I have been working with the Project Keswick team for quite some time now, which is an OCTO project is lead by my good friend Alan Renouf, who is doing some really innovative work with ESXi at the edge and application deployment using a desired state engine.
Recently I had met with the team to discuss some of the options for their automated deployment which uses the tried and true ESXi scripted installation aka ESXi Kickstart. One thing that I had shared was just how powerful the %pre section within the kickstart is and can be used to redefine or update the original kickstart based on your installation criteria. For example, you could pull down external configuration files and determine at runtime to decide how you want to configure your networking to even fully bootstrapping a local vSAN datastore and this would all happen prior to ESXi installer starting. I have used the %pre section numerous times as a customer and also demonstrated in my USB-to-SDDC project which has also been an inspiration for the Project Keswick team.
One very cool capability that Project Keswick is enabling is the integration of the popular USB Network Native Driver for ESXi and one challenge they had faced with automating an ESXi installation when only a USB network adapter was available is additional configuration that must be setup before the installer can begin. They shared their solution and thought this would be a good blog post topic, especially as I know many folks use the USB Network Native Driver for ESXi in their homelab and if you wish to automate the installation, the solution shared from the team could help.