The vSphere Auto Deploy stateless caching feature lets you cache the host's image. The vSphere Auto Deploy stateful installs feature lets you install hosts over the network. After the initial network boot, these hosts boot like other ESXi hosts.

The stateless caching solution is primarily intended for situations when several hosts boot simultaneously. The locally cached image helps prevent a bottleneck that results if several hundreds of hosts connect to the vSphere Auto Deploy server simultaneously. After the boot operation is complete, hosts connect to vSphere Auto Deploy to complete the setup.

The stateful installs feature lets you provision hosts with the image profile over the network without having to set up the PXE boot infrastructure.

You can use the System Cache Configuration host profile to provision hosts with vSphere Auto Deploy stateless caching and stateful installs.

When you want to use vSphere Auto Deploy with stateless caching or stateful installs, you must set up a host profile, apply the host profile, and set the boot order.

When a host is set up to use stateless caching, the host uses a cached image if the vSphere Auto Deploy Server is not available. To use stateless caching, you must configure a host profile. You can apply that host profile to other hosts that you want to set up for stateless caching.

To set up a host provisioned with vSphere Auto Deploy to boot from disk, you must configure a host profile. You can apply that host profile to other hosts that you want to set up for stateful installs.