vSphere Lifecycle Manager Feature Spotlight: Image Recommendations

January 13, 2022

vSphere Lifecycle Manager ensures clusters are are up to date with the latest vSphere release compatible with a cluster's host hardware. vSphere Lifecycle Manager generates recommendations in the form of pre-validated images that are compatible with the hosts in a cluster.

Recommended images are valid images that are based on the latest ESXi major or minor release. vSphere Lifecycle Manager recommends the latest supported release for the current version of ESXi a cluster is running and the latest major version of ESXi, if available. vSphere Lifecycle Manager provides recommended images for any cluster running ESXi 7.0, or later, and has additional benefits for vSAN clusters in the form of hardware and driver validation.

Use Case

vSphere Lifecycle Manager image recommendations simplify cluster image management, cluster lifecycle operations and reduce the time needed to consult compatibility guides by automatically generating compatible image recommendations for cluster updates and upgrades.

Image recommendations ensuring a vSAN cluster is always running a certified image. vSAN clusters are validated against the VMware Compatibility Guide for storage controller, driver and firmware compatibility and certification. vSphere Lifecycle Manager validates storage controller and disk compatibility for vSAN clusters and recommends versions that are certified as compatible.

Using Image Recommendations

Image recommendation notifications are viewed from the Updates tab of the ESXi cluster in the vSphere Client.

Select the notification to see more details about the recommendation. You can manually check for new recommendations and view recommendations from the ellipsis drop-down menu of the Image tile.

VCLM Check Recommended Images

In this example, vSphere Lifecycle Manager recommends version 7.0 U2d as the latest compatible version. Updates to the Vendor Addon and Components are included in the image recommendation. 

VLCM Image Recommendation

In this example, vSphere Lifecycle Manager recommends version 7.0b as the latest compatible version. A message stating incompatibility with version 7.0 U2d is displayed. In this instance, the Vendor Addon is not compatible with versions newer than 7.0b. A manual update to some Vendor Addons may be required.

VLCM Image Recommendation

Recommendations for Major ESXi Upgrades

As new versions of vSphere are released, vSphere Lifecycle Manager will recommend the latest supported release for the current version, as well as the latest supported release in the most recent version. Since vSphere 7 is currently the latest release available, let's take a look at a hypothetical scenario involving major ESXi upgrades.

In the table, we have Cluster A, Cluster B and Cluster C, all running ESXi 7.0 GA. In this scenario, we assume vSphere versions 8.0 and 9.0 have released.

(Note: Versions 8.0 and 9.0 are hypothetical examples of future versions for illustration purposes only. In this example, vCenter Server is running the hypothetical version 9.0)

VCLM Recommend Images Table

  • Cluster A supports all current releases in the 7.0 version, 8.0 version and 9.0 version. vSphere Lifecycle Manager recommends version 7.0 U2 as the latest release in the current version and version 9.0 as the latest supported next version. While Cluster A supports version 8.0, vSphere Lifecycle Manager will always recommend the latest supported version, thus not presenting a recommendation for version 8.0.
  • Cluster B supports version 7.0 and version 8.0. vSphere Lifecycle Manager recommends version 7.0 U2 as the latest release in the current version and version 8.0 U1 as the latest supported release in the next version.
  • Cluster C supports version 7.0 and does not support any future versions. vSphere Lifecycle Manager recommends version 7.0 U2 as the latest release in the current version. 

Summary

vSphere Lifecycle Manager ensures clusters are are up to date with the latest vSphere release compatible with a cluster's host hardware. vSphere Lifecycle Manager generates recommendations in the form of pre-validated images that are compatible with the hosts in a cluster. vSphere Lifecycle Manager recommends the latest supported release for the current version.

References

For more on recommended images in vSphere Lifecycle Manager, see the vSphere documentation about recommend images.

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