An important heads-up for users of the Embedded Host Client!

My ESXi Patch Tracker bot never sleeps, so when I woke up this morning it already greeted me with the message that VMware has released ESXi 6.0 Update 2 in the middle of the (European) night. As usual with Update releases vCenter was also updated.

For the record here are the most important URLs for you:
With this release there are some great news for the users of the Embedded Host Client, but also a caveat that you should be aware of.

So far the Embedded Host Client (EHC) was a so-called fling available at VMware labs. As that it was not officially supported. With the release of ESXi 6.0 Update 2 it is now an officially supported package that is included in ESXi out-of-the-box. In its Release Notes it is stated though that the EHC package will be further developed independently from ESXi releases, so we will see out-of-band updates to it in the future - just like with VMware Tools.

Second great news is that the EHC now fully supports ESXi when using the free Hypervisor license. Prior to Update 2 any modification operations done through the EHC would silently fail on systems using the free license because of license restrictions. In ESXi 6.0 Update 2 these restrictions were lifted, so - after updating - you can fully manage free ESXi with the EHC.

And now the heads-up: For reasons that are beyond my understanding VMware decided to assign the version number 1.0.0 to the EHC package (esx-ui) that is included in ESXi 6.0 U2, although the latest fling version already had the version number 1.0.6! What does that mean? If you already have a fling version of the EHC installed on your system and update ESXi to 6.0 Update 2 then you will keep the fling version, but won't get the officially supported one, because the fling appears to be newer ... (Correction/Update 2016-03-16:)
The second to last release of the EHC fling had the version number 1.0.5 whereas the GA release in ESXi 6.0 Update 2 has the version number 1.0.0. That means if you currently have the version 1.0.5 of the fling installed on your system and update that to ESXi 6.0 Update 2 then you will keep the fling version, because it appears to be newer. The first versions of the fling had version numbers starting with 0.2, and with the latest fling release its authors reverted back to a 0.x version scheme and assigned the version 0.6.0 to it. So you are only affected by this issue if you have the second last version 1.0.5 of the fling.

For those affected here is a workaround ;-) If you have the EHC fling 1.0.5 installed on your ESXi host then just remove that before you upgrade to 6.0 Update 2! In an ESXi shell run this command to remove the package:
esxcli software vib remove -n esx-ui
No reboot is needed after that. When you now upgrade to Update 2 (see my earlier post for general upgrade instructions) the supported version 1.0.0 that is included in U2 will be installed.

What if it's too late? You have already upgraded to 6.0 Update 2, and still have a fling version of EHC installed? You can check what version is actually installed with
esxcli software vib get -n esx-ui
If the version is not exactly 1.0.0 then you can force the installation of 1.0.0 from the VMware Online Depot by using these commands:
esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
esxcli software vib install -n esx-ui:1.0.0-3617585  -d
esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient
Again no reboot is required if you only update or install the EHC.

Are you still using ESXi 5.5 and don't want to upgrade to 6.0 for now? The fling versions of the EHC were compatible with ESXi 5.5 Update 3, and it looks like the EHC 1.0.0 included in ESXi 6.0 Update 2 can also be used in ESXi 5.5! At least I was able to install it, and - as far as I could test that - it also worked fine!
So here is how to install the EHC 1.0.0 on ESXi 5.5 Update 3:
esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
esxcli software vib install -n esx-ui -d
esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient
Please note that ESXi 5.5 needs to be at Update 3 at a minimum. Earlier patch levels of ESXi 5.5 are not supported by the EHC, and earlier version of ESXi (4.x and 5.0) are also not supported by it. You should also be aware of that with ESXi 5.5 the EHC is still not able to do modification operations when using the free license! This limitation has only been lifted with ESXi 6.0 Update 2.

As always I hope you find this information useful - thanks for reading!

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.

1 comment:

  1. Very helpful and informative. Thanks! I had the 1.0.5 version installed and would not have known that I still had the fling version if I hadn't seen it here. I'm all set now.


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