VMware: How to upgrade ESXi 5.x to ESXi 6.x

After we have upgrade our from 5.x to 6.x, we now need to upgrade our hosts. We can upgrade using a ISO image directly boot the host and manually go trough the process and upgrade the , or we can use the VMware Update Manager to do this automatically. We will explain both processes in this article.

Note: Before we start, again I need to inform that for security reasons, I need to erase some of the information in some images. Since I have have taken this images in the production environment.

Information: Be aware that some ESXi versions, needs vCenter update before ESXi. So before you begin check in VMware KB if your version needs vCenter upgrade before any upgrade in ESXi. ESXi will not be able to reconnect to your vCenter until you upgrade your vCenter to the right version.

1- Upgrade to ESXi using VMware Update Manager(VUM):

First we need to upload our ESXi 6.0 ISO to our Update Manager so that VUM can use this image to upgrade our ESXi. Connect to your vCenter using Client Tool and go to VUM (Home – Solution and Applications – Update Manager)

Note: To use VMware Update Manager  to upgrade or apply patches in ESXi hosts needs we need o use the vSphere Client tool and not Web Client(Web Client doesn’t have Remediate button) Choose “ESXi Images” Tab and click in “Import ESXi Image”

Just choose your ISO image and upload to VUM In our case, since these are HP hosts, I will add a HP ESXi image ( same with DELL ESXi image )

Now the upload process will start. Wait until is finish with success.

 

After the import is finish you need to create a Baseline(if you don’t any in the ESXi Images) that you need to attach to the hosts that will use this upgrade process.

After we upload the image and create the Baseline upgrade, we need now to attach now this new Baseline to our servers, or cluster.

We go back to Host and Clusters and choose tab Update Manager. Select your Cluster, or hosts that you want to attach to this Baseline(in this case the hosts that we will upgrade), then click Attach(upper right corner). In this case we choose to select the Cluster(and consequently all the hosts inside will be attached)

Then select the Baseline you want to attach. For this case is the one that we created while importing the ISO image, with the name ESXi 6.0. Click Attach button

After the Cluster/Hosts are attached to the Baseline we will start the upgrade.

Select again the same Cluster(or the host if you did attached by host) click the Remediate button that is in lower right corner.

Next select upgrade Baselines and then select the proper Baseline(in this case we only have the one we have created ESXi 6.0, and all host will be displayed) and then click Next.

Nest just check all the informations and change what you need for your environment(like move VMs before upgrade, etc. In this case all VMs were power down and hosts were already in Maintenance Mode)

In our case we had this warning. Since we have in this cluster some HP G7, G8 and G9, the upgrade is informing that we should enable Enhanced vMotion Compatibility(EVC) in this cluster.

If you are not so familiar with VMware EVC, you should take a look HERE

Then just click Finish and start the upgrade process.

If you look at the tasks(in the bottom of your vSphere Client Tool), you should see the upgrade task running.

After this, VUM will start the upgrade in the hosts one by one.

In this case, in 8 hosts, 2 did not finish properly. So I decided to upgrade them manually.

2 – Upgrade to ESXi 6.0 using Boot ISO image:

We our case we have a HP G7 to upgrade, so we will use iLO to do this.

Choose and Add the ISO image to the Virtual Drives of your iLO console

Choose the ISO image.

Reboot, or power on the and then click F11 to start the Boot Menu

Choose 1 to boot from the CD-ROM

Then start to install/upgrade ESXi.

The installation will start to scan any previous installations and .

In this case this HP G7 one SD Card with 4Gb(is where ESXi 5.5 is installed) and 2 local volumes with 300Gb and 1Tb. Since we have some VMs in the local Volumes, we need to leave this untouchable so that we don’t lose any VMs or Data.

We will select the SD Card.

But before we click Enter, we will press F1 to check the details on the SD Card. This will give us the information of the ESXi that is installed in this volume. Or if we have doubts where the ESXi is installed, we can just click F1 in each Volume to give the details.

After confirmed that ESXi 5.5 is in this Volume, we just select the Volume and click Enter and continue with the upgrade.

After the installation recognize that is a previous ESXi installation on that volume we have the option to do a fresh install(will format and do a clean install), or just select the Upgrade option. In our case we are upgrading, so lets just select Upgrade and continue.

Confirm pressing F11 and continue.

After the Upgrade process will start and Finish

After is finish, just remove the ISO image from the iLO Virtual Driver, if not host will boot again with the ISO and the installation process.

And now ESXi is upgrade to ESXi 6.0.

Note: Using VUM or manually ISO image to upgrade your hosts sometimes after an upgrade the host cannot connect to the vCenter and the host stays gray-out and says disconnect in the vCenter hosts lists, in this case just right click(wait around 5m after the host is power up) in the host and select the option Connect(this will force the host to reconnect to the vCenter).

3- Upgrade to ESXi using command line

The first method will show you how to have each ESXi host the update directly from VMware and then upgrade itself while the second method shows how to the update, place it on a datastore accessible to the host, then upgrade the host.

Upgrade ESXi 6.0 via command line using VMware Online Depot

Using the VMware Online Depot is a simple way to upgrade if you only have 1 or 2 ESXi hosts to do, perfect for a small home lab .

  1. Place the host you want to upgrade into Maintenance Mode.
  2. On the host you’re about to upgrade, go to the Configuration tab > Security Profile and Enable under Services.
  3. Open PuTTY (or any other SSH client) and SSH into your host.
  4. Type the following command to open the for outgoing HTTP requests:
    esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
  5. Type the following command to download and upgrade to the latest version of ESXi 6.0 (as of April 10, 2015)
    esxcli software profile update -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml -p ESXi-6.0.0-20150404001-standard
  6. Once the above completes reboot your host by typing:
    reboot
  7. After the host has been rebooted PuTTy back into the host and disable the HTTP firewall rule by typing:
    esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient
  8. Doesn’t hurt to also disable SSH when you’re done for security purposes.

That’s it, your ESXi host has how been upgraded to the latest ESXi 6.0 build, as of April 10, 2015, which does include the newest set of patches found in KB 2111975.

Use the Offline Bundle zip file to upgrade ESXi 6.0 using command line.

Using this process will allow you upgrade your ESXi hosts fairly quickly without the need of having to download the update each time on every host as the above process does.

  1. Download the ESXi 6.0 offline bundle zip file.
  2. Upload the VMware-ESXi-6.0.0-2494585-depot.zip file to a datastore accessible by the host.
  3. Now place the host you want to upgrade into Maintenance Mode.
  4. Then on the host you’re about to upgrade, go to the Configuration tab > Security Profile and Enable SSH under Services.
  5. Open PuTTY (or any other SSH client) and SSH into your host.
  6. Type the following command, replace “DATASTORE” with the name of your datastore you uploaded the VMware-ESXi-6.0.0-2494585-depot.zip file to.
    esxcli software vib update -d /vmfs/volumes/DATASTORE/VMware-ESXi-6.0.0-2494585-depot.zip
  7. Once the above completes reboot your host by typing:
    reboot

That’s it, now enjoy your newly upgraded ESXi hosts to ESXi 6.0.

Hope this article can you help upgrading from ESXi 5.5(or 5.0) to ESXi 6.0 with both options.

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