You can manage a vSAN cluster by using vSphere Lifecycle Manager baselines and baseline groups or by using a single image for that cluster. Working with vSAN clusters has its specifics regardless of whether you manage the cluster with a single image or with baselines.
Managing a vSAN Cluster by Using Recommendation Baseline Groups
You can update and upgrade the hosts in a vSAN cluster by using automatically generated system-managed baselines groups. Those system-managed baseline groups are called recommendation baseline groups. Recommendation baseline groups do not contain firmware and driver updates. Recommendation baselines contain only patch or upgrade baselines.
If you want to switch to using images for a vSAN cluster that contains ESXi hosts of versions earlier than 7.0, you must first use an upgrade baseline to upgrade the hosts. Then, you can switch to using a vSphere Lifecycle Manager image for the cluster.
For more information about recommendation baselines, see About Recommendation Baseline Groups.
For more information about using baselines to manage hosts and clusters, see Using vSphere Lifecycle Manager Baselines and Baseline Groups.
Managing a vSAN Cluster with a Single Image
The image that you use for a cluster defines the full software stack to run on the hosts in that cluster: ESXi version, vendor customization, drivers, and firmware. When you manage a vSAN cluster with a single image, you can take advantage of the functionalities that vSphere Lifecycle Manager images provide.
- You can update the firmware on all hosts in the vSAN cluster.
You perform firmware update by setting up an image that contains a firmware add-on and remediating the vSAN cluster against that image. For more information about performing firmware updates by using vSphere Lifecycle Manager images, see Firmware Updates.
- You can run a hardware compatibility check for the cluster.
The hardware compatibility check task verifies that the image for the cluster can be successfully applied to all hosts and that it is compliant with the vSAN Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). For more information about hardware compatibility checks, see Hardware Compatibility Checks.
- You can check firmware compliance with the image.
When you perform a compliance check against the image for a cluster, firmware compliance is also checked. As a result, you can easily notice if a driver or firmware in your cluster becomes non-compliant. For more information about checking the compliance of a cluster against an image, see Checking Compliance Against a Single Image.
- You can use vSphere Lifecycle Manager recommended images.
When you manage a vSAN cluster with vSphere Lifecycle Manager images, the vSAN recommendation engine does not generate vSAN health alarms or recommendation baselines for that cluster. However, vSphere Lifecycle Manager generates pre-validated images include a recommended firmware version for the hosts in your vSAN cluster. For more information about vSphere Lifecycle Manager recommended images, see Recommended Images.