Upgrade your VMware ESXi 6.0 to Update 1a the easy way

Posted by Paul Braren on Oct 29 2015 (updated on Nov 3 2015) in
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • HowTo
  • HomeLab
  • If you're on ESXi 6.0, you'll likely want to use this latest version, since it resolves the potentially serious NETDEV WATCHDOG issue KB 2124669 that could cause your hypervisor to hang. See also the release notes.

    If you don't have a commercial VMware license, and instead are using a trial, free, or EVALExperience ESXi 6.0 or ESXi 6.0 Update 1, you won't be able to easily download the 6.0 Update 1a ISO directly. You're not entitled. Silly, I know. Worry not though, since this article has you covered. Takes about 10 minutes total. Basically you paste two commands, wait for the automated download and patch process, then finish up with a host reboot.

    If you still really just want the 6.0 U1a ISO, see the new method I described earlier today here.

    It took a bit a sluething to figure out that profile ESXi-6.0.0-20151004001-standard is actually build 3073146 is actually ESXi 6.0 Update 1a, which is like installing from VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.0.0.update01-3073146.x86_64.iso. Once I had the correlation, the command syntax was easily figured out, thanks to prior work by Andreas Peetz and William Lam!

    These steps have been tested, and work great in my home lab. Before you begin, you'll need to carefully review William Lam's warning:

    Disclaimer: This method assumes you can install the default ESXi Image Profile with no additional drivers or packages, else you may have connectivity issue after the upgrade. If you still need to customize the ESXi Image Profile before installation, you will still need to use something like Image Builder and then upload that to your online depot.

    ...and Andreas Peetz warning:

    Important note: Before doing this please check whether you rely on one of the NIC drivers (e.g. Realtek) that were blacklisted in ESXi 6.0. You then need to carry out an additional step before doing the upgrade - see my earlier post (section 2) for details.

    For my SuperServer Workstation, I didn't have to worry about VIBs: the stock drivers built into 6.0 are all I need to succeed. Even if I do need AHCI or NVMe VIBs in the future, I can just re-add such VIBs after similar future upgrades.

    Download and apply the 6.0 Update 1a patch directly from the VMware Online Depot

    1. Open an SSH session (PuTTY) to your ESXi 6.0 (or ESXi 6.0 Update 1) server
      (if you forgot to enable SSH, here's how)
    2. Put your system into maintenance mode, or ensure you've set your ESXi host to automatically gracefully shutdown all VMs upon host reboot
    3. Paste the following 2 commands (cut-and-paste one line at a time):
      esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
      esxcli software profile update -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml -p ESXi-6.0.0-20151004001-standard
    4. Type "reboot" and hit return
    Here's how my upgrade from build 3029758 to 3073146 looked right after the 5 minute download/patch.

    That's it! When the reboot is complete, you'll see for yourself that you now have the latest ESXi, Build 3073146, as pictured at the very top of this article. Now you have more spare time to read more TinkerTry articles!

    By the way, you could use VMware Update Manager on a Windows system or VM, but for one-off upgrades typical in a small home lab, pasting these 2 lines of code is pretty easy.

    See also at TinkerTry

    See also