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Methods for upgrading to ESXi 5.5 (2058352)

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Purpose

This article provides information on different methods that you can use to upgrade to ESXi 5.5.
 
Notes:

Resolution

VMware provides several ways to upgrade ESX/ESXi hosts:

vSphere Update Manager

vSphere Update Manager is a software for upgrading, migrating, updating, and patching clustered hosts, virtual machines, and guest operating systems. Update Manager orchestrates host and virtual machine upgrades. If your site uses vCenter Server, VMware recommends that you use Update Manager.

For instructions about conducting an orchestrated host upgrade, see Using vSphere Update Manager to Perform Orchestrated Host Upgrades section in the vSphere Upgrade Guide. For instructions about conducting an orchestrated virtual machine upgrade, see Perform an Orchestrated Upgrade of Hosts Using vSphere Update Manager section in the vSphere Upgrade Guide. For complete documentation about Update Manager, see Installing and Administering VMware vSphere Update Manager.

Note: Update Manager 5.x does not support upgrading ESX hosts to a later version of ESX (ESX 4.0 to ESX 4.1). It only supports upgrading from ESX/ESXi 4.x to ESXi 5.0.

  • Update Manager 5.0 and 5.1 can upgrade hosts to their respective versions.
  • Update Manager 5.0 is capable of upgrading ESX/ESXi 4.0 and 4.1 hosts to ESXi 5.0.
  • Update Manager is not capable of upgrading an ESX/ESXi 4.0 host to ESX/ESXi 4.1.
  • Update Manager 5.5 can upgrade ESX/ESXi 4.0/4.1, ESXi 5.0, and ESXi 5.1 hosts to ESXi 5.5.
 

Upgrade or migrate interactively using an ESXi installer ISO image on CD/DVD or USB flash drive



You can run the ESXi 5.5 installer from a CD/DVD or USB flash drive to do an interactive upgrade or migration. This method is appropriate for deployments with a small number of hosts. The installer works the same way for a fresh installation, but if you select a target disk that already contains an ESX/ESXi 4.x, ESXi 5.0.x, or ESXi 5.1 installation, the installer upgrades the host to ESXi 5.5 and gives you the option to migrate some existing host settings and configuration files and preserve the existing VMFS datastore.
 
For more information, see the Upgrade or Migrate Hosts Interactively section in the vSphere Upgrade Guide.

 

Using a scripted upgrade

You can upgrade or migrate hosts from ESX/ESXi 4.x, ESXi 5.0.x, and ESXi 5.1 to ESXi 5.5 by invoking an update script for an unattended upgrade. Scripted upgrades provide an efficient way to deploy multiple hosts. You can use a script to upgrade ESXi from a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive, or by PXE-booting the installer. You can also call a script from an interactive installation.
 
For more information, see the Installing, Upgrading, or Migrating Hosts Using a Script section in the vSphere Upgrade Guide.

vSphere Auto Deploy

Auto Deploy is a new feature in vSphere 5.x. After an ESXi 5.x host is deployed with Auto Deploy, you can use Auto Deploy to re-provision the host and reboot it with a new image profile that contains an ESXi upgrade or patch, a host configuration profile, and, optionally, third-party drivers or management agents provided by VMware partners. You can build custom images by using ESXi Image Builder CLI.
 
For more information, see the Using vSphere Auto Deploy to Reprovision Hosts section in the vSphere Upgrade Guide.

esxcli (Command-line interface)

You can use the esxcli command-line utility for ESXi to update or patch ESXi 5.x hosts to ESXi 5.5. You cannot use esxcli to upgrade ESX/ESXi 4.x hosts to ESXi 5.5. The esxcli command-line utility requires the vSphere CLI.

For more information, see the Update a Host with Image Profiles section in the vSphere Upgrade Guide.

Note: The esxupdate and vihostupdate utilities are not supported for ESXi 5.5 upgrades.

Summary of ESXi 5.5 upgrade methods

This table summarizes the supported ESXi 5.5 upgrade methods:
 
Upgrade Methods Upgrade from ESX/ESXi 4.x
 to ESXi 5.5
Upgrade from ESXi 5.0 to ESXi 5.5 Upgrade from ESXi 5.1 to ESXi 5.5
vSphere Update Manager Yes Yes Yes
Interactive upgrade from CD
DVD or USB drive
Yes
Yes
Yes
Scripted upgrade Yes Yes Yes
vSphere Auto Deploy No Yes, if the ESXi 5.0.x host was deployed using Auto Deploy Yes, if the ESXi 5.1.x host was deployed using Auto Deploy
esxcli No Yes Yes

 

Supported upgrades to ESXi 5.5

You can upgrade an ESXi 5.0.x or ESXi 5.1.x host directly to ESXi 5.5, and in most cases, you can migrate an ESX 4.x or upgrade an ESXi 4.x host directly to ESXi 5.5.

The details and level of support for an upgrade or migration from ESX/ESXi 4.x and ESXi 5.0.x/5.1.x hosts to ESXi 5.5 depend on the host to be upgraded and the upgrade method that you use.

The following ESX/ESXi 4.x and ESXi 5.0 versions are supported for upgrade to ESXi version 5.5:

  • ESX/ESXi 4.0.x (including all released updates and patches)
  • ESX/ESXi 4.1.x (including all released updates and patches)
  • ESXi 5.0.x (including all released updates and patches)
  • ESXi 5.1.x (including all released updates and patches)

Supported scenarios for upgrading or migrating to ESXi 5.5

Scenario for Upgrade or Migration
to ESXi 5.5
Support
ESX.ESXi 3.x hosts Not supported for direct upgrade.

You must upgrade ESX/ESXi 3.x hosts to ESX/ESXi version 4.x before you can upgrade them to ESXi 5.5. For more information, see the vSphere 4.x upgrade documentation.

Alternatively, you might find it simpler and more cost effective to do a fresh installation of ESXi 5.5.
ESX 4.x host that was upgraded
from ESX 3.x with a partition layout
incompatible with ESXi 5.x
Not supported.

The VMFS partition cannot be preserved. Upgrading or migration is possible only if there is at most one VMFS partition on the disk that is being upgraded and the VMFS partition must start after sector 1843200.
 
Perform a fresh installation. To keep virtual machines, migrate them to a different system.
ESX/ESXi 4.x host, migration or
upgrade with vSphere Update Manager
Supported.

For more information, see the Using vSphere Update Manager to Perform Orchestrated Host Upgrades section in the vSphere Upgrade Guide and Installing and Administering VMware vSphere Update Manager.
ESX/ESXi 4.x host, interactive
migration or upgrade
Supported.

For more information, see the Upgrade or Migrate Hosts Interactively section in the vSphere Upgrade Guide.

The installer wizard offers the choice to upgrade or perform a fresh installation. If you upgrade, ESX partitions and configuration files are converted to be compatible with ESXi.
ESX/ESXi 4.x host, scripted upgrade
Supported.

For more information, see the Installing, Upgrading, or Migrating Hosts Using a Script section in the vSphere Upgrade Guide.

In the upgrade script, specify the particular disk to upgrade on the system. If the system cannot be upgraded correctly because the partition table is incompatible, the installer displays a warning and does not proceed. In this case, perform a fresh installation. Upgrading or migration is possible only if there is at most one VMFS partition on the disk that is being upgraded and the VMFS partition must start after sector 1843200.
ESX 4.x host on a SAN or SSD
Partially supported.

You can upgrade the host as you would normally upgrade a ESX 4.x host, but no provisions are made to optimize the partitions on the disk. To optimize the partition scheme on the host, perform a fresh installation.

ESX 4.x host, missing the Service Console .vmdk file,
 interactive migration from CD or DVD, scripted migration,
or migration with vSphere Update Manager
Not supported.

The most likely reasons for a missing Service Console are that the Service Console is corrupted or the VMFS volume is not available, which can occur if the VMFS was installed on a SAN and the LUN is not accessible. In this case, on the disk selection screen of the installer wizard, if you select a disk that has an existing ESX 4.x installation, the wizard prompts you to perform a clean installation.
ESX/ESXi 4.x host, asynchronously released driver
or other third-party customizations, interactive
 migration from CD or DVD, scripted migration,
or migration with vSphere Update Manager
Supported with ESXi Image Builder CLI.

If a ESX/ESXi 4.x host contains customizations, such as third-party VIBS or drivers, upgrading with the standard VMware installer ISO results in the loss of those customizations, and possibly an unstable system. For more information, see the Upgrading Hosts That Have Third-Party Custom VIBs section in the vSphere Upgrade Guide. You can use the ESXi Image Builder CLI to create a customized ESXi installer ISO file that includes the VIBs or drivers. For more information, see the Image Builder Overview section in the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.

ESXi 5.0.x or 5.1.x host, asynchronously released driver
or other third-party customizations, interactive
upgrade from CD or DVD, scripted upgrade,
or upgrade with vSphere Update Manager
Supported.

When you upgrade an ESXi 5.0.x or 5.1.x host that has custom VIBs to version 5.5, the custom VIBs are migrated. For more information, see the Upgrading Hosts That Have Third-Party Custom VIBs in the vSphere Upgrade Guide.
ESXi host 5.0.x
Methods supported for direct upgrade to ESXi 5.5 are:
  • vSphere Update Manager
  • Interactive upgrade from CD, DVD or USB drive
  • Scripted Upgrade
  • esxcli
  • Auto Deploy

    If the ESXi 5.0.x host was deployed using Auto Deploy, you can use Auto Deploy to reprovision the host with an ESXi 5.5 image.
ESXi 5.1.x host
Methods supported for direct upgrade to ESXi 5.5 are:
  • vSphere Update Manager.
  • Interactive upgrade from CD, DVD or USB drive.
  • Scripted Upgrade
  • esxcli
  • Auto Deploy

    If the ESXi 5.1.x host was deployed using Auto Deploy, you can use Auto Deploy to reprovision the host with an ESXi 5.5 image.

Tags

upgrade to ESXi 5.5, esxi update, vsphere update manager 5.5, esxi 5.5 update

See Also

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