I am a huge fan of HashiCorp Packer, which makes automating Virtual Machine images for vSphere including OVF, OVA and vSphere Content Library Templates extremely easy. Packer supports two vSphere Providers, the first being vmware-iso which requires SSH access to an ESXi host and the second called vsphere-iso which does not require ESXi access but instead connects to vCenter Server using the vSphere API, which is the preferred method for vSphere Automation.
I started working with Packer and the vmware-iso several years ago and because there is not 100% parity between the two vSphere providers, I have not really looked at the vsphere-iso provider or even attempted to transition over. I was recently working on some automation within my VMware Cloud on AWS(VMConAWS) SDDC and since this is a VMware managed service, customers do not have access to the underlying ESXi hosts nor SSH access. I thought this would be a good time to explore the vsphere-iso provider and see if I can make it work in a couple of different networking scenarios.
For customers that normally establish either a Direct Connect (DX) or VPN (Policy or Route-based) from their on-premises environment to their SDDC, there is nothing special that needs to be setup to use Packer. However, if you are like me who may not always have these types of connectivity setup or if you wish to use Packer directly over the internet to your SDDC, then some additional configurations will be needed.
Packer Connectivity Scenarios
In both scenarios below, DX/VPN is not configure or relied upon to the VMConAWS SDDC.