Nov 082010

Today I successfully upgraded 4 ESXi hosts to VMware ESXi 4.1.

Since I do not have Virtual Center (they are mainly lab machines), I found very good hints about hot to do it from CLI via SSH.

And as usual, to avoid forgetting how I did it’s good moment to write down some notes about the process.

  1. First of all, access to your ESXi 4.0 with vSphere Client, power off all the VMs and put the host in maintenance mode.
  2. Second, from ESX console press ALT-F1 and type the word unsupported pressing <Enter> afterwards. Please note that you will not be able to see anything while you type. This is kind of secret word to enable Tech Support Mode (TSM) locally.
  3. It will prompt you for root’s password, after which you’ll get console shell access on ESXi. Now let’s enable SSH access to the machine.
  4. Vi the file /etc/inetd, search for ssh and remove the hash sign in front of the line:

    ssh      stream   tcp   nowait   root   /sbin/dropbearmulti   dropbear ++min=0,swap,group=shell -i –K60

  5. Find the process id of inetd and send a hiccup signal to it to reconsider updated configuration:

    ~ # pidof inetd
    ~ # kill -HUP 4935

  6. Access to the ESXi via SCP graphical interface (for example, using WinSCP.

  7. Locate datastore (normally under /vmfs/volumes/datastore-name) and create a directory there called, for example, upgrade-4.1

  8. Download the file upgrade-from-ESXi4.0-to-4.1.0-0.0.<somenumber> from VMware Website and unzip it.

  9. Transfer the unzipped content into the directory you created on ESXi using scp.

  10. Access to ESXi host in SSH.

  11. Upgrade using commands:
    ~ # cd /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/upgrade-4.1
    ~ # esxupdate update –m

  12. Upgrade process will begin and conclude as shown below:

  13. Reboot your ESXi

  14. Access with vSphere 4.1 client and exit from Maintenance mode.

  15. Restart your VMs.

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