Deployment–Non-default network identifier and PDT VMCreator

If you’ve attempted a full deployment of System Center 2012 – Service Manager using PDT VMCreator and Installer, you have probably run into an issue where the VM being used for the SharePoint Web Parts piece of the Service Manager portal does not join the domain during sysprep.  This is because that role required Windows Server 2008 R2.  If you’ve tried using VMCreator for OS languages other than English, you may have seen the same problem.

By default, PDT VMCreator uses a network adapter identifier of “Ethernet” in the unattend.xml of a VM.  This works just fine for English language Windows Server 2012 and above – but it does not work for Windows Server 2008 R2 or for certain other languages.  There doesn’t appear to be a generic way to specify just “the first network adapter”.  PDT 2.5 resolves this issue by allowing you specify the identifier if it is something other than “Ethernet”.  The way to do this is to add an <Identifier> entry to the <NetworkAdapter> section for any VMs that should not use the default “Ethernet” – or add the same to the <Default> section if you need to change it for all VMs.

The following example is the VM in my lab setup that runs the Service Manager SharePoint Web Parts Server role:

<VM Count=”19″>
  <VMName>SM03</VMName>
  <NetworkAdapter>
    <Identifier>Local Area Connection</Identifier>
  </NetworkAdapter>
  <OSDisk>
    <Parent>D:VHDWS08R2E.vhdx</Parent>
    <Type>Differencing</Type>
  </OSDisk>
</VM>

This VM is using a non-default OS VHD for Windows Server 2008 R2, and is changing the network identifier to “Local Area Connection”, which is correct for Windows Server 2008 R2.