How to Create vCenter Templates (2 Methods)

Do you require the daily deployment of new virtual machines? Is manually creating each instance getting tiresome? If that is the case, VMware templates are perfect for you!


By Zelia / Updated on May 29, 2023

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What is VMware template

vCenter create template is a feature in VMware vSphere that allows you to create a VM template from an existing virtual machine. A VM template is a master copy of a virtual machine that can be used to deploy multiple instances of identical VMs. By creating a template, you can save time and ensure consistency when deploying new virtual machines.

Once the template is created, you can use it as a baseline for deploying additional virtual machines with the same configuration. Here are the detailed steps to use vCenter create templates.

How to create a VM template in vCenter (2 Methods)

When you need to create a VM template, there are two methods for you:

  • Convert to a template
  • Clone to a template

Method 1. Converting to a template

To create a template using vCenter, follow these steps:

1. Log in to the vCenter with vSphere client. Access to Hosts and Clusters or VMs and Templates to select the VM you want to convert to a template.

Note: Ensure to power off the VM when you convert it to a template.

2. Right-click on the VM, and select Template >> Convert to template.


3. A confirmation information will appear: Convert the virtual machines to a template? Then click Yes to proceed.


Method 2. Cloning to a template

With this choice, you can keep the original VM and replicate its data to a template. While you are cloning the VM to a template, the source VM might be either powered on or off.

1. Log in to the vCenter with vSphere client. Access to Hosts and Clusters or VMs and Templates to select the VM >> Clone >> Clone to Template.


2. Select a name and folder: Specify the name for the VM and select a target location. Then click Next.


3. Select a compute resource: Select an ESXi host or a cluster as the resource for this operation, and click Next.


4. Select storage: Select the datastore in which to store the configuration and disk files and define a custom VM storage policy if needed. Then click Next.


5. Ready to complete: Check the settings and click Finish to proceed with the template creation.


6. Navigate to the VMs and Templates section list, and your newly created VM template will be displayed at the end.


How to export VM as OVF template from vCenter

In VMware, you could also export VM as an OVF template. Depending on the size of the VM and the performance of your storage system, the export process may take some time to complete. Here are the steps:

1. Log in to vCenter and navigate to VMs and Templates.


2. Select the virtual machine you want to export. If it's a template, it must be converted back to a virtual machine before you export the OVF.


3. Select the cluster or host to reside on your VM.

Note: If you choose a cluster, DRS mode will have to be enabled.


4. Confirm the settings and click Finish.


5. After the template has been converted to a VM, right-click it >> Template >> Export OVF Template.


6. Select the destination for the OVF and click OK.


VM data protection: batch backup vCenter VMs

VM templates are created to quickly create new VM instances and to ensure that these VM instances have the same operating system and application configuration, thus improving the consistency and reliability of the virtualized environment. However, creating VM templates does not fully guarantee data security. Therefore, after creating VM templates, performing VM backups is an essential step to ensure data reliability and recoverability.

Here I recommend you a VMware backup software - AOMEI Cyber Backup, which enables you to backup and restore multiple VMs in 4 concise steps. And it also offers you the following benefits:

✻ Agentless Backup: Create complete and independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs without installing any agent.
✻ Multiple VM Backup: Batch backup large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server, or multiple VMs on a standalone ESXi host.
✻ Multiple Storage Destinations: Backup to a local drive, or network destinations like NAS.
✻ Automated Execution: Create backup schedules to automate backups daily, weekly, or monthly.
✻ Restore Entire VM: Restore instant available VMs from any selected restore points to an original or new location.

Next, I will show you how to batch backup VMs managed by vCenter Server or standalone ESXi with AOMEI Cyber Backup. You can click the following button to download the 30-day free trial.

Download Free TrialVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

4 Steps to batch backup VMs on vCenter server

Step 1. Bind Devices: Access to AOMEI Cyber Backup web client, navigate to Source Device >> VMware >> + Add VMware Device to Add vCenter or Standalone ESXi host. And then click >> Bind Device.


Step 2. Create Backup Task: Navigate to Backup Task > + Create New Task, and select VMware ESXi Backup as the Backup Type. Then set Task Name, Device, Target, Schedule, and Cleanup as needed.

Task Name: Change the task name or use the default name with an ordinal.

Device: Batch select large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server for centralized backup.

Target: Select to back up to a local path, or to a network path.

Schedule (optional): Perform full, differential, or incremental backup, and automate execution according to the frequency you specified.


Cleanup (optional): Automatically delete the old backup copies that exceed the retention period you specified.


Step 3. Start Backup: Click Start Backup and select Add the schedule and start backup now, or Add the schedule only.


Step 4. When restoring, you can also restore to new location to create a new VM in the same or another datastore/host directly from the backup, saving the trouble of re-configuring the new VM.



To effectively manage large-scale virtual environments, many organizations often use multiple vCenter servers working simultaneously. However, creating new virtual machine instances to get vCenter up and running can be a time-consuming task. This is where creating virtual machine templates comes in handy, allowing for the quick and easy creation of new virtual machine instances that are already configured to your organization's specific requirements.

In this article, I showed the ways to create VM templates and export VM as templates. By leveraging VM templates, you can greatly reduce the time and effort required to deploy new VMs across multiple vCenter servers, ensuring seamless operation of your virtual environment.

Zelia · Editor
Zelia is an editor from AOMEI Technology.She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. Writing is one of her hobbies and she wants her articles to be seen by more people. In her spare time, she likes to draw and listen to music, and it is a pleasure for her to focus on her own world.