If you’re running the free version of ESXi 5.0 in your homelab or testing it at work, you might be wondering what’s the easy way to upgrade existing ESXi 5.0 installation to the latest ESXi 5.1 without much effort and without breaking your existing installation, without re-installing everything. Your existing VMs won’t be affected.
I’ve already wrote about patching ESXi without vCenter, but this time the command used slightly differ, and here I’m showing you the the steps which needs to be accomplished to upgrade to the latest ESXi 5.1 version. More advanced users can skip, because they’ll probably know this method.
This article is meant to be for every user who don’t uses vSphere update manager for this process. I’m writing it down here for my own bookmarking needs as well. -:)
As you might already read in my article about the changes to the ESXi, there isn’t any vRAM limitation on the free ESXi 5.1 but there is still the 2 physical CPU limit together with the 32Gb physical RAM limit. If not I’d recommend to read those 2 articles:
- vSphere 5.1 licensing – vRAM is gone – rather good news, any more?
- ESXi 5.1 Free with no vRAM limit but physical RAM limit of 32Gb
The upgrade process from ESXi 5 free version to ESXi 5.1 free version is very straightforward. It takes 3 or 4 steps to complete. All the VMs running on the server must be shut down, because a reboot of the physical host is necessary.
ESXi 5 Free – upgrade to ESXi 5.1 – the steps:
01. Download the offline bundle for ESXi 5.1 at VMware (you’ll need to login through My VMware, or if you don’t have an account, you can create one for free) – file called VMware-ESXi-5.1.0-799733-depot.zip .
02. Activate SSH and shut down all your VMs running (if not already activated) . You can do it through the vSphere client. Configuration > Security Profile > Properties
03. Next thing you’ll need to do is to upload the bundle zip file which you just downloaded to the local (or shared) datastore of the ESXi server. You can use the vSphere client and the datastore browser for that or you can use the faster VeeamZIP Free by creating a copy job for the upload of the file to the datastore. You can also use the built in datastore browser via vSphere client…
03. Connect by using Putty and execute the following command:
Update: For the latest vSphere 5.1 U1 , just download this file: update-from-esxi5.1-5.1_update01.zip
and upload it to one of your datastores.
Note: If you run the command with “install” switch, all your personalized drivers of officially unsupported NICs will be deleted. You might consider using the second command with the “update” switch instead.
Then run this command:
esxcli software vib install -d /vmfs/volumes/[DATASTORE]/[PATCH_FILE].zip
So in our case:
esxcli software vib install -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/update-from-esxi5.1-5.1_update01.zip
Here is the second option, which preserves all drivers and VIBs:
esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/VMware-ESXi-5.1.0-799733-depot.zip -p ESXi-5.1.0-799733-standard
04. Reboot the server and you’re done.
In case you want to revert back, just press Shift+R at the boot loader screen…