Upgrading ESXi 5.X, the easy way

I am currently in the process of collecting the several pieces I need for my next lab upgrade (shared storage for my ESXi hosts) and as part of my preparation I needed to upgrade my hosts to the latest version of ESXi. I spent about 45 minutes reading through all of the documentation on upgrading and then attempting to find the upgrade tool mentioned in VMware documentation. Through my search I discovered a very simple way to upgrade 5.x

  1. Download the update zip from VMware.
  2. Upload the update image to a Datastore on the host with the following steps:
    1. Browse to Configuration > Hardware > Storage
    2. Right click on the Datastore where you want to store the image and click on “Browse Datastore…”:ESUP1
    3. Upload the update file:ESUP2
  3. Once uploaded, turn down all VMs and put the host into maintenance mode.
  4. SSH to the ESXi host (may require SSH to be turned on) and enter the following command:
    esxcli software vib install -d /UPDATE_LOCATION/UPDATE_NAME.zip
  5. After the upgrade finishes you will see a similar screen:esxi upgrade
  6. Reboot
  7. Once your host finishes booting you are all set and ready to turn up your VMs (don’t forget to exit maintenance mode)!

I was able to use this method to upgrade my 5.1 host and my 5.5U1 host to 5.5U2 in a manner of minutes (the 5.1 host took a little longer to come back after the reboot, just give it time).

As always, test before implanting anything in production, make proper backups, verify upgrade paths, etc.

Happy upgrading!

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