When vSphere was released in 2009 one of the new features included in it was the concept of Host Profiles. Recently I have done some additional readings on this feature in regard to where it can help admins as well as benefits and limitations.
What a Host Profile provides is a method a define a standard configuration (profile) and then apply that configuration to additional hosts or clusters in your environment. This can help simplify a virtual admins time to deploy new hosts in their infrastructure. It also assists with compliance and keeping standard configurations. As an infrastructure grows and more hosts are deployed this becomes more very beneficial and optimizes resources.
To use Host Profiles you must have an Enterprise Plus license. They must be attached to a host or cluster first before they can be applied to another host or cluster. You can do that by Right-Clicking on the host from your vSphere client attached to vCenter. In addition a host must be in Maintenance Mode before a host profile can be applied.
The Host Profile is defined through a Policy Editor is a tree type structure with each node of the tree being various configuration categories.
Areas which can be set in Host Profiles include:
- Memory Reservations ( Service Console )
- NFS Data Stores
- vSwitch Configuration
- Users and Group Profiles
- Port Groups
- NTP Settings
- Host Networking
- VMKernel Creation
- vSphere Advanced Configuration Option
Some Areas Not Covered include:
- iSCSI storage
Another nice benefit of using Host Profiles is you can check your hosts for compliance against the defined profile and it will notify you if any changes has been made that are different. This can be very helpful in maintaining configuration standards and identifying and deviations.
On the Host and Clusters tab it will show the current status (if compliant or not ) as well as the Last Time Checked. You can recheck for compliance to rescan the settings.
Some limitations do exist with using Host Profiles that you should be aware of. You may have some issues if you have both ESX and ESXi hosts within the same cluster and are trying to use Host Profiles. Also you can only use a single host profile per cluster.