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.

One Reply 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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