To set up a host provisioned with Auto Deploy to boot from disk, you must configure a host profile. You can apply that host profile to other hosts that you want to set up for stateful installs.

About this task

You can configure the host profile on a single host. You can also create a host profile on a reference host and apply that host profile to other hosts.


Make sure that your host is configured for Auto Deploy and that you meet other prerequisites for stateful installs. See Prepare Hosts Provisioned with Auto Deploy for Stateful Installs.


  1. In the vSphere Web Client, create a host profile.

    See the Host Profiles documentation.

  2. With the host profile object displayed, click the Edit host profile settings icon.
  3. Leave the name and description and click Next.
  4. Click Advanced Configuration Settings and click the System Image Cache Configuration folder.
  5. Click the System Image Cache Configuration icon.
  6. In the System Image Cache Profile Settings drop-down menu, make your selection.



    Enable stateful installs on the host

    Caches the image to a disk.

    Enable stateful installs to a USB disk on the host

    Caches the image to a USB disk attached to the host.

  7. If you select Enable stateful installs on the host, specify information about the disk to use.



    Arguments for first disk

    By default, the system attempts to replace an existing ESXi installation, and then attempts to write to the local disk.

    You can use the Arguments for first disk field to specify a comma-separated list of disks to use, in order of preference. You can specify more than one disk. Use esx for the first disk with ESX installed on it, use model and vendor information, or specify the name of the vmkernel device driver. For example, to have the system first look for a disk with the model name ST3120814A, second for any disk that uses the mptsas driver, and third for the local disk, specify ST3120814A,mptsas,local as the value of this field.

    The first disk setting in the host profile specifies the search order for determining which disk to use for the cache. The search order is specified as a comma delimited list of values. The default setting esx,local specifies that Auto Deploy should first look for an existing cache disk. The cache disk is identified as a disk with an existing ESXi software image. If Auto Deploy cannot find an existing cache disk, it searches for an available local disk device. When searching for an available disk Auto Deploy uses the first empty disk that does not have an existing VMFS partition.

    You can use the first disk argument only to specify the search order. You cannot explicitly specify a disk. For example, you cannot specify a specific LUN on a SAN.

    Check to overwrite any VMFS volumes on the selected disk

    If you click this check box, the system overwrites existing VMFS volumes if not enough space is available to store the image, image profile, and host profile.

  8. Click Finish to complete the host profile configuration.
  9. Apply the host profile with the vSphere Web Client or the vSphere PowerCLI.



    vSphere Web Client

    To apply the host profile to individual hosts, use the host profiles interface of the vSphere Web Client. See the Host Profiles documentation.

    vSphere PowerCLI

    To apply the host profile to one or more hosts by using PowerCLI, see Assign a Host Profile to Hosts.