Welcome to the Community,
What is the main advantage in using them? Is it only hardware sensors etc.?
And are there disadvantages from using vendor customized versions?
It's about hardware specific sensors, tools, and drivers.
What also comes into play is support. It's not VMware who validates the hardware, but the vendors.
For newer server models, the default VMware image may not even work, due to missing drivers.
Whenever possible, I recommend to use the vendor customized installation image.
Can HP servers mixed with Dell for example and both using their vendor customized images?
Yes, the base is the same, it's just the vendor specific additions that work best with the specific vendor's hardware.
Can we update from HP image to native VMWare images later on again?
Most vendors provide a customized installation image for a specific version, and update level (e.g. ESXi 6.5 Update 2).
They usually support VMware patches based on their image/level.
Once a new "Update x" version becomes available, you should use the vendor's image, or offline bundle to patch the host.
Thank you very much!
If I understand you correctly, everyone is using the vendor images instead of the vanilla image from VMWare, just for the better hardware specific sensors, tools, and drivers?
So what is with patching. If there is a fix from VMWare. Is there any problem or delay in getting it, when running on customized vendor installations? Or makes this no difference?
Also, are there anything problematic with getting VMWare support, when running on customized installations?
Anyone else any other interessting thoughts about this disscussion?
not sure about others but I always use the latest ESXi image from server manufacturer's website - which is typically Dell in my case.
Same applies to running updates. I typically schedule an update a few weeks after a new ISO appears on Dell website. I only install it on one host or cluster, let it run for a week and then update the rest.
If there is a critical patch which would take Dell a long time to test and publish, I apply only the required patch using this guide from VMware Knowledge Base. Again, one host only. I do the rest after I verify that everything works.
It is also possible to use blank VMware image and install all the VIBs manually but I don't think it's worth the effort. I never had problems getting support from VMware but I've had problems with Dell when not running their image. One of the first questions from their L1 support will always be "are you running Dell image"? If you say no, it's super easy for them just to blame VMware :-)