Updating Free VMware EXSi

Overview

VMware regularly patch their free ESXi bare metal hypervisor. If you have the free version, then you can do this from the CLI, with the help of the (also free) VMware vSphere Client.

Steps:-

  • Download patch file
  • Shudown VM’s and put the Host into Maintenance mode
  • Enable SSH Server on Host
  • Copy patch file to host
  • Run the patch
  • Reboot

Download Patch File

You need to have a free VMware account to download the patch upgrade file. This is usually a zip.

To update from 6.0.0 to 6.0.0U1, it is called “update-from-esxi6.0-6.0_update01.zip”, and you can go here to grab it:

VMware patch search

When you search, you should be able to find the file and download it. Note that these instructions should also work for future versions.

Shudown VM’s and put the host into Maintenance mode

Simply shutdown your VM’s and right-click on the Host and “Enter Maintenance Mode”

Enable SSH Server on Host

Click on your Host –> Configuration (tab) –>  Software>Security Profile –> Properties…

VMware SSH enable

In the properties, go down to to “SSH”. If it is “Stopped” then click on the service property “Options” (bottom right), and start it up. I just have it set to the default “Start and stop manually”, as I only go in there to patch ESXi, and so start it when I need it. I have found that after a reboot, it is stopped by default.

You should now be able to able to SSH to your host. If you cannot, then go to the Firewall properties (see screenshot above), and make sure that the “SSH Server” checkbox is enabled.

Copy Patch File to Host

Use the vSphere Client to copy the patch file to the host:

ESXi data store

Don’t change directories – just dump into the root of your datastore:

ESXi data store file xfer

Run the Patch

On the CLI run this:

esxcli software vib update -d /vmfs/volumes/<datastore>/<file>.zip

…where <datastore> is the name of your datastore. For me it’s datastore1, so for me it is:

esxcli software vib update -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/update-from-esxi6.0-6.0_update01.zip

It shouldn’t take long.

Reboot

When you’re done just reboot, then take your host out of maintenance mode and start your VMs up.

 

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