A vSphere Lifecycle Manager cluster is a cluster of ESXi hosts that you manage either with baselines or with a single image. You decide whether to manage a cluster with baselines or with a single image during the creation of the cluster.
Creating a vSphere Lifecycle Manager Cluster That Uses a Single Image
To create a cluster that uses a single image, you must select the respective option in the Create Cluster wizard and specify an image to be applied to the hosts. You can choose to create the image or to use an existing image from a host within or outside the current vCenter Server instance.
- Compose an image manually
To set up an image manually, the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot must contain the ESXi base image and vendor add-on that you want to use.
- Import an image from a reference host
Starting with vSphere 7.0 Update 2, during cluster creation, you can select a reference host and use the image on that host as the image for the newly created cluster. vSphere Lifecycle Manager extracts the image from the reference host and applies it to the cluster.
Creating a vSphere Lifecycle Manager Cluster That Uses Baselines
To create a cluster that uses baselines, during cluster creation, you must leave unselected the option to manage the cluster with a single image. You can switch from using baselines to using images at a later time. For more information about switching from using baselines to using images, see Switching from Using Baselines to Using Images.
Adding Hosts to a vSphere Lifecycle Manager Cluster
You can add hosts of any version to a cluster that you manage with baselines.
You can add hosts of ESXi version 7.0 or later to a cluster that you manage with a single image. Starting with vSphere 7.0 Update 2, you can add a host to a cluster and at the same time use the image on that host as an image for the entire cluster.
Removing Hosts from a vSphere Lifecycle Manager Cluster
Removing a host from a cluster is a straightforward procedure. If you remove a host from a cluster that uses a single image, the host retains the software and firmware installed during the last remediation against the image for the cluster.
All cluster-related operations are described in full detail in the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation.
For information about using Auto Deploy to deploy and provision ESXi hosts, see the VMware ESXi Installation and Setup documentation.