ubuntu 18.x is by default shipped with cloud-init/netplan that breaks when customizing the VM using vCenter custom spec. In this blog, I’ll show you how to get the customization to work with vCenter.

On a fresh install of ubuntu 18.04, create a bash script with the below contents (mine was setup using DHCP)


sudo cloud-init clean --logs
sudo touch /etc/cloud/cloud-init.disabled
sudo rm -rf /etc/netplan/50-cloud-init.yaml
sudo apt purge cloud-init -y
sudo apt autoremove -y

# Don't clear /tmp
sudo sed -i 's/D \/tmp 1777 root root -/#D \/tmp 1777 root root -/g' /usr/lib/tmpfiles.d/tmp.conf

# Remove cloud-init and rely on dbus for open-vm-tools
sudo sed -i 's/Before=cloud-init-local.service/After=dbus.service/g' /lib/systemd/system/open-vm-tools.service

# cleanup current ssh keys so templated VMs get fresh key
# sudo rm -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_*

# add check for ssh keys on reboot...regenerate if neccessary
sudo tee /etc/rc.local >/dev/null <<EOL
#!/bin/sh -e
# rc.local
# This script is executed at the end of each multiuser runlevel.
# Make sure that the script will "" on success or any other
# value on error.
# In order to enable or disable this script just change the execution
# bits.

# By default this script does nothing.
# test -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key || dpkg-reconfigure openssh-server
# exit 0

# make the script executable
sudo chmod +x /etc/rc.local

# cleanup apt
sudo apt clean

# reset the machine-id (DHCP leases in 18.04 are generated based on this... not MAC...)
echo "" | sudo tee /etc/machine-id >/dev/null

# disable swap for K8s
sudo swapoff --all
sudo sed -ri '/\sswap\s/s/^#?/#/' /etc/fstab

# cleanup shell history and shutdown for templating
history -c
history -w
sudo shutdown -h now

Note, sometimes copy-paste can change the special characters, should that be the case, please use this link to download the file:

once the script is run, the VM should power off automatically. convert the VM to the template and then test by deploying this with a guest customization spec

Note: Do not run the command directly from putty/shell. in some cases i’ve noticed the networking on the VM goes blank causing the VM to go off-network when the netplan is being removed..

always invoke the above via the bash script local to the guest os.

2 Replies to “ubuntu 18.04 getting VMware guest customization to work”

  1. Thanks for that script. For Ubuntu 20.0.* I just changed one line sudo rm -rf /etc/netplan/50-cloud-init.yaml with sudo rm -rf /etc/netplan/*.yaml.

    After doing that it works on vSphere 7.0 and ubuntu 20.


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