ESXi 6.0 hits the VMware Online Depot - What does that mean?


On April 9th VMware published the first ESXi 6.0 patch (see the ESXi Patch Tracker and KB2111976), and at the same time the Imageprofiles of both this patch and the ESXi 6.0 GA release appeared in the VMware Online Depot. Unfortunately they did not also upload all the ESXi 6.0 VIB packages at that time, but only the one that was updated with the first patch. Today, they finally made up for this, and I cannot only publish this article again, but now the instructions and examples in it will really work :-)

What does it mean to have ESXi 6.0 available in the VMware Online Depot? It makes it a lot easier to upgrade an ESXi host and to build customized ESXi 6.0 installation images, especially for free license users who do not have easy access to the GA Offline bundle. I wrote about this already in my Ultimate guide to upgrade your white box, and this is the promised update to it.

So what are the new possibilities now?


1. Upgrade your host directly from the VMware Online Depot

Enable SSH access on your host, log in to it (e.g. using putty) and run the following commands:
# open firewall for outgoing http requests:
esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
# Install the ESXi 6.0 Imageprofile of 2015-04-09 from the VMware Online Depot
esxcli software profile update -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml -p ESXi-6.0.0-20150404001-standard
# Reboot your host
reboot
This way you can upgrade from any version and patch level of ESXi 5.0, 5.1, 5.5 or 6.0 GA directly to 6.0 (latest patch as of today). It is way easier and quicker than downloading and booting from the ESXi installation ISO or downloading/uploading the ESXi Offline bundle, but it requires the host to have a direct outbound Internet connection so that it can reach the Online Depot.

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.


2. Build the ESXi 6.0 Offline bundle yourself

If your host does not have a direct Internet connection you can still upgrade it using the esxcli method, but you then need the Offline Bundle for that - see section 4a of my guide. However, you can now create the Offline Bundle yourself using my ESXi-Customizer-PS script:
C:\scripts\ESXi-Customizer-PS-v2.3.ps1 -ozip
will create the Offline Bundle for the latest patch level (i.e. today's patch) of the latest ESXi version (6.0 for now).
If you omit the -ozip switch and use no arguments at all then it will create the corresponding ESXi installation ISO file.


3. Build customized Offline bundles and installation ISOs

Using the ESXi-Customizer-PS script you can also build customized ESXi 6.0 installation images that already include e.g. drivers from the V-Front Online Depot for officially unsupported devices. Example:
C:\scripts\ESXi-Customizer-PS-v2.3.ps1 -vft -load net51-drivers,sata-xahci
will build the latest ESXi 6.0 installation ISO that includes the replacement package for the blacklisted drivers (net51-drivers) and my sata-xahci package to enable support for unsupported SATA AHCI controllers.

You can find a complete reference for the ESXi-Customizer-PS script and more examples on its project page. I will do a minor update to the script in the coming days to adapt help texts and documentation to include references to ESXi 6.0, but the current version already fully supports ESXi 6.0, and it even already accepts the undocumented switch -v60 to limit the selection of Imageprofiles to ESXi 6.0.



This post first appeared on the VMware Front Experience Blog and was written by Andreas Peetz. Follow him on Twitter to keep up to date with what he posts.



8 comments:

  1. I've just tested the online upgrade method, but it failed with the following error:
    -----
    [VibDownloadError]
    Failed to download VIB.
    url = scsi-mpt2sas-19.00.00.00-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585
    localfile = Unable to download VIB from any of the URLs https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/esx/vmw/vib20/scsi-mpt2sas/VMware_bootbank_scsi-mpt2sas_19.00.00.00-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585.vib
    Please refer to the log file for more details.
    -------
    The process tried to download the following file which does not exist:
    https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/esx/vmw/vib20/scsi-mpt2sas/VMware_bootbank_scsi-mpt2sas_19.00.00.00-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585.vib

    Any advise would be appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Nikolay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oops ...
      I get the same result - maybe I should have tried this before posting.
      It looks like VMware has screwed up and has not fully populated the Online Depot with all the ESXi 6.0 VIB packages. I hope this is not an intentional change ... Let's try again tomorrow.

      Delete
  2. Anyone else having trouble with the mpt2sas vib?

    ~ # esxcli software profile update -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml -p ESXi-6.0.
    0-20150404001-standard
    [VibDownloadError]
    Failed to download VIB.
    url = scsi-mpt2sas-19.00.00.00-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585
    localfile = Unable to download VIB from any of the URLs https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/esx/vmw/vib20/scsi-mpt2sas/VMware_bootbank_scsi-mpt2sas_19.00.00.00-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585.vib

    ReplyDelete
  3. Next Day, same problem ;)

    Unable to download VIB from any of the URLs https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/esx/vmw/vib20/scsi-mpt2sas/VMware_bootbank_scsi-mpt2sas_19.00.00.00-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585.vib

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This issue has been resolved. I updated and re-published my post accordingly.

      Delete
  4. I've tried adding Net-sky2-1 but it complains and says
    VIB VFrontDe_bootbank_net-sky2-1_1.2.0-1 requires net-sky2.

    Have I missed something?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, net-sky2-1 requires net-sky2, so you need to add both if using ESXi 5.x.

      But for ESXi 6.0 you need to add net51-drivers instead (which includes the files of both net-sky2 and net-sky2-1), because net-sky2 is blacklisted in 6.0.

      Delete
  5. Hi,
    Great website / blog!
    Thanks for this info, I'm attempting it now.
    It's worth mentioning that while the script/server downloads the updated files it does not display any progress or information, the telnet console is simply blank.
    Keep it like this and it will finish after it downloads the necessary files.
    You can monitor the download speed via Vsphere Client under Performance tab > Network.

    Once done it should ask you to reboot with the message below:
    Update Result
    Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.
    Reboot Required: true

    ReplyDelete

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