I'm getting ready to upgrade 2 HP Proliant ML350 G6 servers from older versions of VMWare (4.1 and 5.1) to 5.5. Currently these are standalone servers, but we're planning on adding VSphere Essentials as part of the upgrade.
I need to understand if the HP Offline Bundles are required with regard to doing this upgrade. HP has a few offline bundles listed for this model of server for VMWare 5.5. However, it's a bit confusing because when you look at the description of the offline bundle it refers to Gen8 and Gen9 support. So, I'm not even positive that the bundles apply to these servers, since they're G6's.
One of my question is: do I install the HP offline bundle(s) before I upgrade to 5.5 or after, or does it matter? It appears from the installation instructions that ESXi 5.5 needs to be installed first, but I would like some confirmation of that. Also, I'm unclear as to exactly what functionality these offline bundles provide. Do they add some functionality to VSphere Essentials that I won't have without the offline bundles? Or is it simply a matter of having the most up to date versions of HP software and drivers?