How to upgrade VMware ESXi remotely without iLO and installation CD

I have one old HP Microserver N40L on remote site running ESXi 5.0 and I wanted to upgrade it to version HPE 6.5 (is the last version supporting the pre-Gen9 servers).

Unfortunatelly, the N40L has no iLO by default and I have no “hand-and-eyes” who could install it from inserted CD and I was lazy to travel one hour to the remote location and one hour back…

I have read in VMware documentation about possibility to upgrade via so called “offline package”. The article was not quite correct and all tries ended with some dependency error.

I have then found on one forum the right solution (omitted parameter), so here is the summary how to install it:

 

  1. Download the ESXi offline bundle zip file of your choice. (in my case “VMware-ESXi-6.5.0-Update2-9298722-HPE-preGen9-650.U2.9.6.8.3-Sep2018-depot.zip”)
  2. Create directory Depot in your datastore
  3. Upload the zip file to the created directory
  4. Place the host you want to upgrade into Maintenance Mode
  5. Then on the host you’re about to upgrade, go to the Configuration tab >> Security Profile and Enable SSH under Services
  6. Open PuTTY (or any other SSH client) and SSH into your host
  7. Type the following commands, replace the filename with the name of your zip file you uploaded
    • First, get the profile name list from the package:
      esxcli software sources profile list -d "/vmfs/volumes/DataStore 1/Depot/VMware-ESXi-6.5.0-Update2-9298722-HPE-preGen9-650.U2.9.6.8.3-Sep2018-depot.zip"
    • the ouput should be like like:
      Name                                           Vendor                      Acceptance Level 
      ---------------------------------------------  --------------------------  ----------------
      HPE-ESXi-6.5.0-Update2-preGen9-650.U2.9.6.8.3  Hewlett Packard Enterprise  PartnerSupported
    • do dry-run to check the stuff for possible errors (replace the profile name in “-p” parameter)
      esxcli software profile install -d "/vmfs/volumes/DataStore 1/Depot/VMware-ESXi-6.5.0-Update2-9298722-HPE-preGen9-650.U2.9.6.8.3-Sep2018-depot.zip" -p HPE-ESXi-6.5.0-Update2-preGen9-650.U2.9.6.8.3 --ok-to-remove --dry-run
    • if all is OK, run the same command without “–dry-run” parameter
  8. It can happen, that you get following error: “[Errno 32] Broken pipe”, then run following command and try again
    mv /store /store.old
  9. Reboot the host with “reboot” command
  10. Connect to the host, exit the host from Maintenance mode
    (please note, ESXi 6.5 is not anymore accessible via VMware vSphere Client application – only via web browser)
  11. Enjoy 🙂

 

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