Easily upgrade ESXi 5.x to the latest ESXi 6.0 via CLI

I have received quite a few demands for how to update standalone ESXi hosts via the command line. For most people it’s probably no brainer, but for new folks this might not be so obvious. So for those of you who are looking to update ESXi 5.x to the latest release which is the ESXi 6.0, then you can simply watch this short video where I’m detailing the steps. It’s basically a 3 step process to easily upgrade ESXi 5.x to the latest ESXi 6.0 CLI.

How to upgrade ESXi 5.x to the latest ESXi 6.0?

Update: I need to add a correction to this post. VMware now recommends using “esxcli software update profile” command instead, for UPGRADES. As with this command you have a possibility to specify the image profile within the upgrade package. See an updated section below this post… So this commands below works, they are simple, but not supported by VMware. The “esxcli software update profile” command allows to pick a image profile within the upgrade package (usually there is 4 of them), but adds a bit of complexity. Not much though…

1. Download the file called update-from-esxi6.0-6.0_update02.zip from My VMware portal. It should be available when you sign-up for a trial of VMware vSphere 6.0 together with the ESXi 6.0 iso file.

Easily upgrade ESXi 5.x to the latest ESXi 6.0 via CLI

2. Upload this file to the datastore visible by your ESXi host.

3. Put your host in maintenance mode (right click > enter maintenance mode) and connect via putty. Note that SSh must be enabled. (configuration > security profile > properties > ssh). Now run this command to update the host:

esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/<your_datastore>/update-from-esxi6.0-6.0_update02.zip -p ESXi-6.0.0-20160302001-standard

so in my case

esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/drobo/update-from-esxi6.0-6.0_update02.zip -p ESXi-6.0.0-20160302001-standard

How to patch ESXi host

4. Reboot your host and exit maintenance mode.

Here is the video detailing the process of upgrading ESXi 5.x to the latest release which is ESXi 5.5 Update 1. Best to watch in HD, as usually.

Update:
As above, from previous release, with more details which profile to choose from….. (there are four)

Let’s do an UPGRADE of ESXi 5.5 to ESXi 6.0 via “esxcli software profile update” command.

Step 1: Connect via putty. Note that I’ll use that latest ESXi 6.0 update zip file for this post.

esxcli software sources profile list -d /vmfs/volumes/<your_volume>/ESXi600-201601001.zip

so in our case…

Upgrade ESXi 5.x to the latest ESXi 6.x
Step 2: Then type

esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/<your_volume>/ESXi600-201601001.zip -p <profile-image>

so in my case:

esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/ESXi600-201601001.zip -p ESXi-6.0.0-20160101001s-standard

(note that you could easily pick other 3 image profiles…. It’s just one example here..)

how to upgrade ESXi 5.x to 6.x
check if any error messages….. then reboot…

How to upgrade ESXi 5.x to 6.x via image profile command
and here is a new video detailing the steps …

If you want to check what’s new in vSphere 6.0 then you should check my vSphere 6.0 page. You might also be interested in installing custom vibs, for example for unsupported Realtec NIC drivers. I wrote a post about it here. Realtek 8169 NIC in ESXi 5.5 not detected by default – install a VIB.

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