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HOW TO: Upgrade from VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.1 to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.5 for FREE

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)
MVE^2, Expert of the Year 2017-2011, Scribe 2016-2012, Author of the Year 2018-6,2013-2012 VMware vExpert 2019-2011 30 years of experience.
HOW TO: Upgrade from VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.1 to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.5 for FREE

In my previous Experts Exchange Articles, most have featured Basic and Intermediate VMware and Virtualisation Topics.

If you would like to read my Basic VMware articles,  they are listed here for your convenience.  

During this series of articles VMware released VMware vSphere 5.5 and VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.5. These articles are also applicable to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.x and 5.5. For consistency, I have used VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.1 through this series.

Part 1: HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

Part 2: HOW TO: Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client

Part 3: HOW TO: Create an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image (*.iso), and MD5 checksum signature, for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

Part 4: HOW TO: Upload an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image to a VMware datastore for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client, and checking its MD5 checksum signature is correct.

Part 5: HOW TO: Enable SSH Remote Access on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

Part 6: HOW TO: Create your first Linux Virtual Machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

Part 7: HOW TO: Create your first Windows Virtual Machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

Part 8: HOW TO: Install VMware Tools for Windows on a VMware Windows virtual machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

Part 9: HOW TO: Install VMware Tools for Linux on a VMware Linux virtual machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

Part 10: HOW TO: Backup (Export) and Restore (Import) virtual machines to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 for FREE

In this article we will show you HOW TO: Upgrade from VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.1 to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.5 for FREE.

I feel this is a little more advanced, so I've not included it in the Basic VMware article series.

Please note before you make any changes to a Production VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.1 Host server, which is hosting virtual machines, it is important to ensure you have valid backups of your virtual machines.

See my Experts Exchange article here - Part 10: HOW TO: Backup (Export) and Restore (Import) virtual machines to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 for FREE if you want to use a quick and free method to backup important virtual machines.

On the 29 September 2013, VMware released VMware vSphere 5.5 and VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) 5.5. If you would like to Upgrade your version of ESXi 5.1 to ESXi 5.5, this tutorial is for you.

There are several VMware methods that can be used to upgrade ESXi hosts:

    vSphere Update Manager
    Scripted upgrade
    vSphere Auto Deploy

The above three methods require a licensed version of VMware vSphere.

    esxcli (Command-line interface)
    Upgrade using an ESXi installer ISO image on CD-ROM.
   
The above two methods can be used with the FREE version of VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi). You could download the ESXi 5.5 ISO image from VMware - here, then write the ISO image to a CD-ROM, Boot the Server, follow the Installation, and Upgrade using an ESXi installer ISO image on CD-ROM. Personally I think this option is slow, and requires you have physical access to the server.

In this tutorial on HOW TO: Upgrade from VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.1 to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.5 for FREE, we are going to use the esxcli (Command-line interface) method.


1. Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) or vSphere vCenter Server using the vSphere Client

Please refer to my EE article on HOW TO: Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client
InventoryClick the Inventory icon.
Check Host SummaryCheck in the Host Summary you are running ESXi 5.1.
ESXi 5.1 Console ScreenConfirmation from the ESXi 5.1 Console Screen

2. Download ESXi 5.5 Offline Bundle Patch

Download the ESXi 5.5 Offline Bundle Patch from VMware - here

The file is called VMware-ESXi-5.5.0-1331820-depot.zip, check the

MD5SUM: bff0b5558ad226ad395f6a4dc2b28597
SHA1SUM: ed37fe8aa849188750ae684f6330487c94ab5c8e

signatures are correct, with the published figures above. See my Experts Exchange article Part 3: HOW TO: Create an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image (*.iso), and MD5 checksum signature, for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) how to check these checksum signatures are correct for your offline bundle upgrade.

3. Upload the offline patch bundle to an ESXi 5.1 datastore

Upload the offline patch bundle to an ESXi 5.1 datastore, we will be uploading the patch bundle to datastore1 on our ESXi 5.1 host server. If you require additional help, on how to upload this file to the ESXi datastore, please see my Experts Exchange article Part 4: HOW TO: Upload an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image to a VMware datastore for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client, and checking its MD5 checksum signature is correct.

4. Connect to the ESXi 5.1 host server via SSH

Connect to the ESXi 5.1 host server via SSH. If your ESXi 5.1 server is not enabled for SSH, please see my Experts Exchange article Part 5: HOW TO: Enable SSH Remote Access on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1).

Step 3, in this Experts Exchange article, details SSH access to an ESXi host server Part 4: HOW TO: Upload an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image to a VMware datastore for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client, and checking its MD5 checksum signature is correct..

vmware -l - checking ESXi versionAt the console prompt, type vmware -l to confirm the ESXi version. VMware ESXi 5.1.0 GA or later should be returned, this will depend upon whether any patches have been applied.

5. Use esxcli at the command line to upgrade the server

at the console type
esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/VMware-ESXi-5.5.0-1331820-depot.zip -p ESXi-5.5.0-1331820-standardesxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/VMware-ESX
i-5.5.0-1331820-depot.zip -p ESXi-5.5.0-1331820-standard

The above command does not produce any feedback, if entered correctly, after approximately 20 seconds, the upgrade is completed, we have found if using slow USB flash drives and SD cards, this can take considerably longer for the files to be written. You will be presented with the following screen.
Upgrade Complete - SSHIf all is well you should see a update screen, as above, you may have to scroll the screen to see all the information. But check the update result, at the top, The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be reboot for the changes to be effective.
VIBs are driver packages. So you can see new VIB packages installed, VIBs removed, and no VIBs skipped. If you are using an OEM version of VMware ESXi 5.1, e.g. from HP, IBM or Dell, your output could be different.
reboot servertype reboot to reboot the server.

6. Check the ESXi 5.1 Host server has been upgraded

Check in the following three places

Console Screen should report VMware ESXi 5.5.0 (VMKernel Release Build 1331820)
Upgrade Complete - ESXi 5.5 Console Screen
Connect via vSphere Client should report VMware ESXi 5.5.0, 1331820
Host Summary Upgrade
Login to console or remotely via SSH, use vmware -l should report VMware ESXi 5.5.0 GA
vmware -l
Congratulations, you have successfully upgraded your host server from VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.1 to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.5 for FREE

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Thank you for reading my article, please leave valuable feedback. If you liked my VMware article and would like to see more Articles from me, please click the Yes button near the: Was this article helpful? at the bottom of this article just below and to the right of this information. Thank You. Do not forget if you have a question about this article or another VMware, Virtualisation, Windows Server 2012 question, why not post a Question for me and the other Experts Exchange Experts in the VMware, Virtualisation, Windows 2008, Windows 2012 Zones. I look forward to hearing from you. - Andy :- twitter @einsteinagogo
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