ESXi5.5 to 6.0 Upgrade From Local HTTP Daemon

I was recently involved with consulting for a Norwegian shipping company who has quite a few remote vSphere installations, most of them with a couple of ESXi hosts, but no vCenter and hence no Update Manager. While looking at methods for managing these installations, in particular how to facilitate patching and upgrading scenarios, I remembered that way back in 2013, I posted Quick and Dirty HTTP-based Deployment which shows how to use the Python to run a simple http daemon, and serve files from it.

Surely something similar can be used to maintain a central repository for vSphere patches? While I don’t recommend using your MacBook as a permanent source for these updates, you really should set up a proper http server in your network and utilize that, it works as a proof of concept.

So here it is, a recipe for using a simple http daemon to host your own ESXi Offline Bundles, and how to upgrade from 5.5 to 6.0 from the command line.
    1. Download the offline bundle you want to use, in my case I used ESXi600-201507001.zip (ESXi 6.0.0b).
    2. Extract the .zip file into it’s own directory, served by the http daemon, and rename it for simplicity.
    3. Connect to your target ESXi host via SSH
    4. Check the current running ESXi version by running esxcli system version get
      [cc lang=”bash” width=”100%” theme=”blackboard” nowrap=”0″]
      The time and date of this login have been sent to the system logs.VMware offers supported, powerful system administration tools. Please
      see www.vmware.com/go/sysadmintools for details.The ESXi Shell can be disabled by an administrative user. See the
      vSphere Security documentation for more information.
      ~ # esxcli system version get
      Product: VMware ESXi
      Version: 5.5.0
      Build: Releasebuild-1623387
      Update: 1
      ~ #[/cc]
    5. Enable outgoing http requests from the ESXi host by running esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
    6. Determine which profile to use by running esxcli software sources profile list -d [http://daemon-ip:port/directory/]
      [cc lang=”bash” width=”100%” theme=”blackboard” nowrap=”0″]
      ~ # esxcli software sources profile list -d http://172.29.100.248:8000/6.0/
      Name Vendor Acceptance Level
      ——————————– ———— —————-
      ESXi-6.0.0-20150701001s-standard VMware, Inc. PartnerSupported
      ESXi-6.0.0-20150701001s-no-tools VMware, Inc. PartnerSupported
      ESXi-6.0.0-20150704001-no-tools VMware, Inc. PartnerSupported
      ESXi-6.0.0-20150704001-standard VMware, Inc. PartnerSupported
      ~ #[/cc]
    7. Run vim-cmd hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter to put ESXi host into maintenance mode.
    8.  Run esxcli software profile update -d [http://daemon-ip:port/directory/] -p [profilename] to fetch and install from http daemon[cc lang=”bash” width=”100%” theme=”blackboard” nowrap=”0″]
      # esxcli software profile update -d http://172.29.100.248:8000/6.0/ -p ESXi-6.0.0-20150704001-standard
      Update Result
      Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.
      Reboot Required: true
      VIBs Installed: [long list of vibs removed for brevity]
      VIBs Skipped:
      ~ #[/cc]
    9. Disable outgoing http client traffic by running esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false httpClient
    10. Reboot host by running the reboot command
    11. When host has rebooted, connect to ESXi host again via SSH and run esxcli system version get
      [cc lang=”bash” width=”100%” theme=”blackboard” nowrap=”0″][[email protected]:~] esxcli system version get
      Product: VMware ESXi
      Version: 6.0.0
      Build: Releasebuild-2809209
      Update: 0
      Patch: 11
      [[email protected]:~][/cc]
    12. Verify that it runs the correct version, and run vim-cmd hostsvc/maintenance_mode_exit to put the host out of maintenance mode.

And that’s it, the host has now been upgraded from ESXi 5.5 to 6.0, from a local centralized http-based repository without the need to connect to the outside world. All done via the command line, and without a vCenter with Update Manager. Pretty neat.

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