There are several methods to upgrade your ESXi but in my opinion using the vSphere CLI tool is by far the easiest. One of the best experience is with my Dell T300. Version 6.5 fails to install with support rejection from vmware. The fix was to install their latest supported  version 5.5 and then upgrade to 6.5 as demonstrated.

It is recommended to go in stages.

a. Upgrade from version 5.1 to 5.5
b. Upgrade from version 5.5 to 6.0
c. Upgrade from version 6.0 to 6.5

  • ssh to the vmware ESXi server for the following CLI steps.
  1. Check the current vmware version

    #> vmware -vVMware ESXi 6.0.0 build-3620759

  2. Enable maintenance on vmware server

    #> esxcli system maintenanceMode set –enable true

  3. Enable firewall rule (allow) for web traffic

    #> esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient

  4. Run this command to see the VMware online depot and the different profiles you can upgrade from. Here I am checking only for 6.5

    #> esxcli software sources profile list -d | grep -i ESXi-6.5

    ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-standard       VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupportedESXi-6.5.0-4564106-no-tools       VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported

  5. Upgrade to 6.5 standard or no-tools. I prefer to use standard package. ( This step takes 3 – 10 min depending on the hardware )

    Note: A “standard” profile contains VMware tools and a “no-tools” profile has no VMware tools (mostly for autodeploy).

    #> esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-standard -d

    Update Result   Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.   Reboot Required: true   VIBs Installed: VMW_bootbank_ata-libata-92_3.00.9.2-16vmw.650.0.0.4564106, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-amd_0.3.10-3vmw.650.0.0.4564106, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-atiixp_0.4.6-4vmw.650.0.0.4564106, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-cmd64x_0.2.5-3vmw.650.0.0.4564106, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-hpt3x2n_0.3.4-3vmw.650.0.0.4564106, VMW_bootbank_ata-pata-pdc2027x_1.0-3vmw.650.0.0.4564106….. ……..< CONT >

  6. Reboot the host to complete the upgrade.

    #> reboot

  7. ssh back to the vmware node and verify the new version

    #> vmware -vVMware ESXi 6.5.0 build-4564106

  8. Disable firewall rule (allow) for web traffic

    #> esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient

  9. Disable maintenance mode.

    #> esxcli system maintenanceMode set –enable false