Objective 5.1 – Implement and Maintain Host Profiles

Use Profile Editor to edit and/or disable policies

To access/manage Host Profiles from the “Home” menu screen select “Host Profiles” under the “Management” section.

If you have any existing host profiles they will be listed in the left side navigation window. My “Dell” profile is listed, however if no profile is listed your only option will be to create a new profile. When selecting the profile the menu options become available to Clone Profile, Edit Profile, Delete host profile, and Attach Host/Cluster.


To edit a profile a select the profile and click “Edit Profile” from the menu:


Each host profile is composed of several sub-profiles. Each sub-profile contains many policies and compliance checks that describe the configuration that is relevant to the profile.

Each policy consists of one or more options that contains one or more parameters. The parameters consist of a key and a value. The value can be one of a few basic types, for example integer, string, string array or integer array.

Create sub-profiles

Open the Profile Editor for the profile you wish to edit, on the left side of the Profile Editor, expand a sub-profile until you reach the policy you want to edit (noted with a “folder” icon, right click the policy and select “Add Profile”:


A new profile will be created under the given target:


Expand the new policy till you receive the “Configuration Details” tab in the right pane, configure the new policy options:


Click OK save and close the Host Profile

Use Host Profiles to deploy vDS

Prior to deploying the host profile the target host most be in Maintenance Mode. The over view of deploying the vDS is as follows:

  • Create vDS (without any associated hosts)
  • Create Distributed Virtual Port Groups on vDS to match existing or required environment
  • Add host to vDS and migrate vmincs to dvUplinks and Virtual Ports DV Port Groups
  • Delete Standard Switch from host
  • Create Host Profile of Reference Host
  • Attach and apply host profile to candidate hosts
  • Migrate VM networking for VMs and take hosts out of Maintenance Mode

This host profile can then be used to add a vDS to other hosts it is attached to.

Use Host Profiles to deploy vStorage policies

You can configure ESXi host storage settings in a host profile using the profile’s storage configuration settings. This can be useful if you want to change storage configuration settings for a number of hosts at the same time, whilst ensuring consistency.

For example, you could use host profiles to set the PSP for a particular array type, or for a particular device.

These settings are found in the storage configuration settings area of the host profile. There are a number of configurable sub profiles:



There are a number of storage configuration settings available here, including adding/changing PSA claimrules:


You can set the default path selection policy for a given array type:



And you can configure the host’s software iSCSI initiator:


A few of the changes here, such as changes to storage claimrules, may require a reboot of the host before they will take affect.

Import/Export Host Profiles

Right clicking on a host profile will give you the option to export and save the profile as a .vpf file. If you want in import a .vpf click the create new profile link and select “import”:


Manage Answer Files

Answer files are used for ESXi hosts that are provisioned using VMware Auto Deploy, which is a new feature in vSphere 5. An answer files contains the ‘answers’ to settings in the Host Profile. For example what value to set the root password to. You access the answer file from the by select the Host Profile and then click on the “Hosts and Clusters” tab:



From the screenshot above you can see that answer file for each of my hosts is marked as “Complete”. The other two status options are “Unknown” and “Incomplete”. Each is defined as follows:

Incomplete – The answer file is missing some of the required user input answers
Complete – The answer file has all of the user input answers needed
Unknown – The host and associated profile exist but the status of the answer file is not known.

If you right click on the any host several options are available to work with for that hosts answer file:



  • Check Answer File – This confirms the status of the answer file. See descriptions above
  • Update Answer File – Allows you to enter or update the user input values for the host profile
  • Import Answer File – Allows you to import and exported answer file
  • Export Answer File – Allows you to export an answer file to be used with another host profile