Patching a Standalone ESXi Host

I have a standalone ESXi host at work just now to spin up some VM’s before the new production hardware arrives.

HPE Image

From the build number you can see this is ESXi 6.5 U1 Express Patch 4. The latest when this blog was posted is build 7526125 - ESXi 6.5 U1e, so I wanted to patch it. I have not added this host to vCenter as I don’t have a spare license plus it’s a short term box to get some VM’s built. This of course means no vSphere Update Manager which would make things easy to get up to date.

First of all you need to download the relevant patch from the Product Patches site on VMware. Choose ESXi (Embedded and Installable) and then the version. Click Search:

VMware Patch

You can see here build 7526125 is the latest available. Download the patch from the site. It is a Zip file which you can open and see what’s in it if you want.

There are two ways I will show how to patch. One is using esxcli and the other is PowerCLI.

esxcli Method

Upload the downloaded Zip to a datastore the host can access. Next ensure SSH access is enabled. To do this go to Manage, Services…TSM-SSH and click Start:

Enable SSH

Now we can SSH into the host. First thing to so is ensure all VM’s are powered down. Then put the host in maintenance mode:

[root@localhost:~] esxcli system maintenanceMode set --enable true

Next we can patch the host. The esxcli command for this is esxcli software vib update pointing it at the file that was uploaded to the datastore. We also need the –depot switch to tell the command we are installing a packaged update. In this example:

[root@localhost:~] esxcli software vib update --depot /vmfs/volumes/LocalHDD/ESXi650-201801001.zip
Installation Result
   Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.
   Reboot Required: true
   VIBs Installed: VMW_bootbank_igbn_0.1.0.0-15vmw.650.1.36.7388607, VMW_bootbank_misc-drivers_6.5.0-1.36.7388607, 
   VIBs Removed: Avago_bootbank_scsi-mpt2sas_15.10.07.00-1OEM.550.0.0.1331820, MEL_bootbank_nmlx4-core_3.15.5.5-1OEM.600.0.0.2768847, 
   VIBs Skipped: VMW_bootbank_ata-libata-92_3.00.9.2-16vmw.650.0.0.4564106, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-amd_0.3.10-3vmw.650.0.0.4564106,

You can see the update was successful and a reboot is required. I snipped out some of the output as the amount of VIBs Installed, Removed and Skipped is quite lengthy.

You can then reboot the host using the command:

[root@localhost:~] reboot

The host is now patched. You can exit maintenance mode by connecting back in using SSH and running the command:

[root@localhost:~] esxcli system maintenanceMode set --enable false

PowerCLI Method

There is a key difference when using PowerCLI in that you need to extract the Zip file before it’s uploaded to the datastore. So extract the Zip file to a datastore the Host can access.

Now we need to connect to the Host in PowerCLI:

PS C:\Users\cwestwater> Connect-VIServer -Server esxi-host -User root -Password Password1

Name                           Port  User
----                           ----  ----
esxi-host                   443   root

Now we use need to enter maintenance mode:

PS C:\Users\cwestwater> Set-VMHost -State Maintenance

Name                 ConnectionState PowerState NumCpu CpuUsageMhz CpuTotalMhz   MemoryUsageGB   MemoryTotalGB Version
----                 --------------- ---------- ------ ----------- -----------   -------------   ------------- -------
esxi-host            Maintenance     PoweredOn       2         213        7002           1.465           3.999   6.5.0

Now we can use the PowerCLI command Install-VMHostPatch. The only needs one argument supplied -HostPath. This is the location of the extracted Zip file:

PS C:\Users\cwestwater> Install-VMHostPatch -HostPath /vmfs/volumes/LocalHDD/ESXi650-201801001/metadata.zip
WARNING: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.

We have to reboot the Host:

PS C:\Users\cwestwater> Restart-VMHost -Confirm

Don’t forget to exit maintenance mode once it comes back up:

PS C:\Users\cwestwater> Set-VMHost -State Connected

Name                 ConnectionState PowerState NumCpu CpuUsageMhz CpuTotalMhz   MemoryUsageGB   MemoryTotalGB Version
----                 --------------- ---------- ------ ----------- -----------   -------------   ------------- -------
esxi-host            Connected       PoweredOn       2         150        7002           1.470           3.999   6.5.0

Both methods will then show that Host is running the new build:

HPE Image

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