Updating ESXi Hosts using Update Manager

Updating ESXi hosts using Update Manager

You may be aware of the recent WannaCry ransomware attack. I mean who wasn’t, right? Internally within our company this caused a bit of a stir around patching and making sure our environment is up to date. Something that is overlooked by a lot of support staff but can be devastating if not kept up to date. At a recent VMUG I attended Michael Armstrong (@m80arm) from VMware was given a presentation on NSX security and asked for a show of hands if anyone’s environment is 100% patched. The result… no hands from 50 attendees! Quite alarming. So let’s go through patching our ESXi hosts using update manager.

We are moving from ESXi 5.1 Update 2 to ESXi 5.5 Update 3b, so first step we need to log onto the VMware portal ( www.my.vmware.com ) and download the relevant ESXi ISO image we wish to patch to. In our case ESXi 5.5 Update 3b.

Once downloaded we need to launch update manager from the c# vSphere client. This can be found under Home>Solutions and Applications.

update manager plugin location

Once you have launched update manager select the ESXi images tab. Then select “import ESXi Image..”

import ESXi Image

From here we select browse and navigate to our downloaded ISO image and select next. The ISO will begin uploading.

ESXi image uplaoding

Once complete, you should receive a “upload successful” confirmation screen as below.

ESXi successful upload

Select Next, and give you baseline a name and a description. I’m going to call my baseline after the ESXi release as shown below. Then select Finish.

baseline name

We now need to attach our newly created baseline to the ESXi hosts we want to upgrade. Navigate to Home>Inventory>Hosts and Clusters from here select your ESXi host or cluster you wish to apply the update. In our instance we are going to apply it cluster wide as we want all hosts in the cluster at the same version. Once you have selected your host or cluster click the update manager tab.

update manager tab

From here we want to select attach (top right corner) and then select our newly created baseline. Once selected click attach.

attach baseline

Once attached, we now need to select remediate from the bottom right corner of the update manager tab and run through the wizard.


Click Next and accept the terms and license agreement check box and click Next.

Here we can remove third-party software that is incompatible with the upgrade. We will ignore this page for in this instance but this may be applicable to your own environment.

Next page we can schedule the task to run at a convenient time or immediately, we can also give the task a meaningful name.

baseline task name

Click Next and here we have the host remediation options, here we can set the VM power state while going through the upgrade process. Once you have the settings required for your environment click Next.

cluster remediation Options

Here we have the cluster remediation options, again here you should select the options applicable to your environment. Note that if you are running a HA (high availability) cluster you will need to select the disable HA admission control during the upgrade. These settings will be re-enabled once the update is complete. Click Next and the Finish.

Your update will now be under way. Note that the host will reboot several times, once complete you should have a fully upgraded host/cluster!

Any questions, drop them in the comments below.

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