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Upgrading to ESXi 5 with Update Manager

So now with ESXi 5 and vSphere 5 dropping to the masses, it’s time to get some hands on experience with it.

So first things first, upgrade your vSphere 4 server to vSphere 5 and make sure to update VMware Update Manager (VUM) as well. Personally, I did a new install, but will cover an upgrade at a later date. Next, you’ll want to connect your ESXi 4 host to the vSphere 5 server’s DC. You’ll also want to download the ESXi ISO from VMware’s website. Now that we’re on the same page, here’s how the upgrade process goes:

Here’s an ESXi 4.1 host that I’ll be upgrading.
Upgrade Host

Now you’ll want to head over to the “Solutions and Applications” area, select “Update Manager” then click on the “ESXi Images” tab
ESXi Images

You’ll want to click on “Import ESXi Image”, browse to where the ISO for ESXi 5 was downloaded and click “Next”, the image will be uploaded and imported to the VUM repository, and once the upload is done it will display a success note.
Import ESXi Image
Upload Image
Import Image
Successful Upload

Then check the “Create a baseline” and name it something appropriate, then click “Finish”
Create Baseline

Here’s how the ESXi Image looks once it’s upgraded in VUM
ESXi Image Imported

Go back to the VUM tab for the individual host and attach the baseline, by clicking “Attach”, then checkmark the Upgrade Baseline that was just created and click “Attach”. The Baseline will now show up in the “Attached Baseline” along with having an upgrade notice in the bottom portion
Attach Upgrade Baseline
New Baseline Added

Click on the “Scan” button and ensure that “Upgrades” is checkmarked then click “Scan”
Scan Upgrades

In most cases, the host will show up as “Non-Compliant” however my host has an added plugin which won’t work with ESXi 5 and will have to be removed during the VUM upgrade. The error I received in this case was: “Software modules oem-vmware-esx-drivers-net-vxge oem-vmware-esx-drives-scsi-3w-9xxx published by third party vendor(s) are installed on the host. Upgrading the host will remove these modules.”
Incompatible Host
Upgrade Details

We’re all set to proceed with the upgrade by clicking on “Remediate”, selecting the “Upgrade Baselines” followed by the Baselines which was created (should show VMware ESXi 5.0.0 in the Upgrades column), accept the EULA, remove the software which will be incompatible with the upgrade, give the task a name and select a time to schedule the remediation, modify any maintenance mode options, verify the information and click “Finish”
Remediate Host
Accept EULA
Remove Incompatible Software
Task Name
Maintenance Mode
Verify Information

Here’s how the events went:
Upgrade Host

We have success!
Upgrade Host

My only problem with the whole process was after the host was upgraded, you have to physically push the “Enter” button to allow the machine to reboot. I was hoping for it to be a completely seamless and hands off experience, but a DRAC or iLO card makes up for it
Upgrade Host

Published inVMware


  1. Steve Steve

    Excellent walk-through! BTW, On my Dell R710 servers is was safe to uninstall the oem-vmware-esx-drives-scsi-3w-9xxx

    • Martins Martins

      Did You have incompatible notification about oem-vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-3w-9xxx and oem-vmware-esx-drivers-net-vxge? Or only oem-vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-3w-9xxx? I have also two Dell R710 servers in cluster.

      • Problem Problem

        I only had the error for the scsi drivers, and as Steve indicated earlier… it is ok to uninstall those.

  2. Zig Zig

    Thanks a lot, it works like a charm on BL460c G7! No need to add network’s driver.

  3. Martijn Martijn

    You might also want to explain why an installation would *not* have this update manager thing, and explain how to get it. Because it looks pretty darn useful, but I’m not seeing it on my client.

    • Problem Problem

      VMware’s vCenter Update Manager (VUM) would not be available if you didn’t install it along with your vCenter. However, you can go back into your vCenter installation files and install VUM. It should be one of the options on the splash screen of the setup.exe file. Every version of vCenter comes with the ability to install and use VUM. It is also highly recommended to use it, makes it pretty easy to upgrade your hosts.

  4. Sake Sake

    How long did the upgrade take?
    I’m doing the same but it seems to take a very long time

  5. Sake Sake

    It was a iSCSI time out. Dell R710 + MD3200i. Luckily a fix from VMware is allready available

  6. Martins Martins

    I tried to upgrade my ESXi host, but when host load after upgrade, i have fatal motherboard error and error on Dell R710 info panel – E171F PCIe fatal error on bus 3 device 0 function 0. I have updated Bios, try to use ESXi 5.0 dell recovery CD, but nothing helps. I had this two incopatible warnings about oem-vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-3w-9xxx and oem-vmware-esx-drivers-net-vxge. Now I downgrade to 4.1 and all is going well. Where could be the problem? And solution?


    • Chris Chris

      I have been working with a Dell R900 with Intel X520-DA2 cards in it. When I run 4.1.0, all is fine, I have multi-path to my iSCSI storage array and the cards show up where they are supposed to. When I try to upgrade to 5.0.0, the cards don’t show up correctly and multi-path is gone. I downgraded back to 4.1.0 and it is “back to normal” and multi-path is working again. I tried one more upgrade and got the error mentioned in this article. I just don’t understand why VMware would remove the VIB that was there in the 4.1.0 media.

