vSphere 6.7 ESXi upgrade

 In Product updates, Software, VMware

Last time we have performed update of VCSA from 6.5 to 6.7 and now it’s time for our ESXi serves.

As you probably know, there are basically three possible approaches so let’s have a look at them.

Update through CLI

In this case we will need SSH access to our ESXi server.

There is a small prerequisite. Before you continue with either online or offline method don’t forget to select SWAP location of your ESXi server. If you skip this step, the installation will fail.

Let’s have a look at current version installed

[root@esxi4:~] vmware -vl
VMware ESXi 6.5.0 build-5969303
VMware ESXi 6.5.0 Update 1

Now we will place our ESXi server into maintenance mode

[root@esxi4:~] esxcli system maintenanceMode set --enable true

Online method

If your ESXi servers have access to the internet we can easily update directly from VMware Online depot

First, we need to get the name of the Profile we will be installing

[root@esxi4:~] esxcli software sources profile list -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml
 | grep -i ESXi-6.7
ESXi-6.7.0-8169922-no-tools       VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported  2018-04-03T22:07:04  2018-04-03T22:07:04
ESXi-6.7.0-8169922-standard       VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported  2018-04-03T22:07:05  2018-04-03T22:07:05

And then just perform the update using selected Profile

[root@esxi4:~] esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.7.0-8169922-standard -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION
/main/vmw-depot-index.xml
Update Result
   Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.
   Reboot Required: true
   VIBs Installed: VMW_bootbank_ata-libata-92_3.00.9.2-16vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-amd_0.3.10-3vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-atiixp_0.4.6-4vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-cmd64x_0.2.5-3vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-hpt3x2n_0.3.4-3vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-pdc2027x_1.0-3vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-serverworks_0.4.3-3vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-sil680_0.4.8-3vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-via_0.3.3-2vmw.670.0.0.816992
...

That’s it, reboot the host, verify the version and disable maintenance mode

[root@esxi4:~] esxcli system shutdown reboot --reason "Update from 6.5 to 6.7"
[root@esxi4:~] vmware -vl
VMware ESXi 6.7.0 build-8169922
VMware ESXi 6.7.0 GA
[root@esxi4:~] esxcli system maintenanceMode set --enable false

Offline method

If you do not have access to the internet, you need to download offline depot installation files from VMware and upload those files to the datastore that is accessible by the host you are going to upgrade.

The only difference here is selecting the source of the profile so in this case we will use our local depot.

[root@esxi4:~] esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.7.0-8169922-standard -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/VMware-ESXi-6.7.0-8169922-depot.zip
Update Result
   Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.
   Reboot Required: true
   VIBs Installed: VMW_bootbank_ata-libata-92_3.00.9.2-16vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-amd_0.3.10-3vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-atiixp_0.4.6-4vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-cmd64x_0.2.5-3vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-hpt3x2n_0.3.4-3vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-pdc2027x_1.0-3vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-serverworks_0.4.3-3vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-sil680_0.4.8-3vmw.670.0.0.8169922, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-via_0.3.3-2vmw.670.0.0.816992
...

And again, reboot, verify version and disable maintenance mode

[root@esxi4:~] esxcli system shutdown reboot --reason "Update from 6.5 to 6.7"
[root@esxi4:~] vmware -vl
VMware ESXi 6.7.0 build-8169922
VMware ESXi 6.7.0 GA
[root@esxi4:~] esxcli system maintenanceMode set --enable false

ISO instalation media

Another possibility how to update ESXi host is over standard ISO installation media.

Reboot the host and during the boot process select our CDROM as a boot device instead local drive.

The installation wizard looks exactly the same as if you would be installing ESXi server on the blank device.

Once you hit the part where you select the installation device you can notice that in this time we have slightly different possibilities compared to clean install.

You have three options here

  • Upgrade ESXi, preserver VMFS datastore
  • Install ESXi, preserver VMFS datastore
  • Install ESXi, overwrite VMFS datastore

In my case I will preserve the local datastore and upgrade my ESXi host. This means that all configuration will be preserved and datastore will be kept intact as is so no harm to the VMs will be done.

The other two options will reinstall the server without leaving the configuration intact.

You can notice that during the final confirmation I will be performing updated.

And boom, we are running new version!

Update manager

This is my favorite approach and should be yours as well. Update Manager is a great tool to keeping your vSphere infrastructure up and running. In the past I have written article about UM so feel free to have a look at it if you are not familiar with the UM.

The approach with UM is quite simple. First you need to import ISO image of desired ESXi version to the UM itself.

Once the ISO is uploaded, you will create new Host Upgrade Baseline and attach it to your cluster you want to upgrade.

And finally remediate action that will actually perform rolling reboot of all your ESXi hosts within the cluster and install the new version of ESXi

That’s it. No matter what approach you have used you should always end up with your ESXi hosts upgraded to vSphere 6.7

I hope that you have enjoyed this little series and feel free to post any recommendations or dead-ends you have observed in your environments!

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