When you decide on a life cycle management approach for the ESXi software in VMware Cloud Foundation, you consider the effort and time required for preparing the environment and performing patch, upgrade, or update operations.

Life cycle management of ESXi is the process of performing patch updates or upgrades to the underlying ESXi operating system. In a typical vSphere environment, you perform life cycle management by using vSphere Lifecycle Manager that is running in vCenter Server. In a VMware Cloud Foundation instance, you use SDDC Manager for life cycle management of the entire instance where additional components are included as part of the life cycle management process.

SDDC Manager uses vSphere Lifecycle Manager baselines and baseline groups to update and upgrade the ESXi hosts in the management domain. VMware Cloud Foundation does not support using vSphere Lifecycle Manager images in the management domain.

Table 1. Design Decisions on Life Cycle Management of the ESXi Hosts

Decision ID

Design Decision

Design Justification

Design Implication


Use SDDC Manager to perform the life cycle management of ESXi hosts in the management domain.

Because the deployment scope of SDDC Manager covers the full VMware Cloud Foundation stack, SDDC Manager performs patching, update, or upgrade of the management domain as a single process.

The operations team must understand and be aware of the impact of a patch, update, or upgrade operation by using SDDC Manager.