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A cloud-init datasource for VMware vSphere's GuestInfo interface
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akutz Merge pull request #10 from akutz/bugfix/network-data
Fix issue with network data object
Latest commit 99442e7 Jun 3, 2019

Cloud-Init Datasource for VMware GuestInfo

This project provides a cloud-init datasource for pulling meta, user, and vendor data from VMware vSphere's GuestInfo interface.


There are multiple methods of installing the data source.

Installing on RHEL/CentOS 7

There is an RPM available for installing on RedHat/CentOS:

$ yum install

Installing on other Linux distributions

The VMware GuestInfo datasource can be installed on any Linux distribution where cloud-init is already present. To do so, simply execute the following:

$ curl -sSL | sh -


The data source is configured by setting guestinfo properties on a VM's extraconfig data or a customizable vApp's properties data.

Property Description
guestinfo.metadata A JSON string containing the cloud-init metadata.
guestinfo.metadata.encoding The encoding type for guestinfo.metadata.
guestinfo.userdata A YAML document containing the cloud-init user data.
guestinfo.userdata.encoding The encoding type for guestinfo.userdata.
guestinfo.vendordata A YAML document containing the cloud-init vendor data.
guestinfo.vendordata.encoding The encoding type for guestinfo.vendordata.

All guestinfo.*.encoding property values may be set to base64 or gzip+base64.


The following series of steps is a demonstration on how to configure a VM with cloud-init and the VMX GuestInfo datasource.

Create a network configuration file

First, create the network configuration for the VM. Save the following YAML to a file named network.config.yaml:

version: 1
  - type: physical
    name: ens192
      - type: static

See the section on configuring the network for more information on the network configuration schema.

Create a metadata file

Next, create a JSON file named metadata.json:

  "network": "NETWORK_CONFIG",
  "network.encoding": "gzip+base64",
  "local-hostname": "cloud-vm",
  "instance-id": "cloud-vm"

Please note that in addition to the network key in the metadata there is also a key named network.encoding. This key informs the datasource how to decode the network data. Valid values for network.encoding include:

  • base64
  • gzip+base64

Create a cloud-config file

Finally, create the cloud-config file cloud-config.yaml:


  - default
  - name: akutz
    primary_group: akutz
    groups: sudo, wheel
    ssh_import_id: None
    lock_passwd: true
      - ssh-rsa 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

Assigning the cloud-config data to the VM's GuestInfo

Please note that this step requires that the VM be powered off. All of the commands below use the VMware CLI tool, govc.

Go ahead and assign the path to the VM to the environment variable VM:

$ export VM="/inventory/path/to/the/vm"

Next, power off the VM:

$ govc vm.power -off "${VM}"

Export the environment variables that contain the cloud-init metadata and cloud-config:

$ export CLOUD_CONFIG=$(gzip -c9 <cloud-config.yaml | base64)
$ export METADATA=$(sed 's~NETWORK_CONFIG~'"$(gzip -c9 <network.config.yaml | \
                    base64)"'~' <metadata.json | gzip -9 | base64)

Assign the metadata and cloud-config to the VM's extra configuration dictionary, guestinfo:

$ govc vm.change -vm "${VM}" -e guestinfo.metadata="${METADATA}"
$ govc vm.change -vm "${VM}" -e guestinfo.metadata.encoding=gzip+base64
$ govc vm.change -vm "${VM}" -e guestinfo.userdata="${CLOUD_CONFIG}"
$ govc vm.change -vm "${VM}" -e guestinfo.userdata.encoding=gzip+base64

Please note the above commands include specifying the encoding for the properties. This is important as it informs the datasource how to decode the data for cloud-init. Valid values for metadata.encoding and userdata.encoding include:

  • base64
  • gzip+base64

Using the cloud-init VMX GuestInfo datasource

Power the VM back on.

$ govc vm.power -vm "${VM}" -on

If all went according to plan, the CentOS box is:

  • Locked down, allosing SSH access only for the user in the cloud-config
  • Configured for a static IP address,
  • Has a hostname of centos-cloud


This section reviews common configurations:

Setting the hostname

The hostname is set by way of the metadata key local-hostname.

Setting the instance ID

The instance ID may be set by way of the metadata key instance-id. However, if this value is absent then then the instance ID is read from the file /sys/class/dmi/id/product_uuid.

Configuring the network

The network is configured by setting the metadata key network with a value consistent with Network Config Versions 1 or 2, depending on the Linux distro's version of cloud-init.

For example, CentOS 7's official cloud-init package is version 0.7.9 and does not support Network Config Version 2. However, this datasource still supports supplying Network Config Version 2 data as long as the Linux distro's cloud-init package is new enough to parse the data.

The metadata key network.encoding may be used to indicate the format of the metadata key "network". Valid encodings are base64 and gzip+base64.

Building the RPM

Building the RPM locally is handled via Docker. Simple execute the following command:

$ make rpm

The resulting RPMs are located in rpmbuild/$OS/RPMS/noarch/. The list of supported $OS platforms are:

  • el7 (RHEL/CentOS 7)


To learn more about how to use cloud-init with CentOS, please see the cloud-init documentation for more examples and reference information for the cloud-config files.

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