Transitioning from Host Profiles to vSphere Configuration Profiles (Technology Preview)

vSphere Configuration Profiles is a new capability in vSphere 8.0, that allows Administrators to manage the host configuration at a cluster level.

The earlier article, Configuration Management using vSphere Configuration Profiles, had detailed the basics of this capability, requirements for use of this capability in vSphere 8.0, and how to enable its use on a newly created vLCM cluster. In this article, we will discuss how this feature compares to Host Profiles, and how to transition from Host Profiles to vSphere Configuration Profiles.


Important: vSphere Configuration Profiles is available  in vSphere 8 as a Technology Preview. It is supported, with limitations, but not feature complete. See below for those limitations.


 

Transitioning from Host Profiles

vSphere Configuration Profiles is a great enhancement over the current Host Profiles technology, in its ability to manage host configurations. Host Profiles is made unwieldy by its requirement, that the host configuration needs to be specified in its entirety. This places an undue burden on Administrators, who may only be aware of the changes that they want to make to the configuration. vSphere Configuration Profiles, in contrast, only requires the admin to define the changes to the default configuration. This also makes the configuration document human-readable and much more manageable

Administrators currently managing host configurations using Host Profiles on a cluster whose lifecycle is managed by vLCM, can transition their clusters to use vSphere Configuration Profiles instead. Let’s walk through the transition.


Note: If the cluster is still using baseline-based life-cycle management, you must first convert the cluster to use image-based life-cycle management.


 

Manage Configuration at Cluster Level

Start with enabling vSphere Configuration Profiles on the cluster. Navigate to Cluster > Configure > Configuration. Click on Create Configuration. This will run eligibility checks to make sure cluster can be transitioned to vSphere Configuration Profiles.

Transition Cluster to use vSphere Configuration Profiles

Figure 1 shows the option to start using vSphere Configuration Profiles on an existing cluster.

Note: If the cluster has a Host Profile attached to it, you will see a warning to remove the Host Profile once the cluster has been transitioned to vSphere Configuration Profiles. Once the transition is completed, Host Profiles cannot be attached to the cluster, or to hosts within the cluster.

You can also use this workflow, even if you are currently not using Host Profiles.


 

Create Configuration

Next, specify the cluster configuration, that vSphere Configuration Profiles should use. You have 2 options on how to do this.

  1. Import it from a reference host
  2. Import a JSON file that has the desired cluster configuration.

Since we are transitioning a cluster that is managed by Host Profiles, the preferred approach is to use the “IMPORT FROM REFERENCE HOST” option. You can choose any ESXi host in the cluster as reference host, since all hosts should already be compliant to the Host Profile that was in use.

Transition Cluster to use vSphere Configuration Profiles

Figure 2 shows the import options.

Click Import.

Transition Cluster to use vSphere Configuration Profiles

Figure 3 shows choosing a reference host.

Once the document is imported, Click Next.

The Import process validates the generated document against all ESXi hosts in the cluster. If there are any validation errors, you can click on “Export Configuration” to export the JSON document.

Export Configuration Schema” allows you to download the JSON schema for this document. The JSON document along with the schema can be used to fix the validation errors.

Once the errors are fixed, the document can be imported by using the “Import Configuration” option.

Once the document validates successfully, Click Next.

Transition Cluster to use vSphere Configuration Profiles

Figure 4 shows the configuration validation.

Pre-check and Apply

In the last step, check hosts in the cluster for compliance to the desired configuration, and remediate any drifts found during the compliance check.

Review the impact to the hosts that applying the configuration changes will have. Click Finish and Apply.

Transition Cluster to use vSphere Configuration Profiles

Figure 5 shows the impact preview.

Click Continue. At this point, the generated document will be set and desired configuration of the cluster and any ESXi host that are not in compliance with the desired configuration will be remediated.

Transition Cluster to use vSphere Configuration Profiles

Figure 6 shows the finish and apply confirmation dialog.

vSphere Configuration Profiles is now enabled and you can review the configurations that have been set.

Transition Cluster to use vSphere Configuration Profiles

Figure 7 shows the compliant configuration.

The entire transition workflow described above, can be paused, and resumed later. The transition workflow can be canceled using the Cancel button, and the entire workflow can be restarted.

Demo

 

Summary

We realize managing ESXi configurations to be compliant to a specified desired configuration is a challenge in customer environments. vSphere Configuration Profiles is a new capability in vSphere 8.0, that addresses this challenge.

Customers that use vSphere Standard Switch (VSS); can transition from using Host Profiles to vSphere Configuration Profiles now. We will continue to evolve this feature in upcoming releases, to support vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS) as well.

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