Host Profiles allow you to take an existing host configuration and overlay it onto your ESX/i servers. They also allow you to determine if a host has changed from its original design and help to ensure that all your hosts are identically configured.

What makes up a Host Profile ?

A Host Profile is comprised of two parts:

  1. Configuration details: describes policies that govern how a host config should look including details about each specific configuration setting.
  2. Compliance details: describes a set of checks that are performed to ensure that the host is configured as specified in the profile.

Users new to Host Profiles should begin by familiarizing themselves with the VMware technical paper: Host Profiles Technical Overview

Host Profile Tips:

  • Ensure that all hosts can see the same data stores, and have the same pathing policy configured.
  • VMware recommends using a static IP address to simplify client access.
  • In order to create an ESXi 5.0 host profile from vCenter Server 5.1, you must first have an ESXi 5.0 host in which to apply the profile.
  • When starting a new deployment with mixed ESX and ESXi Hosts: Use an ESX host as the reference host and apply the Host Profile from this host to your ESX and ESXi Hosts.
  • When adding an ESXi host to a vSphere deployment that previously held only ESX hosts, use a host profile created from an ESX host.
  • When adding an ESX host to a vSphere deployment that previously held only ESXi hosts, use a host profile created from an ESXi host.
  • Keep your ESX and ESXi hosts separately managed by different host profiles.

KB Articles on Host Profiles:

One more interesting tidbit can be found on the topic over on this blog: Grappling With vSphere 5 Host Profiles (external).