How to upgrade a VMware ESXi server (using esxcli)

VMware ESXi is a type-1 hypervisor (native or bare-metal hypervisors), and thus includes the kernel. To upgrade to latest version we can use esxcli, see Methods for upgrading to ESXi 5.5 (2058352) for all the upgrade methods.

# enable ssh in ESXi and open a ssh root session

# shut down all VMs running

# enter in maintenance mode
$ vim-cmd /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter

# correct firewall rules 
$ esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient

# list all available "-standard" versions
$ esxcli software sources profile list -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml | grep standard

# choose one/latest, update (dont install, update!) and reboot
$ esxcli software profile update -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml -p ESXi-5.5.0-20150204001-standard
$ reboot

# reopen ssh and exit from maintanance mode
$ vim-cmd /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_exit

from Der Flounder Blog

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