VMware ESXi Hypervisor notes

In spite of how capable and powerful ESXi is – and all for free! – I’ve had to refer to VMware documentation very little. These notes cover those few cases where the solution to my problem was not obvious, not well-described in the documentation, or difficult to remember.

Table of contents:

Adding device support

Patching

Quick steps to patch to the latest version:

  1. Fetch the latest patch zip file from VMware (login required):
    https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/patch
    Note: patch files are (essentially) cumulative, so the latest one will suffice.
  2. Upload the patch to the datastore somewhere; you can use Browse datastore… from the VMware vSphere Client, or scp if you have SSH enabled.
  3. Stop any running VMs, and (optionally) put the host in maintenance mode.
  4. Find the desired image profile from the zip file:
    [root@lixiviant:~] esxcli software sources profile list \
       -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/_patches/ESXi600-201602001.zip
    Name                             Vendor        Acceptance Level
    -------------------------------  ------------  ----------------
    ESXi-6.0.0-20160204001-standard  VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
    ESXi-6.0.0-20160204001-no-tools  VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported
  5. Update to that profile (do not install it, as this will remove any other VIBs you may have added!):
    [root@lixiviant:~] esxcli software profile update \
       -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/_patches/ESXi600-201602001.zip \
       -p ESXi-6.0.0-20160204001-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_6.0.0-1.29.3568940
       VIBs Removed: VMware_bootbank_esx-base_6.0.0-1.26.3380124
       VIBs Skipped: [...]
  6. Reboot the host, if required.

If you allow your host access to the Internet, you could have esxcli fetch it automagically:

  1. Visit the VMware ESXi Patch Tracker site:
    https://esxi-patches.v-front.de/
  2. Jump to your ESXi version (eg 6.0.0), then locate the image profile name you wish to install, eg:
    ESXi-6.0.0-20160204001-standard
  3. Stop any running VMs, and (optionally) put the host in maintenance mode.
  4. Allow outgoing HTTP:
    esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
  5. Update to that profile (do not install it, as this will remove any other VIBs you may have added!):
    esxcli software profile update \
       -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml \
       -p ESXi-6.0.0-20160204001-standard
  6. Block outgoing HTTP:
    esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient
  7. Reboot the host, if required.

References

  1. VMware Front Experience (v-front.de): VMware ESXi Patch Tracker