Depending on whether you want to use baselines or images for software lifecycle management, you must comply with a different set of requirements and know the respective limitations.

When Using an Image

To manage a cluster with a single image, the ESXi hosts in the cluster must meet several requirements.
  • All ESXi hosts must be of version 7.0 and later.
  • All ESXi hosts must be stateful. A stateful install is one in which the the host boots from a disk.
  • All ESXi must be from the same vendor.

As to the cluster, it must include only integrated solutions, for example VMware vSAN™ and VMware vSphere® High Availability (HA).

In vSphere 7.0, you cannot use a vSphere Lifecycle Manager image to manage a cluster that has vSphere with Kubernetes enabled or NSX installed. Such clusters continue to function normally, and you can manage such clusters by using baselines and baseline groups. Switching from baselines to images for clusters with vSphere with Kubernetes or NSX is not possible. Additionally, you cannot use vSphere with Kubernetes or install NSX-T on a cluster that you already manage with a single image.

When Using Baselines and Baseline Groups

To manage the updates and upgrades of ESXi hosts with baselines and baseline groups, you must know the ESXi version limitations.
  • To use baselines for ESXi host patching operations, vSphere Lifecycle Manager works with ESXi 6.5, ESXi 6.7, and ESXi 7.0.
  • To use baselines for ESXi host upgrade operations, vSphere Lifecycle Manager works withESXi 6.5, ESXi 6.7, and their respective Update releases.

When Switching from Baselines to Images

To start managing an existing cluster with a single image instead of baselines and baseline groups, the cluster must comply with the requirements for using images. For more information about the requirements and specifics of the transition to vSphere Lifecycle Manager images, see Cluster Eligibility to Use vSphere Lifecycle Manager Images.

In addition, several limitations and behavioral specifics exist for that scenario.
  • If you switch to using images, you cannot revert to using baselines for the cluster. You can move the hosts to a cluster that uses baselines, but you cannot change a cluster that already uses a single image for management purposes.
  • When you set up and save an image for a cluster, the image is not applied to the hosts in the cluster unless you remediate the hosts. The mere action of changing the management method does not alter the hosts in the cluster.
  • After you set up an image for the cluster and remediate the hosts in the cluster against the image, standalone VIBs are deleted from the hosts.
  • After you set up an image for the cluster and remediate the hosts in the cluster against the image, non-integrated solution agents are deleted from the hosts.
  • You cannot switch to using images for clusters that have vSphere with Kubernetes enabled or that already have NSX installed.

When Upgrading Virtual Machines

For VMware Tools and virtual machine hardware upgrade operations, vSphere Lifecycle Manager works with 6.5, ESXi 6.7, and ESXi 7.0.