HOW TO: Upgrade VMware ESXi 5.5 to ESXi 6.0 in 5 easy steps

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
MVE^2, Expert of the Year 2017-2011, Scribe 2016-2012, Author of the Year 2017-6,2013-2012 VMware vExpert 2018-2011 27 years of experience.
In previous articles, I've outlined how to upgrade from ESXi 5.1 to ESXi 6.0, however, as many upgraded to 5.5 and are looking to now transition to ESXi 6.0,I wanted to outline the quick steps to do so. In this article, I'll explain how to upgrade ESXi 5.5 to ESXi 6.0 in 5 easy steps.  

Before we get started:
It is important to ensure you have valid backups of your virtual machines before you make any changes to a Production VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.5 Host server, which is hosting virtual machines.Additionally all virtual machines must be powered off, and the server in maintenance mode.

Here are the steps to upgrade your software:

 1. Download ESXi 6.0 Offline Bundle
2. Upload the offline bundle to an ESXi 5.5 datastore

 3. Connect to the ESXi 5.5 host server via SSH

  • At the console prompt, type vmware -l to confirm the ESXi version. VMware ESXi 5.1.0 GA or later should be returned, though this will depend upon whether any patches have been applied.
4. Use esxcli at the console command line to upgrade the server

  • At the console, type:


esxcli software vib update -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/VMware-ESXi-6.0.0-2494585-depot.zip
  • The above command does not produce any feedback if entered correctly. After approximately 20 seconds, the upgrade should be completed, though we have found that if you are 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 upon completion:

  • If all is well, you should see a update screen, shown above, though you may have to scroll the screen to see all the information. Check the update result at the top. The update should have completed successfully, and the system should be rebooted for the changes to be effective.
  • You can see new VIB packages (driver packages) installed, removed, and none of the VIBs should have been skipped. If you are using an OEM version of VMware ESXi 5.5 (e.g. from HP, IBM or Dell), your output could be different.

  • Type reboot to reboot the server.
5. Check that the ESXi 5.5 Host server has been upgraded

  • Check the following:
    • The Console Screen should report VMware ESXi 6.0.0 (VMKernel Release Build 2494585)

Congratulations, you have successfully upgraded your host server from VMware ESXi 5.5to VMware ESXi 6.0.

Basic VMware Articles Series: 

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 5.0 and 5.5. For consistency, I have used VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.1 throughout this series:


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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