Auto Deploy is a new method for provisioning ESXi hosts in vSphere 5.1. At a high level the ESXi host boots over the network (using PXE/gPXE), contacts the Auto Deploy Server which loads ESXi into the hosts memory. After loading the ESXi image the Auto Deploy Server coordinates with vCenter Server to configure the host (using Host Profiles and Answer Files (answer files are new in 5.0). Auto Deploy eliminates the need for a dedicated boot device, enables rapid deployment for many hosts, and also simplifies ESXi host management by eliminating the need to maintain a separate “boot image” for each host.
Image profiles and VIBs are available in software depots from VMware or from VMware partners, and managed using the Image Builder PowerCLI. You can use software depots, image profiles, and software packages (VIBs) to specify the software you want to use during installation or upgrade of an ESXi host. Understanding how depots, profiles, and VIBs are structured and where you can use them is a prerequisite for in-memory installation of a custom ESXi ISO, for provisioning ESXi hosts using VMware Auto Deploy, and for some custom upgrade operations.
VIB A VIB is an ESXi software package. VMware and its partners package solutions, drivers, CIM providers, and applications that extend the ESXi platform as VIBs.
VIBs can be used to create and customize ISO images or installed asynchronously onto ESXi hosts. VIBs are available from software depots.
Image Profile An image profile defines an ESXi image and consists of VIBs (software packages). An image profile always includes a base VIB, and might include
additional VIBs. You examine and define an image profile using the Image Builder PowerCLI.