSH.

  • ssh_password (string) - A plaintext password to use to authenticate with SSH.

  • ssh_ciphers ([]string) - This overrides the value of ciphers supported by default by golang. The default value is [ "aes128-gcm@openssh.com", "chacha20-poly1305@openssh.com", "aes128-ctr", "aes192-ctr", "aes256-ctr", ]

    Valid options for ciphers include: "aes128-ctr", "aes192-ctr", "aes256-ctr", "aes128-gcm@openssh.com", "chacha20-poly1305@openssh.com", "arcfour256", "arcfour128", "arcfour", "aes128-cbc", "3des-cbc",

  • ssh_clear_authorized_keys (bool) - If true, Packer will attempt to remove its temporary key from ~/.ssh/authorized_keys and /root/.ssh/authorized_keys. This is a mostly cosmetic option, since Packer will delete the temporary private key from the host system regardless of whether this is set to true (unless the user has set the -debug flag). Defaults to "false"; currently only works on guests with sed installed.

  • ssh_key_exchange_algorithms ([]string) - If set, Packer will override the value of key exchange (kex) altorighms supported by default by golang. Acceptable values include: "curve25519-sha256@libssh.org", "ecdh-sha2-nistp256", "ecdh-sha2-nistp384", "ecdh-sha2-nistp521", "diffie-hellman-group14-sha1", and "diffie-hellman-group1-sha1".

  • ssh_certificate_file (string) - Path to user certificate used to authenticate with SSH. The ~ can be used in path and will be expanded to the home directory of current user.

  • ssh_pty (bool) - If true, a PTY will be requested for the SSH connection. This defaults to false.

  • ssh_timeout (duration string | ex: "1h5m2s") - The time to wait for SSH to become available. Packer uses this to determine when the machine has booted so this is usually quite long. Example value: 10m.

  • ssh_disable_agent_forwarding (bool) - If true, SSH agent forwarding will be disabled. Defaults to false.

  • ssh_handshake_attempts (int) - The number of handshakes to attempt with SSH once it can connect. This defaults to 10.

  • ssh_bastion_host (string) - A bastion host to use for the actual SSH connection.

  • ssh_bastion_port (int) - The port of the bastion host. Defaults to 22.

  • ssh_bastion_agent_auth (bool) - If true, the local SSH agent will be used to authenticate with the bastion host. Defaults to false.

  • ssh_bastion_username (string) - The username to connect to the bastion host.

  • ssh_bastion_password (string) - The password to use to authenticate with the bastion host.

  • ssh_bastion_interactive (bool) - If true, the keyboard-interactive used to authenticate with bastion host.

  • ssh_bastion_private_key_file (string) - Path to a PEM encoded private key file to use to authenticate with the bastion host. The ~ can be used in path and will be expanded to the home directory of current user.

  • ssh_bastion_certificate_file (string) - Path to user certificate used to authenticate with bastion host. The ~ can be used in path and will be expanded to the home directory of current user.

  • ssh_file_transfer_method (string) - scp or sftp - How to transfer files, Secure copy (default) or SSH File Transfer Protocol.

  • ssh_proxy_host (string) - A SOCKS proxy host to use for SSH connection

  • ssh_proxy_port (int) - A port of the SOCKS proxy. Defaults to 1080.

  • ssh_proxy_username (string) - The optional username to authenticate with the proxy server.

  • ssh_proxy_password (string) - The optional password to use to authenticate with the proxy server.

  • ssh_keep_alive_interval (duration string | ex: "1h5m2s") - How often to send "keep alive" messages to the server. Set to a negative value (-1s) to disable. Example value: 10s. Defaults to 5s.

  • ssh_read_write_timeout (duration string | ex: "1h5m2s") - The amount of time to wait for a remote command to end. This might be useful if, for example, packer hangs on a connection after a reboot. Example: 5m. Disabled by default.

  • ssh_remote_tunnels ([]string) -

  • ssh_local_tunnels ([]string) -

»Optional WinRM fields:

  • winrm_username (string) - The username to use to connect to WinRM.

  • winrm_password (string) - The password to use to connect to WinRM.

  • winrm_host (string) - The address for WinRM to connect to.

    NOTE: If using an Amazon EBS builder, you can specify the interface WinRM connects to via ssh_interface

  • winrm_no_proxy (bool) - Setting this to true adds the remote host:port to the NO_PROXY environment variable. This has the effect of bypassing any configured proxies when connecting to the remote host. Default to false.

  • winrm_port (int) - The WinRM port to connect to. This defaults to 5985 for plain unencrypted connection and 5986 for SSL when winrm_use_ssl is set to true.

  • winrm_timeout (duration string | ex: "1h5m2s") - The amount of time to wait for WinRM to become available. This defaults to 30m since setting up a Windows machine generally takes a long time.

  • winrm_use_ssl (bool) - If true, use HTTPS for WinRM.

  • winrm_insecure (bool) - If true, do not check server certificate chain and host name.

  • winrm_use_ntlm (bool) - If true, NTLMv2 authentication (with session security) will be used for WinRM, rather than default (basic authentication), removing the requirement for basic authentication to be enabled within the target guest. Further reading for remote connection authentication can be found here.

»Working with Clusters

»Standalone Hosts

Only use the host option. Optionally specify a resource_pool:

"host": "esxi-1.vsphere65.test",
"resource_pool": "pool1",

»Clusters Without DRS

Use the cluster and hostparameters:

"cluster": "cluster1",
"host": "esxi-2.vsphere65.test",

»Clusters With DRS

Only use the cluster option. Optionally specify a resource_pool:

"cluster": "cluster2",
"resource_pool": "pool1",

»Required vSphere Permissions

  • VM folder (this object and children):
    Virtual machine -> Inventory
    Virtual machine -> Configuration
    Virtual machine -> Interaction
    Virtual machine -> Snapshot management
    Virtual machine -> Provisioning
    
    Individual privileges are listed in https://github.com/jetbrains-infra/packer-builder-vsphere/issues/97#issuecomment-436063235.
  • Resource pool, host, or cluster (this object):
    Resource -> Assign virtual machine to resource pool
    
  • Host in clusters without DRS (this object):
    Read-only
    
  • Datastore (this object):
    Datastore -> Allocate space
    Datastore -> Browse datastore
    Datastore -> Low level file operations
    
  • Network (this object):
    Network -> Assign network
    
  • Distributed switch (this object):
    Read-only
    

For floppy image upload:

  • Datacenter (this object):
    Datastore -> Low level file operations
    
  • Host (this object):
    Host -> Configuration -> System Management