Updating your ESX or ESXi Server

Patching a server is important not just for the security but for the features that you will be missing.  this is particulary true of ESX where the VMware folks have to keep updating the supported operating systems for the guest systems.   Updating is pretty easy too.


  • Patching typically requires maintenance mode and often a reboot.  The bottom line here is that it’s an outage for your systems.
  • Some patches will require you to load a new client for the vSphere before you can get access.


  1. Locate the the appropriate patches http://www.vmware.com/patchmgr/download.portal if you don’t know what version your are running then take a look in you vSphere client under “About”
  2. See what’s needed with the CLI command “esxupdate query” This is going to show you what is already installed  For instance it may say “VMware ESXi 4.0 Update 3″  Let’s consider installing update 4.
  3. Place your ESX in Maintenence mode using one of these two commands:ESXi: # vim-cmd hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter
    ESX: # vimsh -n -e /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter
  4. Copy the link for update 4 from step #1 and setup the download process.esxupdate –bundle=https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/OFFLINE/release-322-20111116-059770/update-from-esxi4.0-4.0_update04.zip update
  5. Wait for it to complete.  If you get a message about “it is installed or obsoleted” those are two possible problems, but consider that your link from #1 could be for the wrong ESX version as well.
  6. Once installed Get out of maintenance mode:ESXi: # vim-cmd /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_exit
    ESX: # vimsh -n -e /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_exit

    ESXi: # vim-cmd /hostsvc/hostsummary | grep inMaintenanceMode
    ESX: # vimsh -n -e /hostsvc/hostsummary | grep inMaintenanceMode

  7. Reboot as necessary.
  8. Reload your vSphere client.


About Jay Farschman - Jay currently works as a Senior Systems Administrator for an asset management company in Colorado where he works with companies that produce hardware, telecommunications software and financial services.  Jay previously owned a consulting company and provided training and consulting services for three Fortune 500 companies and numerous small businesses where he leveraged Linux to provided exceptional value.

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