Interesting problem we encountered on a recent project using Auto Deploy and stateful caching where the ESXi images just wouldn’t stick (i.e install) onto local disk. Using vCenter 6.5e and ESXi 6.5d, the auto deploy boot would work fine, however the install would not persist to local disk.
Seems it is a problem with the host profile being used for the Auto Deploy rule…so to workaround the issue what we did was create a seperate host profile just for the initial boot of the server with auto deploy (i.e. the host profile listed in the Auto Deploy rule), with everything unchecked in the profile except for “System Image Cache Configuration” as shown in the below image:
Once it was booted and added into vCenter, a seperate profile was then applied to configure the remaining VDS settings, Advanced Properties etc.