Today I was setting up a host profile and found them to be extremely lacking in two areas (probably more); distributed environments and vNetworking.
Distributed Environments: I currently work in a large distributed enterprise with multiple vDatacenters. Some items are standard across the enterprise, but there are site specific details that need to be configured. I thought, “hey, I can use a host profile for all these settings.” Wrong. A couple examples; default gateways, DNS servers, domain name, etc. You can set these items explicitly within the host profile or not configure them at all, but you cannot prompt the admin applying the profile to enter in this information. I find this to be a silly oversight on VMware’s part. Some items are configurable for user input during profile implementation, why not all of them?
vNetworking: I find this area to be equally disappointing. If you try to apply a host profile that has networking configuration set, and you DO NOT have those objects created, logic tells me those objects would be created. Wrong. Let’s go with another example: if I have a virtual Distributed Switch (vDS) that I want to configure and port groups on that vDS that I want to connect virtual NICS (vmkernal) to, the vDS and port groups must already be created. So if you deploy a new host you can’t just deploy a host profile and wash your hands of it. You must first create the vDS and their port groups prior to applying the host profile. If you don’t have those objects created and apply the profile, it will error out. Now, some of you might be saying that once you create a vDS and port groups it is done per datacenter and you won’t have any issues. Well, in my environment I have multiple datacenters and want to configure one profile to use for all datacenters in the enterprise.
Granted, host profiles are relatively new and there is a good deal of configuration that can be applied and a ton of use cases, but I need more. I hope the next major ESXi release (5.0?) will have more flexibility with host profiles.