May 16, 2024

Updating VCF Workload Domains deployed using vLCM Images

VMware Cloud Foundation supports ESXi host clusters deployed with either Update Manager baselines or vLCM images. Read this post to get an overview of the differences and see a demo of updating the management domain configured with a vLCM image.

One of the key benefits of VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) is the orchestrated lifecycle management of infrastructure elements, including VMware vCenter Server, ESXi, and NSX.

When it comes to managing the ESXi cluster, there are currently two different solutions. The traditional approach with Update Manager (VUM) baselines was deprecated with the release of vSphere 8 in favor of vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM), introduced in vSphere 7.

VCF has supported the deployment and management of workload domains that use vLCM images since the VCF 4.x release. And with VCF 5.1, customers could also deploy new VCF instances with management domains based on vLCM images as well.

Benefits of vLCM Clusters

One of the key differences between vLCM images and legacy baselines is that images facilitate managing at the vSphere cluster level instead of targeting individual hosts. This brings consistency to the cluster and provides a declarative model that applies not only to the ESXi hypervisor but also to vendor addons such as drivers as well as integration with firmware management so that the entire lifecycle of a physical host can be managed. This will improve the overall reliability, performance, and security posture of your private cloud.

Workflow Differences

Baselines and images have similar, but not identical, workflows when it comes to applying VCF updates. When using images, there is an additional step of extracting an image from a cluster. It’s straightforward, once you understand the flow. To see an overview of the process, take a look at this short technical demo:


Since legacy VUM baselines are deprecated, it’s important to shift new workload domain deployments to vLCM images in order to be ready for the future. As of VCF 5.1, vLCM images can be used with both the management domain and workload domains. VCF administrators need to understand how the upgrade workflows differ between baseline and image domains.

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