The vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot is the source of software updates for vSphere Lifecycle Manager. Conceptually, the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot represents all software available for consumption to vSphere Lifecycle Manager.

This book uses multiple terms related to the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot.

Table 1. vSphere Lifecycle Manager Depot and Related Terminology
Term Definition
The vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot All software available to vSphere Lifecycle Manager. The vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot is a local depot on the vCenter Server machine. It contains all the content from the online and offline depots that you use with vSphere Lifecycle Manager.
Online and offline depots Formats for software distribution that software vendors use. Online depots are accessible through a URL. Offline depots are ZIP files that you download and import to the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot.
Download sources The vSphere Lifecycle Manager download sources are the Internet or, in air-gap scenarios, a UMDS-created shared repository. If you configure vSphere Lifecycle Manager to use the Internet, then the download sources are practically all online depots that you use for downloading software.

You can work with vSphere Lifecycle Manager images and baselines only if the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot contains software packages. For example, ESXi base images, vendor add-ons, third-party components, and legacy patches and updates. For more information about ESXi base images, vendor add-ons, components, and patches, see Software Packages and Distribution Formats in vSphere 7.0.

You control how the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot gets populated with software. You can configure vSphere Lifecycle Manager to download updates from online depots, or a UMDS-created shared repository. Alternatively, you can use offline depots to import updates into the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot. For more information about the different types of depots that vSphere Lifecycle Manager can use, see Types of Depots.

Synchronization is the process through which the contents of the online depots that you configure vSphere Lifecycle Manager to use get into the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot. During synchronization, only the software metadata is downloaded. The actual payloads are downloaded when they are needed.

Import is the operation through which the contents of an offline bundle get into the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot. During an import operation, both the software metadata and the actual payloads are downloaded into the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot.

By default, vSphere Lifecycle Manager is configured to use the official VMware online depot as a download source for software updates. In vSphere 7.0, the official VMware online depot contains ESXi images, OEM add-ons, drivers, and async VMware Tools releases. You can configure ESXi to use additional online depots for components. You can also change the default download source and use a UMDS-created shared repository.

All software updates hosted in the official VMware online depot are also available as offline bundles, which you can download from my.vmware.com and import manually to the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot.