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Upgrading ESXi 3.5 hosts with OEM server vendor’s specific components to ESXi 4.0

Purpose

This article describes the process for reinstalling the OEM server vendor’s specific components after upgrading an existing host running ESXi 3.5 to 4.0.

Resolution

ESXi 3.5 is available with and without management providers created by OEM server vendors. With 3.5, updates for these components are delivered as part of the ESXi updates and patches issued by VMware.

With VMware ESXi 4.0, the OEM server vendor's components are released and updated separately from ESXi. OEM customized ESXi ISOs are available to perform fresh installations of ESXi with the OEM server vendor's specific components.
 
Note: Performing an installation using ISO wipes out your local VMFS partition. If you have virtual machines on the VMFS, ensure to back them up before proceeding with the installation.
 
VMware ESXi 4.0 requires compatible OEM server vendor’s specific components. If you rely on the functionality of OEM server vendor’s specific components in ESXi 3.5, you are required to reinstall the OEM server vendor’s specific components after you upgrade to ESXi 4.0.

To successfully upgrade a host from a 3.5 version of ESXi with OEM server vendor’s specific components to the 4.0 version of ESXi with the appropriate additional components:
  1. Download the ESXi 4.0 Upgrade Bundle from vmware.com, import it into vSphere Host Update Utility or vCenter Update Manager, and apply it to upgrade the ESXi 3.5 host to ESXi 4.0. For more information, see the vSphere Upgrade Guide.

    This is what happens:

    1. The host is running ESXi 3.5 off the active bootbank which contains ESXi 3.5 and the OEM server vendor’s components.
    2. The upgrade process copies the new ESXi 4.0 image and the existing configuration to the alternate bootbank. The OEM server vendor’s specific components (also known as oem.tgz) are not copied to the alternate bootbank.
    3. The upgrade process switches the bootbank. The alternate bootbank becomes the active bootbank and vice versa, so you can rollback to the bootbank with ESXi 3.5 and the OEM server vendor’s specific components, if necessary.
    4. The system reboots off the new active bootbank with ESXi 4.0. No OEM server vendor’s specific components are installed at that point and OEM server vendor’s tools may not be working.

  2. Contact your OEM vendor to source the appropriate management providers compatible with ESXi 4.0.
  3. Using the vSphere CLI, apply the offline bundle on the ESXi 4.0 hosts with the following command:

    vihostupdate.pl --install --bundle OEM_offline_bundle.zip
    Similar to the upgrade process, this operation switches the bootbanks so that a rollback to the previous state can be performed. Therefore, rolling back to the ESXi 3.5 image is not possible at that point.
Updates of the OEM specific components are available at the same location. For vCenter Update Manager users, updates for these components appear like VMware patches in the GUI.
Based on VMware KB 1010489

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