I was setting up another vSphere 8 environment in my homelab using my handy Automated vSphere & vSAN 8 Lab Deployment Script and I was reminded of another vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) question that I had received during VMware Explore Barcelona 2022.
The question was about configuring vCenter Server that would include full vLCM functionality in an air-gapped environment, where internet connectivity would not be available directly or in-directly through the use of a network proxy. Today, the VMware HCL database that is integrated with vLCM can only be synchronized when when your vCenter Server is connected to VMware's online repository when VMware's Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) is enabled.
To synchronize the VMware HCL database using the vSphere UI, navigate to the vLCM administrator page and under Actions, select the Sync HCL operation, which will download the latest HCL database from VMware's online repo. You can also automate this using the vLCM REST API with the Update Compatibility Data Task API.
Here is a quick PowerCLI snippet performing the same operation but using the API instead:
Connect-CiSServer -Server vcsa.primp-industries.local -user administrator[at]vsphere[dot]local -Password VMware1! $hclCompatDataService = Get-CisService -Name com.vmware.esx.hcl.compatibility_data $hclLastUpdateOnline = $hclCompatDataService.get().updated_at $hclCompatDataService.'update$task'()
However, for environments that can not connect to VMware's online repo, this poses a big operational challenge, especially for those looking to transition from vSphere Update Manager (VUM) to vLCM. For the vSAN HCL, we already provide a solution for air-gapped environments by providing an offline copy of the vSAN HCL database which detailed in VMware KB 2145116.
If a connected vCenter Server can download the VMware HCL that vLCM uses, I figure it should also be possible to replicate that behavior for an air-gapped environment? 🤔