The Image Builder PowerCLI supports management of vSphere image profiles and VIBs.

You can manage VIBs and image profiles with vSphere Image Builder. VIBs are software packages, and image profiles specify a set of software packages. See Software Depots and Their Components.

You use Image Builder cmdlets for managing the software to deploy to your ESXi hosts in several different scenarios.

Create image profiles for use by Auto Deploy.

Use Image Builder to create an image profile that defines the VIBs that Auto Deploy uses to provision hosts.

Add custom third-party drivers to existing image profile and export to ISO.

To add third-party driver or extension custom VIBs to your ESXi hosts, use Image builder to clone the base image provided by VMware, add the custom VIBs, and export to ISO.

Perform upgrades.

If you upgrade from a 4.0 or 4.1 system that includes custom extensions or drivers, you can use Image Builder to create an image profile that includes the vSphere 5.0 base VIB and the custom extensions. Export the custom image profile to an ISO you can install or to a ZIP that you can use with vSphere Update Manager.

Create custom images with reduced footprint.

Some customers require a minimal footprint image. These customers can clone the ESXi base image profile and remove VIBs using Image Builder.

The Image Builder PowerCLI cmdlets take image profiles and VIBs as input and produce different outputs.

Input.

Image profiles and VIBs that are located in a software depot are used as input to PowerCLI cmdlets running on a Windows client.

Output.

PowerCLI cmdlets create custom image profiles that can be exported to ISO or an offline depot ZIP file. ISO images are used for installation. The ZIP depot can be used by vSphere Update Manager or by esxcli software vib commands to update or install images. Image profiles are also used in vSphere Auto Deploy rules to specify the software to provision ESXi hosts with.

Image Builder Architecture
Image Builder takes an image profile and one or more VIBs as input and produces an ISO or a ZIP as output.