No 'UPGRADE option available after failed installation of ESXi 6.0 on a stand-alone host

Dear All,

I have a stand-alone ESXi 5.0 host which I was trying to install 6.0 on. The installation failed due to missing drivers of NIC card r8168. Anyways, I have created a new ISO using ESXi Customizer utility and ready to do the installation once again from the new ISO.

The problem now is that there is no 'upgrade' option available when I try to upgrade it, I am only getting 'Install' options which will wipe out the existing configs etc completely.

In summary: The host is still running fine and no issues with it. The issue is that ESXi 6.0 installer founds no existing ESXi installation on the host and suggest an installation instead of an upgrade option, this has happened after a few failed attempts to run the upgrade.

I found this Link which says the solution is to Move the local.tgz (in /altbootbank/state.xxxxx/) one directory higher.

I don't have a clue how to do that. Appreciate any help on which program to use and what commands to run to make sure the old installation is seen by the ESXi 6.0 installer again.

Thanks,
Abid
Abid MuhammadIT ManagerAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Is your server on the HCL, (I'm guessing no because it does not have a driver for your NIC!)

Check the VMware Hardware Compatability Lists HCL here

The VMware Hardware Compatibility List is the detailed lists showing actual vendor devices that are either physically tested or are similar to the devices tested by VMware or VMware partners. Items on the list are tested with VMware products and are known to operate correctly.Devices which are not on the list may function, but will not be supported by VMware.

http://www.vmware.com/go/hcl

The install option should not overwrite the existing VMFS partition which includes your VMs.

Did you not make a backup of the VMs ?

You could also install a new version to a USB flash drive or Sd card ?

Using the ESXi Customer is not officially supported!

If you must apply a HACK JOB, to your installation.... you will need to boot from a Linux CDROM..

see here my EE Article here, for a version of Linux, but you are really hacking the installation, and I'm not certain of the outcome, with your failed upgrade attempt. Even the VMware Community folk which tried this method, failed!!!!

HOW TO: Fix the Error loading /s.v00 Fatal error: 33 (Inconsistent data) in the VMware vSphere Hypervisor

I would recommend the USB flash drive or SD card installation, and a new version of ESXi 6.0, we never recommend upgrades.

Here is the VMware KB on installing 5.x on USB/SD:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2004784
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Abid MuhammadIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Hello Andrew,

Thanks for the note. I would encourage you to ready my post again.

To reiterate, my issue is not the HCL or the hardware. My problem is that the Installer ISO (no matter which version) does not find an existing ESXi installation on the host which has 5.0 installed and working - hence I don't see an Upgrade option. This happened because of previous failed attempt of upgrade.

I just need to fix the existing installation so that the ESXi 6.0 installer gives me the upgrade option, and the link I mentioned may have a fix, I just don't know how to apply it.

Thanks,
Abid
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would recommend the USB flash drive or SD card installation, and a new version of ESXi 6.0, we never recommend upgrades.

Here is the VMware KB on installing 5.x on USB/SD:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2004784

or, use the Linux CDROM, in my EE Article, to apply the fix, which does not work.

However if you read the VMware Community response, it does not work. (often!).

If you want to try the fix, download a Linux Live CDROM, and modify the partitions.
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Abid MuhammadIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Thanks again for your efforts Andrew.

I must UPGRADE this host and I was able to do so before but used an installer which did not have the correct drivers for my NIC card. I have now obtained the correct drivers and am ready to do the upgrade BUT my host is not ready. The failed upgrade attempts have slightly messed up the host and it does not give the Upgrade option anymore. I will continue to look for a fix.

On another note, here is an interesting note from Derek (a VMware vExpert) on one of his blogs:


Upgrading vSphere Hosts
The big question is: Should I upgrade the host or do a fresh install? Unlike vCenter where VMware recommends to do a fresh install, if possible, they recommend upgrading ESXi hosts. You can leverage features like HA, DRS, storage vMotion, and host profiles to quickly roll through hosts.

And it is the upgrade of an ESXi host we are talking about.

Cheers,
Abid
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
for your information, we never upgrade hosts, it causes to many issues, when you are doing hundreds weekly.

Why must you upgrade the host ?

Why not re-install to a USB flash drive, or SD card, you will be fixed in minutes.

If you want to try and fix your broken upgrade. You must boot from a Linux Live CDROM, - have you download the Live Linux CDROM as detailed in my Article ?

anyway back to your issue...

Have you booted the server with the Linux Live CDROM, and we can continue ?

(also note this method may not work!).

Does your host boot ?
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Abid MuhammadIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Dear Andrew,

I have managed to successfully UPGRADE my existing host from5.0 to 6.0.

To fix the issue I was having, I started the ESXi Shell, authenticated and then checked the contents of both Bootbank and Altbootbank directories using the ls command. Altbootbank was empty. Then I copied all files from /bootbank to /altbootbank using the cp command and then I was able to see the 'upgrade' option again for which I had posted this question. Installation was straight-forward using the custom profile I had created using ESXI Customizer.

Thanks for your help anyway, I will close this question now.

Regards,
Abid
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I don't have a clue how to do that. Appreciate any help on which program to use and what commands to run to make sure the old installation is seen by the ESXi 6.0 installer again.

Well Done, you worked it out.
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Abid MuhammadIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
No other comments were relevant or helped solved the problem. I fixed it on my own.
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