When using a windows template, VMware's Virtual Center can help you customise the resulting virtual machine with a wizard, unfortunately it doesn't do this for Debian which happens to be my Linux distribution of choice.
To create the template I just installed a nice minimal installation onto a new VM, added the vmware tools, changed the VM to use paravirtual hardware then converted it to a template.
After each "Deploy from template" I simply run through the following:
It would be potential security risk to have all the VMs using the same SSH keys so I regenerate SSH keys for the VM with:
# rm /etc/ssh/ssh_host*
# dpkg-reconfigure openssh-server
# apt-get update
# apt-get upgrade
Set the IP address (well it is likely to be a server) with:
# vi /etc/network/interfaces
Change host name as it isn't helpful to have duplicate host names due to the confusion it can cause me:
# vi /etc/hostname
Amend hosts file (to match the host name)
# vi /etc/hosts
Do a quick confidence reboot then go about installing the software onto the VM as usual to make it fit for the task you need it for.
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