Host profiles are used to help vSphere Auto Deploy provision physical ESXi hosts with configuration state information (virtual switches, driver settings, boot parameters, and so on).
Configuration state information cannot be stored directly on a host provisioned with Auto Deploy. Instead, you can create a reference host and configure it with the settings you want. Then, create a host profile using this reference host. Auto Deploy can apply the host profile to these hosts so they are configured with these settings, or you can apply the host profile using the client.
To apply a host profile to a host, the host must be placed into maintenance mode. The user is prompted to type answers for policies that are specified during host profile creation when the host profile is applied.
A host provisioned with Auto Deploy can be rebooted while the host profile is attached to the host. After rebooting, values stored in the answer file help the host provisioned with Auto Deploy to apply the profile. An answer file is created that contains a series of key value pairs for the user input options.
The answer file contains the user input policies for a host profile. The file is created when the profile is initially applied to a particular host.
If you deploy ESXi through host profiles, configure syslog to store logs on a remote server. See "Set up Syslog from the Host Profiles Interface" in the Installation and Setup documentation for instructions.
See "Setting up an Auto Deploy Reference Host" in the vSphere Auto Deploy documentation for more information.