Depending on whether you want to use baselines or images for software lifecycle management, you must comply with a different set of requirements. To achieve your goals, you must also know the specifics in behavior and limitations that vSphere Lifecycle Manager has.

Table 1. Requirements for Using vSphere Lifecycle Manager
Scenario Requirements
Using a single image to manage a cluster.
  • All ESXi hosts in the cluster must be of version 7.0 and later.
  • All ESXi hosts in the cluster must be stateful.

    A stateful install is one in which the host boots from a disk.

  • All ESXi hosts in the cluster must be from the same vendor and with identical hardware.

    Different generations and models of servers need different software drivers, which implies that you must set up different vSphere Lifecycle Manager images to manage each generation or model. However, with vSphere Lifecycle Manager, you use one single image for the entire cluster. Also, vSphere Lifecycle Manager does not detect and handle the hardware differences between the hosts in the cluster.

    You can use a vSphere Lifecycle Manager image to manage a heterogeneous cluster only if the vSphere Lifecycle Manager image for the cluster includes vendor customization, for example a vendor or firmware add-on, that can address and handle the hardware differences across the hosts in the cluster, which is a rare scenario.

  • If you want to use DPU devices for network acceleration, all hosts in the cluster must have a DPU device from the same vendor and of the same model. You cannot add a host without a DPU device to a cluster of DPU-backed hosts.
  • The cluster must include only integrated solutions. For example:
    • VMware vSAN™
    • VMware vSphere® High Availability (HA)
    • vSphere with Tanzu
    • NSX
Using a single image to manage a standalone host.
  • The standalone ESXi host must be of version 7.0 and later.
  • The standalone ESXi host must be stateful.

    A stateful install is one in which the host boots from a disk.

  • The host must include only integrated solutions. For example, the witness host for a vSAN stretch cluster must be a standalone host. For more information, see the vSAN Planning and Deployment documentation and vSAN Clusters and vSphere Lifecycle Manager.
Using baselines and baseline groups to manage a cluster or a host.
  • To use baselines for ESXi host patching operations, vSphere Lifecycle Manager works with ESXi 6.7, ESXi 7.0, and ESXi 8.0.
  • To use baselines for ESXi host upgrade operations, vSphere Lifecycle Manager works withESXi 6.7, ESXi 7.0, and their respective Update releases.
Switching from using baselines to using a single image to manage a cluster or a host.
  • The cluster or the standalone host must meet the requirements for using an image.
  • The cluster or the standalone host must be eligible for the transition.

    For more information about the Check cluster's eligibility to be managed with a single image and Check host's eligibility to be managed with a single image tasks, see Cluster or Standalone Host Eligibility to Use vSphere Lifecycle Manager Images.

Upgrading virtual machine hardware and VMware Tools

For VMware Tools and virtual machine hardware upgrade operations, vSphere Lifecycle Manager works with ESXi 6.7, ESXi 7.0, and ESXi 8.0.