Update vSphere host with esxcli

I’ve seen a number of articles describing how to update a vSphere host from the CLI. The problem is that all the articles I found pointed to a particular profile (5.1U3, 6.0GA, etc), which quickly gets out of date. After some searching, I figured out how to list the available profiles from a depot so I could choose the one I want, then upgrade the host. I hope this helps you now and in the future!

First, make sure your host is in maintenance mode and all VMs are migrated off, otherwise you will have an interruption of service. If you only have a single host, this may be unavoidable, and you should let your users know about the upcoming interruption. You also need to have the ESXi shell enabled, and ssh if you don’t have console/out-of-band access.

Second, list the available profiles in the specified depot (in this case, VMware’s Online Depository). The results seem to be unordered, so use grep and sort to help out. For instance, I want the latest 6.0.0 version:

[root@esxi02:~] esxcli software sources profile list -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml | grep 6.0.0 | sort
ESXi-6.0.0-20150404001-no-tools   VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-20150404001-standard   VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-20150504001-no-tools   VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-20150504001-standard   VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-20150701001s-no-tools  VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-20150701001s-standard  VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-20150704001-no-tools   VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-20150704001-standard   VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-20150901001s-no-tools  VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-20150901001s-standard  VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-20150902001-no-tools   VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-20150902001-standard   VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-20151004001-no-tools   VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-20151004001-standard   VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-2494585-no-tools       VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
ESXi-6.0.0-2494585-standard       VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported

Pick the version you want, then use esxcli to perform the upgrade. You won’t get any feedback during the upgrade, which can take 5+ minutes, then you get hit with the wall of text. Don’t get anxious until at least 15 minutes go by. The important feedback is at the top of the output and is emphasized in bold:

