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 vSphere Auto Deploy, and for certain custom upgrade operations.

The following technical terms are used throughout the vSphere documentation set in discussions of installation and upgrade tasks.

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 are available in software depots. You can use VIBs to create and customize ISO images or to upgrade ESXi hosts by installing VIBs asynchronously onto the hosts.

See SoftwarePackage Object Properties.

Image Profile

An image profile defines an ESXi image and consists of VIBs. An image profile always includes a base VIB, and might include more VIBs. You examine and define an image profile using the Image Builder PowerCLI.

See ImageProfile Object Properties.

Software Depot

A software depot is a collection of VIBs and image profiles. The software depot is a hierarchy of files and folders and can be available through an HTTP URL (online depot) or a ZIP file (offline depot). VMware and VMware partners make depots available. Companies with large VMware installations might create internal depots to provision ESXi hosts with vSphere Auto Deploy, or to export an ISO for ESXi installation.