How to upgrade from VMware vSphere 6.7 to vSphere 7.0, vCenter/VCSA first, then ESXi host(s) next

Posted by Paul Braren on Apr 2 2020 (updated on Apr 18 2020) in
  • ESXi
  • HowTo
  • HomeLab
  • Virtualization
  • vSphere7
  • 2020-04-03_18-57-26
    A nice dark-mode view of the TinkerTry Datacenter, consisting of 3 Xeon D-1500 systems and 1 Xeon D-2100 system.

    This is a placeholder, where I'll be describing the process of install, featuring most walk-through video for now.

    If you've done these updates before, this library of walk-through videos below will give you a look at how the process of upgrading to vSphere 7 works, doing your vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) first, then your ESXi host(s) next.


    Updating from vSphere 6.5.x or 6.7.x to vSphere 7.0

    Step 1 - Update VCSA

    How to seamlessly update VMware vCenter Server Appliance/VCSA from 6.7 to 7.0, no IP or DNS change!

    Step 2 - Update ESXi host(s) via VMware Lifecycle Manager - Preferred


    Lifecycle Manager is the (ESXi update) "artist" formerly known as Update Manager.

    YouTube - recorded Apr 04 2020 - How to Upgrade to ESXi 7.0 using VMware vSphere Lifecycle Manager

    If you prefer screenshots, see this excellent vMiss article to ESXi 6.7 using Update Manager which is probably close enough for you to follow along. I might try to produce screenshots from my upgrade video at a later date.

    Step 2 - Update ESXi host(s) via ESXCLI - Alternative

    Quick-and-easy, but you really must do an image backup of your ESXi itself since this method doesn't really have a robust roll-back. This is crucial if you're in a home lab and you have no official VMware support. Having a USB clone of your boot device will ensure you that you can absolutely roll back to your prior ESXi 6.x release, should things not work out on 7.0 for you for whatever reason, before considering an upgrade, see also ESXi Hardware Requirements and the VMware Compatibility Guide.

    Step-by-step video showing me upgrading my SYS-5028D-TN4T Bundle based on the Xeon D-1541, going from 6.7U3 to 7.0 in my home lab.

    How to update any 6.x VMware ESXi Hypervisor to 7.0 using ESXCLI for easy download and install

    Future articles?

    • Fresh install of vSphere 7
    • Step 1 - Installing ESXi 7.0
      Coming soon, on Xeon D-1500 definitely and on Xeon D-2100 maybe.

    • Step 2 - Installing VCSA 7.0
      TBD, but pretty much the similar to my update video.

    Apr 06 2020 Update

    Changed title from:
    How to smoothly upgrade from VMware vSphere 6.7 to vSphere 7.0
    How to upgrade from VMware vSphere 6.7 to vSphere 7.0, vCenter/VCSA first, then ESXi host(s) next

    Apr 09 2020 Update


    ESXi host Time & date actions menu not working in 7.0 host client – Workaround


    Apr 10 2020 Update

    Excerpt from my just-published video:

    ESXi 7.0 GA (Build 15843807) first became available just a week ago, and I've heard from another 7.0 home lab enthusiast who is also experiencing this GPU-passthrough-configuration-not persisting-through-reboots issue, a behavior that wasn't there with the same hardware on 6.7.x. At least we now have a documented work-around, with this video produced on the Win10 VM/Hardware 17 you just watched me fix.

    My upgrade of my 4 Xeon D hosts to 7.0 has actually gone quite well overall, this GPU use case is likely a corner case.

    The net of it is that if you also experience your GPU passthrough configuration not sticking through reboots, you're not alone.

    I also noticed that the vSphere Client behavior for PCI Devices didn't match up with the ESXi Host Client behavior, which is a bit disconcerting. That issue I was also gladly able to work around.

    I am attempting to share these GPU passthrough issues with VMware Support, which isn't possible with 3 of the 4 download/licensing options in my vSphere 7.0 download article. I'm working on coming up with the best way forward.

    TinkerTry YouTube Channel - Apr 09 2020 - VMware ESXi 7.0 GPU passthrough configuration doesn't persist after rebooting, here's a work-around

    See also at TinkerTry





    See also

    USB Image Tool for Windows easily backs up and restores complete VMware ESXi installed on USB or SD



    If you ever disabled default VMware AHCI drivers due to performance issues, then you have an issue with not seeing datastores/SATA drives after upgrading to VMware ESXi 7.0, see @anthonyspiteri’s easy fix!