VMware, OEMs, and third-party software vendors must ship their software updates in a format that vSphere Lifecycle Manager supports and can consume.

vSphere Lifecycle Manager can consume software updates only if they are delivered in one of the following ways - in an online depot, as an offline depot, or as an installable ISO image.

An online depot is the hosted version of the software updates that VMware, OEMs, and third-party software providers ship. You access an online depot through a URL.

vSphere Lifecycle Manager includes preconfigured URLs that point to the default VMware depot. Starting with vSphere 7.0, the default online depot that VMware provides hosts vendor add-ons. The default depot also contains ESXi-compatible I/O device drivers certified by VMware. You can use the vSphere Client to access third-party online depots that contain additional components.

The offline bundle is a ZIP file that contains the software metadata and the respective VIBs. In addition to uploading software to online depots, VMware, OEMs, and third-party software providers create and distribute downloadable offline bundles.

Starting with vSphere 7.0, in addition to distributing an offline.zip file (offline bundle) and a custom ISO image, OEMs distribute an Add-on.zip file that contains the delta between the OEM custom image and the base image that VMware provides.
Software Vendor Software Deliverable Software Distribution Format
VMware Base images
  • The default VMware online depot
  • Offline bundle
  • ISO image
OEMs Add-ons
  • The default VMware online depot
  • Offline bundle
  • Add-on ZIP file
  • ISO image
Third-party software providers Components For device drivers that are certified by VMware:
  • The default VMware online depot
  • Offline bundle
For other third-party software that is verified and certified by OEMs, for example I/O filters, CIM module:
  • An online depot
  • Offline bundle