      The only solution I see so far involves slipstreaming the VIB into an ISO, burning a new disc and upgrading with that in order to maintain proper operation. Seems to be a bigger pain to move to 5.0.0 than it’s worth.

      • Kyle Ruddy Kyle Ruddy

        Another option you can try… grabbing the ESXi ISO from Dell and doing it that way.
        Not exactly an equivalent situation, but my home lab has a Dell T110. The regular ESXi ISO wouldn’t work, but the one available through Dell’s support page did.

        Very odd.

        Hopefully you can get it figured out.

  7. tgbauer tgbauer

    If you don’t have iLO/DRAC access, you can wait 5min after you get to that final screen and it will reboot on its own.

  8. Thank you very much. Very helpful and useful note!
    I have spend more than week already trying to resolve issues with VUM 5.0 U1 (SR to VMware is still opened and it was escalated to higher level).
    I have upgraded successfully IBM x3650 M2 host from 4.1 U2 to 5.0 U1 successfully.
    It is quite fast if press Enter on host console to reboot host after upgrade (around 29%). I found painful only pressing Enter – it is not good for remote upgrades. I am going to report it to VMware support.

    • Omar Omar

      So were you able to install ESXi 5.0 in an IBM x3650?
      I’d like to install ESXi 5.0 in my IBM x3655, but since it’s not present in the HCL, it’s difficult to find information.
      Also I’m really interested in knowing if the installation, after some minutes restarts by itself, how tgbauer stated. Because my servers are far away, and I don’t have network access to the RSA.

      Thanks and best regards.

  9. Rick P. Rick P.

    I love you step-by-steps instructions!! I am a visual person, so this helps tremendously.

    I would like to know how you would go about updating my legacy VMware 4.1 cluster with 3 hosts to a new 5 hosts ESXi5 cluster environment with new hardware etc. Do you know the steps to take on this task or where else I can read up on this migration besides VMware pdf files?

    Thank you!!

    • Fred A. Fred A.

      First you need to get VCenter 5 up an running and controlling the new 5 host cluster. This means upgrade the existing VCenter to 5 or build a new VCenter to start clean. If you are running VCenter as an appliance or on a Virtual 2008r2 server build it on the new cluster. I have a stand-alone VCenter and non-virtualized SQL server. (If the cluster has a network or SAN interruption and you have either the VCenter or the SQL server that the VCenter is using you are sunk till you get the network/SAN/SQL server running again and have to go direct to the hosts with VMware client to start the guest servers again) If you have a new VCenter you could pull the existing 4.1 cluster into the new VCenter and manage it from one server, just disable HA and DRS on the old server first)

      If you are using the same shared storage on the old and new cluster the outage / switch to the new cluster is easy. Find the server to be moved / migrated on the common data store. In the OLD cluster, shut down that guest server and remove it from the inventory on the old cluster. On the new cluster import the guest into the cluster and power on. After that you should update the VM Tools which usually needs another reboot so get that done during the same outage.

      If you are not using the same storage between the old and new clusters you can use the VMware converter to let it do the server conversion / migration – V to V from the old location / storage to the new cluster.

      If you are using new storage but could temporarily attach the old and new storage you can use the first procedure to move between the clusters, then do a storage migration (After the tools are upgraded) to the new SAN.

      We did the V to V when we dropped in a new VBlock to replace our old hodgepodge of VM clusters. Just have to have a good high speed LAN between them. 10 Gig is very nice but multiple 1 Gig’s works as long as the servers are too large.

  10. Greg Greg

    My question is, with this procedure do I still have to detach my SAN.

    They advise it when you use a disk install to upgrade since you can inadvertently pick the wrong install disk.
    But I’d imagine that the upgrade would correctly choose to upgrade the proper local disk.

    Has anyone done the upgrade with their SAN links to the host intact?

    • Omar Omar

      No, you don’t need to detach the SAN.
      I installed ESXi 5 with UM and from CD, and it wasn’t necessary to detach the SAN. Everything was fine.

  11. Trevor Trevor

    I have a couple of IBM System x3650 M3 systems on 4.1 that I want to upgrade to 5.1. I’m getting the same warning about Software modules oem-vmware-esx-drivers-net-vxge oem-vmware-esx-drives-scsi-3w-9xxx published by third party vendor(s) are installed on the host. Upgrading the host will remove these modules.”

    My first thought was that I needed to get the update from IBM, but their website just points to the drivers page on the VMware site.

    It looks like you went ahead and did the 5.0 upgrade and didn’t worry about the warning or the drivers being removed. Did you have to install them later, or did it work just fine without them?

    • Trevor Trevor

      Oh, mine also has oem-ibmcustomization on the list.

  12. Alias Alias

    hello everyone,

    does anyone can say me, if it’s possible to install esxi 5.1 on a x3655 with 22xx processor ?

    THANK’S A LOT ! 🙂

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