In VMware vSphere 4, a host profile captures the configuration of a physical ESX host that you have perfected, including network, storage and security settings. The Host Profile View—shown here—is where host profiles are created and managed. In the lower left you see the first step in the Create Profile Wizard: Here, I am creating a host profile from an existing host that I’ve custom-configured for eWEEK Labs.
3Specify Reference Host
Since I’m creating a host profile from an existing system, it makes sense that I have to tell the vSphere 4 wizard which host to use. The reference physical system must have ESX or ESXi 4 installed on it, and it must be in maintenance mode. Host profiles won’t work with any previous versions of VMware virtual infrastructure products.
4Ready to Complete the Profile
5More on Host Profile
Host profiles must be created by an experienced VMware virtualization expert. This isn’t because the technical process is difficult, but because the host profile will be used to create many more systems in the future. You can see at the bottom of the screen that this is where you can edit or export a host profile.
7Apply Profile to Another Host
The first step in applying a host profile is to put the target host into maintenance mode. Here you see I have all of my ESX hosts (which are a mix of HP and Sun servers, all running Intel Xeon 5500 series processors with 12GB RAM) in maintenance mode. In the next step I’ll apply the profile I created from Host .104 to Host .106.
8Not So Fast …
Before a host profile can be applied, it must first be attached. “Attachment,” from what I could see in my tests, is a manual process that makes the profile available to specific hosts. Again, this is an operation that requires an expert understanding of vSphere operations, since host profiles will be appropriate for some systems but not for others based on the physical configuration and intended purpose of the host. Here you see that I’ve attached the host profile I created from Host .104 to all of the other hosts in my “T2_cluster” vSphere cluster.
9Just Before Application
10Configuration Changes to Apply
12Using Host Profiles for Compliance
Compliance checking is done through the same interface that I used when I applied the host profile. Here you see (from left to right) that I’ve selected Host .108, Host Profile and Check Compliance. Because I’ve deleted the storage networking adapter from this host, I expect to get a warning that the system is out of compliance. (Just for reference, you may notice in the lower right that a just completed compliance check was successful, as indicated by the green dot with a check mark in it.)
I’ve reselected Host .108 and have started to apply the host profile. In this screen, you see that the networking components that were missing must have some IP address information. Since I use static IP addresses on these systems, I’m about to supply that information at this point in the host profile wizard.