To take advantage of all new functionalities that vSphere Lifecycle Manager provides in vSphere 7.0, for example, software recommendations and firmware updates, you must start using images for the clusters in your environment. You can set up an image during the creation of a cluster or later.

During the creation of a cluster, you can only define the ESXi version and, optionally, a vendor add-on to be included in the image for the cluster. You can later edit the image to include additional components or a firmware add-on. For detailed information about creating a cluster and adding hosts to it, see the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation.

Note: When you set up an image, you select an ESXi version and a vendor add-on from the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot. If no ESXi base images and vendor add-ons are available in the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot, you must populate the depot with software updates by synchronizing the depot or uploading updates to the depot manually. For detail information about the corresponding procedures, see Synchronize the vSphere Lifecycle Manager Depot and Import Updates to the vSphere Lifecycle Manager Depot.

If you do not set up an image during the creation of the cluster, it uses baselines, but you can switch to images at any time. When you set up an image during the transition workflow, you can define the full stack of software to run on the hosts in the cluster. For more information about switching from baselines to images, see Switching from Using Baselines to Using Images.

Whereas switching from baselines to images is possible, the reverse operation is not. If a cluster uses a single image, regardless of whether you set up the image during the cluster creation or transition, you cannot switch to using baselines for that cluster.