To start off with, Download the latest version of CentOs7 from https://www.centos.org/download/
At the time of writing, this is: CentOS-7 (1804)
Lets start by creating a new Virtual machine. I will select Esxi 6.5 for backward compatibility with other host.
Mount the ISO,
Power on the VM and begin installing of the OS and begin the installation
Note: During the install we will enable the default nic interface and set this to DHCP
Note: Since the ISO used was from a most recent release, openvm-tools is auto installed along with the linux installer. if you are using an older version of the cent os installer iso, you must install open-vm-tools with the below command (will need the VM connected to the internet).
yum install open-vm-tools
I would recommend updating the tools to the latest release.
then followed by installing pearl (pre-requisites for guest customization)
yum install perl
Once done, power down the VM and convert it to a template.
Test the template by deploying a VM with guest customization
When the VM boots up you should see the host name set to the name of the VM (the spec that I used to customize uses the name as of vsphere inventory as the the virtual machine name)
Looking at the VM that was just deployed, we see the host name has changed as per the specification.
Log file for guest cust: