ESXi Host Upgrade

Walkthrough: Using the Update Manager Interface to Upgrade from ESXi 6.5 to 6.7

Upgrade from ESXi 6.5 to 6.7

Upgrade VMware ESXi Hosts with the New Update Manager Interface in vSphere 6.7

In VMware vSphere 6.7, the vSphere Update Manger (VUM) interface is now part of the HTML5 vSphere Client. In this demo, we will walk through the workflow to perform a major version upgrade. Click the Update Manager icon to begin.

workflow for major version upgrade

VMware ESXi Image Repository

Update Manager is capable of host patching as well as major version upgrades. Host upgrade software is delivered in an ISO image. To add an image to the VUM repository, click "Import"

VUM repository click "Import"

Add ISO Image

An ESXi ISO image can be obtained from VMware or from a server hardware vendor.  Either browse the local disk or enter a URL to have VUM download the file directly.  Click "Import"

Add ISO Image

Initiate Baseline Creation

After adding an ESXi ISO image to the VUM repository, it is easy to create an upgrade baseline. Select the desired image and click "New Baseline"

Initiate Baseline Creation

Create Upgrade Baseline

In the new VUM interface, upgrade baselines require just a few clicks to create. After specifying a baseline name, verifying the ESXi image, and reviewing the details, click "Finish"

Create Upgrade Baseline

Confirm Upgrade Baseline

After creating the upgrade baseline, verify that it is listed on the Baselines tab. To begin the cluster upgrade procedure, click "Hosts and Clusters"

Confirm Upgrade Baseline

Attach Baseline

VUM is most effective when a baseline is attached to a cluster of ESXi hosts, although it is possible to attach to individual hosts, if necessary. With the cluster selected, click "Attach"

Attach Baseline

Select Baseline to Attach

In the dialog box, we can choose one or more baselines to attach to this cluster.  In this scenario, we want to choose just the ESXi 6.7 upgrade baseline we created earlier.  Click OK

Select Baseline to Attach

Check Cluster Compliance

With the desired baseline now attached to the cluster, we will have Update Manager check each host to see if they are currently compliant or if they will need to be remediated. Click "Check Compliance"

Check Cluster Compliance

Verify Compliance and Check Remediation Status

Once Update Manager is finished checking each host in the cluster, the results are displayed in the center information card.  Here we can see that all four of these hosts are not compliant with the baseline and will need to be remediated.  Before we do that, let's run the cluster pre-check to ensure that remediation will be successful. Click "Pre-Check Remediation"

Verify Compliance Check Remediation Status

Remediation Pre-Check

The pre-check process will check to see if DRS is enabled so that running VMs can be migrated with zero-downtime across the cluster.  The pre-check also displays the status of HA admission control and enhanced vMotion compatibility.  Click "Done"

Remediation Pre-Check

Verify Pre-Check Results

After running the pre-check, verify that the cluster is ready for upgrade. Click "Remediate" to begin

Verify Pre-Check Results

Streamlined Remediation

In the new Update Manager interface, the remediation wizard from previous releases is gone.  Instead, we have a chance to review the actions that will be taken in a very efficient way.

Click OK

Streamlined Remediation

Upgrade Without Downtime

During the cluster remediation process, hosts are put into maintenance mode after the running VMs are migrated to other cluster nodes. This process is repeated, typically one host at a time, until the entire cluster is upgraded. Click the Refresh link to see the final status.

Upgrade Without Downtime

Verify Cluster Upgrade

When Update Manager is finished upgrading the cluster, the status information cards will show that the cluster is now compliant. 

This concludes the new Update Manager interface demo.

Walkthrough: Upgrading a cluster with VUM

vSphere Update Manager Overview & Cluster Upgrade Walkthrough

vSphere Update Manager Overview  Cluster Upgrade Walkthrough

Welcome to the feature demonstration of VMware vSphere 6.5. In this walkthrough, we will demonstrate the vSphere Update Manager user interface as well as how to perform a major version upgrade of a cluster of VMware ESXi hosts.

VMware ESXi hosts

VMware vSphere Update Manager, or VUM, enables administrators to keep VMware ESXi hosts up to date with the latest patches, as well as major version upgrades. In vSphere 6.5, VUM is fully integrated with the vCenter Server Appliance, or VCSA. By default, the service is configured to start automatically, so it is ready for use right away. Let’s start off by clicking the [Update Manager] tab

VMware vSphere Update Manager

Click on the [Go to Admin View].

VMware vSphere Update Manager

The Admin View is where administrators perform necessary configuration tasks for VUM itself.  Let’s review each tab and their functionalities. Click on [Hosts Baselines]

VMware vSphere Update Manager

In this tab, we can manage and update host baselines. Click on the [VMs/VAs Baselines] tab to continue

VMware vSphere Update Manager

Similar to the previous tab, we can manage and update VMs/VAs Baselines. Click on the [Patch Repository] tab.

Patch Repository

In this tab, we can view information on patches that are present in the repository. Click on the [ESXi Images] to continue

ESXi image

Let’s upgrade a cluster of ESXi hosts to the latest major version. For this, we first need to upload the appropriate ISO image obtained from VMware or an OEM partner and create a baseline. Click on the [Create baseline] button.

VMware or an OEM partner

Provide a name and then click on [OK]

ESXi image

Now, let’s navigate to the vSphere cluster that’s ready to be upgraded. Click on the [Go to compliance view].

Go to compliance view

Next, we attach the previously-created baseline, and scan for updates to confirm the current status of each host in the cluster. Click on the [Attach Baseline] button

VMware vSphere Update Manager

Select the required baseline and then click on [OK].

VMware vSphere Update Manager

Next, click on [Scan for Updates].

Scan for Updates

Select the ‘Upgrades’ option and then click on [OK].

VMware vSphere Update Manager

Hosts listed as ‘Non-Compliant’ do not match the version of ESXi associated with the attached baseline. We can now start the upgrade process by clicking the [Remediate] button.


The Remediate wizard allows one or more Hosts to be upgraded in a single workflow. Typically, all hosts in a cluster are upgraded together. Click on [Next] to continue.

VMware vSphere Update Manager

Select the required objects and then click on [Next]

VMware vSphere Update Manager

Accept the terms and license agreement. Now, click on [Next] to continue.

VMware vSphere Update Manager

VUM allows us to perform upgrades immediately or at a scheduled time. Click [Next] to continue.

VMware vSphere Update Manager

There are several remediation options to consider, such as whether or not to allow VUM to change the power state of a VM in order to reboot a host. Select the required options and click on [Next].

VMware vSphere Update Manager

Cluster-level options are also configurable. Click on [Next] to continue

VMware vSphere Update Manager

We will use the Pre-Check Remediation feature before finishing the wizard to ensure that the cluster is properly prepared for the task. Let’s click on the [Pre-check Remediation] button.

VMware vSphere Update Manager

If the Pre-Check reveals any issues, we will minimize the Remediate wizard temporarily to address them. In this case, we can see that DRS has been disabled. Click on [OK] to continue.

VMware vSphere Update Manager

Let’s minimize the wizard by clicking the [Minimize icon]

VMware vSphere Update Manager

We must enable DRS on a cluster in order for virtual machines to automatically migrate to other hosts with zero downtime. This enables seamless patching of the infrastructure without affecting running workloads. Right click the required host and select [Settings].


Click on the [Edit] button

VMware vSphere Update Manager

Enable the vSphere DRS option and click on [OK].

VMware vSphere Update Manager

After addressing the configuration issue, we will re-run Pre-Check to verify and finish the wizard. Click on the ‘Work In Progress’ tab and then click on [WebApp – Remediate].

VMware vSphere Update Manager

Click on the [Pre-check Remediation] button.

VMware vSphere Update Manager

As we can see, the DRS error is no longer displayed. Click on [OK] to continue.

VMware vSphere Update Manager

Click on [Finish] to start the remediation process

VMware vSphere Update Manager

Hosts are remediated in sequence, entering maintenance mode before upgrades are applied.  Depending on VUM configuration settings, multiple hosts may be upgraded in parallel. After VUM executes the upgrade, hosts are rebooted and then taken out of maintenance mode. VUM repeats this sequence until the entire cluster has been upgraded to the designated version. Hosts will be marked  as compliant when the upgrade has successfully completed. This concludes the feature demonstration. 

VMware vSphere 6.5 Embedded Update Manager (VUM) Demo

Blog: vSphere Upgrade Series Part 3: Upgrading vSphere Hosts

In Part 1 Preparing to Upgrade & Part 2 Upgrading vCenter Server of the vSphere Upgrade Series we prepared our environment for an Upgrade and then completed the vCenter Server & vSphere Update Manager (VUM) upgrades to version 6.7. In this post we will cover the upgrade process for Upgrading vSphere Hosts (ESXi) via vSphere Update Manager (VUM). Using vSphere Update Manager (VUM ) is a consistent way to keep updates and upgrades in order as well as managed in a repeatable fashion for vSphere Administrators.

I should also mention that utilizing VUM is not the only way to perform ESXi host upgrades. Upgrades for ESXi hosts can be done Interactively with a CD/DVD or USB drive, with vSphere Auto Deployscripted, or via esxcli commands. All methods may have different requirements which should be reviewed. Each method listed are valid and supported for upgrading ESXi hosts.

NoteIn regards to ESXCLI Upgrades & Secure Boot; “If your host was upgraded using the ESXCLI command then your bootloader wasn’t upgraded and doesn’t persist the signatures. When you enable Secure Boot after the upgrade, an error occurs. You can’t use Secure Boot on these installations and will have to re-install from scratch to gain that support.” – Mike Foley’s Secure Boot for ESXi Blog

Preparing VUM

In this environment I will be using VUM to manage the upgrades of four ESXi hosts on vSphere 6.0 to vSphere 6.7. Before we begin upgrading the vSphere ESXi hosts we will need to have the VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) 6.7 installation ISO (named similar to this; “VMware-VMvisor-Installer-<vSphere_version>-<build_number>.x86_64.iso“) which is available on A vSphere Update Manager (VUM) Upgrade Baseline is also required since we will be using VUM to perform the upgrades of our ESXi hosts. I will cover how to create the baseline that we will use during this post. Last, we need at least one vSphere ESXi host to upgrade with our VUM baseline.

We begin by uploading the VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) 6.7 installation ISO file to the VUM server so we can create and attach a baseline. From the top menu, click on Update Manager.

The Home screen for VUM is displayed.

Upgrading vSphere Hosts

Click on ESXi images, and then Import.

Browse to find the VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) 6.7 installation ISO. Once selected, the upload process starts on its own.

When complete, click Import to complete the action and save the ESXi Image to VUM.

From the Update Manager ESXi Images screen, we can see the image is loaded into Update Manager for use with a Baseline.

Create an Update Manager Baseline

Next we will create a baseline for our Upgrade within vSphere Update Manager. VUM baselines are host baselines used to upgrade objects in your vSphere inventory. Baselines can be predefined, system-managed, or customized to fit your needs. Please review vSphere Update Manager Installation & Administration guide for more details on baselines and baseline Groups.

Click on Baselines to begin. From this screen click on NEW, then New Baseline.

Fill out the name & description for the baseline, click the radio button for “Upgrade” as the content type for the baseline, and click Next.

Select the ESXi 6.7 Image to use with this baseline, click Next to continue.

Review all setting selections and then click Finish.

A new baseline is available now to attach to ESXi hosts. Next we can begin to remediate our vSphere Hosts by leveraging this upgrade baseline.

Upgrading vSphere Hosts

Now that our vSphere ESXi image has been uploaded to VUM and an upgrade baseline has been created, we move forward to upgrade our vSphere 6.0 hosts to vSphere 6.7.

Begin by moving to the Hosts and Clusters view.

Next, click on the Datacenter object (#1) then click on Updates (#2) and last click on Attach (#3).

In the pop up window, select the vSphere 6.7 Upgrade baseline so that we can attach it to our vSphere 6.0 hosts. Click OK to continue.

Once selected, the new upgrade baseline shows as ‘attached’ to the hosts within the cluster.

Click Check Compliance to begin the process of Update Manager validating that the hosts to be remediated are indeed eligible. Note that you may need to manually refresh to see current results.

Once the Compliance Checks are completed we can quickly see that our vSphere hosts need attention. This is a good and expected result. What this means is that the vSphere 6.7 code is not running on these vSphere hosts.

Note: If the status was to read ‘Compliant vs. Non-Compliant it would indicate that the hosts that were checked, already have vSphere 6.7 software installed.

A good practice is to validate that vSphere hosts are ready for Remediation. Click Pre-Check Remediation to validate that the hosts & cluster are in compliance. This pre-check will report any issues with the vSphere cluster. If issues are found they are reported along with helpful notes on the actions that must be taken before a vSphere host is remediated.

**HA Cluster Settings Consideration**

PLEASE READ BEFORE MOVING FORWARD: If you would like to edit the HA Cluster settings for items such as Admission Control, etc. you will need to launch the vSphere Web Client (Flex) since that workflow is not yet available in the vSphere Client (HTML5). Below is an example of what that screen looks like when editing via the vSphere Web Client (Flex).

After opening the vSphere Web Client (Flex), begin by clicking on the vSphere cluster, then click on Update Manager, click on Go to Admin View to continue.

From the vSphere Update Manager administrator view, click Manage, then Settings, and last click on Host/Cluster Settings to make any required changes.

**These settings are optional and not required in every situation. Edit settings with caution only after reviewing vSphere documentation.

Continue with Remediation…

An option to Open Pre-Check Documentation is available if the machine you are working from is connected to the internet.

Once all edits, changes, and reviews have been completed, click Done.

Click on Remediate to begin upgrading vSphere hosts.

Review and Accept the End User License Agreement (EULA), then click OK to continue.

Select the hosts that you would like to Remediate with the vSphere 6.7 Upgrade baseline. You can choose to do all hosts within a cluster or a select few. Click OK to continue.

When all hosts are selected, one host at a time is placed in Maintenance Mode and VMs are evacuated to other hosts within the cluster. Updates are applied before the host is rebooted and has the new vSphere version installed.

Note: “Remediation of hosts in a cluster requires that you temporarily disable cluster features such as VMware DPM and HA admission control. Also, turn off FT if it is enabled on any of the virtual machines on a host, and disconnect the removable devices connected to the virtual machines on a host, so that they can be migrated with vMotion” – vSphere Update Manager Installation & Administration Guide 

Below we can see our vSphere host going into Maintenance Mode and preparing to Upgrade. Once this host is done and back online after its reboot, Update Manager will move to the next ready host in the cluster to update in the same manner.

As each vSphere host is upgraded, the Update Manager screen will display the new versions. We see that 2 vSphere hosts out of 4 have been successfully upgraded to vSphere 6.7.

Success! All 4 vSphere hosts are running vSphere 6.7 software. vSphere versions can be validated by viewing Update Manager via the Updates tab. We can see “All Hosts Compliant” as well as below in the Attached Baselines section compliance shows Compliant.

Validation per host can also be reviewed by clicking on the name of the host in inventory and then the Updates tab. This view will show the vSphere version as well as Build numbers.


We have successfully executed Upgrading vSphere Hosts with vSphere Update Manager! We began in Part 1 of the blog series by reviewing our prerequisites & compatibility, gathering our data. In Part 2 we upgraded vCenter Server & migrated VUM from vSphere 6.0 Update3 to 6.7.