[root@esxi02:~] esxcli software profile update -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml -p ESXi-6.0.0-20151004001-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: VMware_bootbank_esx-base_6.0.0-1.20.3073146, VMware_bootbank_lsi-mr3_6.605.08.00-7vmw.600.1.17.3029758, VMware_
bootbank_lsi-msgpt3_06.255.12.00-8vmw.600.1.17.3029758, VMware_bootbank_lsu-lsi-lsi-mr3-plugin_1.0.0-2vmw.600.0.11.2809209, VMware
_bootbank_lsu-lsi-megaraid-sas-plugin_1.0.0-2vmw.600.0.11.2809209, VMware_bootbank_lsu-lsi-mpt2sas-plugin_1.0.0-4vmw.600.1.17.3029
758, VMware_bootbank_misc-drivers_6.0.0-1.17.3029758, VMware_bootbank_nvme_1.0e.0.35-1vmw.600.1.17.3029758, VMware_bootbank_sata-a
hci_3.0-22vmw.600.1.17.3029758, VMware_bootbank_scsi-bnx2i_2.78.76.v60.8-1vmw.600.0.11.2809209, VMware_bootbank_vsanhealth_6.0.0-3
000000.2.0.1.17.2972216, VMware_bootbank_xhci-xhci_1.0-2vmw.600.1.17.3029758, VMware_locker_tools-light_6.0.0-1.17.3029758
   VIBs Removed: VMware_bootbank_esx-base_6.0.0-0.6.2715440, VMware_bootbank_lsi-mr3_6.605.08.00-6vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_boot
bank_lsi-msgpt3_06.255.12.00-7vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_lsu-lsi-lsi-mr3-plugin_1.0.0-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootb
ank_lsu-lsi-megaraid-sas-plugin_1.0.0-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_lsu-lsi-mpt2sas-plugin_1.0.0-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMw
are_bootbank_misc-drivers_6.0.0-0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_nvme_1.0e.0.35-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_sata-ahci_3.0-21
vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_scsi-bnx2i_2.78.76.v60.8-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_xhci-xhci_1.0-2vmw.600.0.0.249
4585, VMware_locker_tools-light_6.0.0-0.0.2494585
   VIBs Skipped: VMWARE_bootbank_mtip32xx-native_3.8.5-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-amd_0.3.10-3vmw.600.0.0.2494
585, VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-atiixp_0.4.6-4vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-cmd64x_0.2.5-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMwar
e_bootbank_ata-pata-hpt3x2n_0.3.4-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-pdc2027x_1.0-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootban
k_ata-pata-serverworks_0.4.3-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-sil680_0.4.8-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_ata
-pata-via_0.3.3-2vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_block-cciss_3.6.14-10vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_cpu-microcode_6.0.
0-0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_ehci-ehci-hcd_1.0-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_elxnet_10.2.309.6v-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VM
ware_bootbank_emulex-esx-elxnetcli_10.2.309.6v-0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_esx-dvfilter-generic-fastpath_6.0.0-0.0.2494585, VMwar
e_bootbank_esx-tboot_6.0.0-0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_esx-xserver_6.0.0-0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_ima-qla4xxx_2.02.18-1vmw.60
0.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_ipmi-ipmi-devintf_39.1-4vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_ipmi-ipmi-msghandler_39.1-4vmw.600.0.0
.2494585, VMware_bootbank_ipmi-ipmi-si-drv_39.1-4vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_lpfc_10.2.309.8-2vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware
_bootbank_lsu-hp-hpsa-plugin_1.0.0-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_lsu-lsi-lsi-msgpt3-plugin_1.0.0-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMw
are_bootbank_lsu-lsi-mptsas-plugin_1.0.0-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_misc-cnic-register_1.78.75.v60.7-1vmw.600.0.0.24945
85, VMware_bootbank_net-bnx2_2.2.4f.v60.10-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_net-bnx2x_1.78.80.v60.12-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VM
ware_bootbank_net-cnic_1.78.76.v60.13-2vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_net-e1000_8.0.3.1-5vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootban
k_net-e1000e_2.5.4-6vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_net-enic_2.1.2.38-2vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_net-forcedeth_0.6
1-2vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_net-igb_5.0.5.1.1-5vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_net-ixgbe_3.7.13.7.14iov-20vmw.600
.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_net-mlx4-core_1.9.7.0-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_net-mlx4-en_1.9.7.0-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585
, VMware_bootbank_net-nx-nic_5.0.621-5vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_net-tg3_3.131d.v60.4-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootb
ank_net-vmxnet3_1.1.3.0-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_nmlx4-core_3.0.0.0-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_nmlx4-en_3.
0.0.0-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_nmlx4-rdma_3.0.0.0-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_ohci-usb-ohci_1.0-3vmw.600.0.
0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_qlnativefc_2.0.12.0-5vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_rste_2.0.2.0088-4vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_
bootbank_sata-ata-piix_2.12-10vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_sata-sata-nv_3.5-4vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_sata-sat
a-promise_2.12-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_sata-sata-sil24_1.1-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_sata-sata-sil_2.3-4
vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_sata-sata-svw_2.3-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_scsi-aacraid_1.1.5.1-9vmw.600.0.0.249
4585, VMware_bootbank_scsi-adp94xx_1.0.8.12-6vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_scsi-aic79xx_3.1-5vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bo
otbank_scsi-bnx2fc_1.78.78.v60.8-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_scsi-fnic_1.5.0.45-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_sc
si-hpsa_6.0.0.44-4vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_scsi-ips_7.12.05-4vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_scsi-megaraid-mbox_2
.20.5.1-6vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_scsi-megaraid-sas_6.603.55.00-2vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_scsi-megaraid2_2
.00.4-9vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_scsi-mpt2sas_19.00.00.00-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_scsi-mptsas_4.23.01.00-
9vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_scsi-mptspi_4.23.01.00-9vmw.600.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_scsi-qla4xxx_5.01.03.2-7vmw.600
.0.0.2494585, VMware_bootbank_uhci-usb-uhci_1.0-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585

Afterward, you’ll need to reboot the host and you can then take it out of maintenance mode. If you have a large number of hosts, you probably want to investigate VUM, Auto Deploy, or another technology to automate upgrades. On the other hand, this works great for my home lab where I have two hosts and don’t want to maintain a VM just for VUM.

One thought on “Update vSphere host with esxcli

  1. Pingback: Newsletter: November 21, 2015 | Notes from MWhite

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