In the next vSphere Upgrade Series post, we will focus on upgrading VMware Tools & VM Compatibility (hardware version) for virtual machines in the vSphere 6.7 environment.

Please do not hesitate to post questions in the comments section of this blog or reach out to me directly via Twitter @vCenterNerd.


 Date: 2018-10-29

Using the Update Manager 6.7 Interface to Patch VMware ESXi 6.7 Hosts

Using the Update Manager 6.7 Interface to Patch VMware ESXi 6.7 Hosts

VMware vSphere Update Manager is capable of performing major version upgrades, applying patches and updates to supported versions of ESXi host, or installing drivers or other third-party components. In this example, we will walk through the procedure to patch a host running VMware ESXi 6.7 using existing baselines.

Click the Update Manager icon to begin. 

By default, there are no baselines attached to a cluster. Since we are using pre-created baselines we will proceed to attach those baselines to the host for remediation.

As we already have existing baselines, we will choose the option to Attach Baseline or Baseline Group. If we needed to create a custom baseline, we can choose the option to Create and Attach Baseline.

We will select all baseline we choose to attach to our host for remediation.

Once all baselines have been selected we will proceed to choose Attach to associate them with our ESXi host.

The next thing we need to do is Check Compliance of our host against Update Manager. Check Compliance does a check of currently installed patches, updates and upgrades installed on the ESXi host against what is within the Attached Baselines and Baseline Groups. If there are any missing patches, upgrades or updates the object will be in a Non-Compliant state.

Once the Scan is complete, we can see the status of the Compliance check. We can see that this host as 57 patches that need to be applied with 8 critical and 3 security fixes. Let's minimize the Recent tasks to proceed.

A new feature in 6.7 Update 1 and above is the ability to do a Pre-Check Remediation. This will detect and issues that may stop your remediation from completing successfully. Let's run the Pre-Check Remediation and see the results.

Our Remediation Pre-Check has passed, as we have no outstanding issues. Any errors that could impact remediation would be shown here such as DRS being disabled or attached removable media devices. Lets close the Remediation Pre-Check to proceed.

We are now ready to proceed with Remediation. Lets select All baselines we wish to apply to our host.

With the baselines selected we can now choose Remediate.

During Remediation the Pre-Check Remediation will also run if you did not manually choose it before. We have a few options below so let's explore them, starting with seeing which updates we are installing.

If we expand out the Install Updates, we can see all updates that will be applied to this object. The next section will cover whether or not you wish to remediate the object immediately or schedule for a future date or time.

If you choose to modify the scheduling options you can create a scheduled task to remediate the object at a later date or time. If you uncheck the option it will run immediately. Let's review the remediation settings.

Within this screen we can see the remediation options that have been chosen, these are configured at the vCenter Server level, so if you wish to modify them you need to Close Dialog and Go to Settings. Please note new features introduced with 6.7 Update 2 will allow you to disable Quick Boot as well as Disable the Check Host health after installation for VSAN Hosts. Consult the Release Notes and Documentation for more information on these features.

Once we have reviewed all the options, we can proceed to Remediate our ESXi host.

During an Update Manager remediation, if a host is not already in maintenance mode the first step is to put that host into maintenance mode, moving all running virtual machines to another host within the cluster. If DRS is disabled you will need to manually migrate or power off VMs.

Once the host is put into maintenance mode, Update Manager will automatically Install the updates and reboot the host.

When remediation is complete, a Check Compliance scan is automatically ran and the host will be removed from maintenance mode. Our remediation is now complete as our host is in Compliance with all the attached baselines.

Thank you for reviewing our walkthrough on patching your VMware ESXi 6.7 host. For more information and walkthroughs please view our VMware Blogs.

Video: Faster Host Upgrades to vSphere 6.7

Faster Upgrades to vSphere 6.7

VMware vSphere 6.7 incorporates optimizations that speed up major version upgrades, so customers moving from 6.5 to 6.7 will spend less time waiting for hosts to upgrade.


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