vSphere Update Manager is software for upgrading, migrating, updating, and patching clustered hosts, virtual machines, and guest operating systems. Update Manager orchestrates host and virtual machine upgrades. If your site uses vCenter Server, VMware recommends that you use Update Manager.
For instructions about conducting an orchestrated host upgrade, see Using vSphere Update Manager to Perform Orchestrated Host Upgrades in the vSphere Upgrade Guide. For instructions about conducting an orchestrated virtual machine upgrade, seePerform an Orchestrated Upgrade of Virtual Machines with vSphere Update Manager in the vSphere Upgrade Guide. For complete documentation about Update Manager, see Installing and Administering VMware vSphere Update Manager.
Note: Update Manager 5.x does not support upgrading ESX hosts to a later version of ESX (ESX 4.0 to ESX 4.1). It only supports upgrading from ESX/ESXi 4.x to ESXi 5.0.
You can upgrade and apply patches to ESXi 5.x hosts using the esxcli command-line utility for ESXi. You cannot use esxcli to upgrade ESX/ESXi 4.x hosts to ESXi 5.x. This utility requires the vSphere CLI. For more information, see Upgrading Hosts by Using esxcli Commands in the vSphere Upgrade Guide.
Note: The esxupdate and vihostupdate utilities are not supported for ESXi 5.x upgrades.
This table summarizes the supported ESXi 5.x upgrade methods:
|Upgrade Methods||Upgrade from ESX/ESXi 4.x to ESXi 5.x||Upgrade or Patch from ESXi 5.0 to ESXi 5.x|
|vSphere Update Manager||Yes||Yes|
|Interactive upgrade from CD, DVD, or USB drive||Yes||Yes|
|vSphere Auto Deploy||No||Yes|
You can upgrade an ESXi 5.0 host directly to ESXi 5.1, and in most cases, you can migrate an ESX 4.x or upgrade an ESXi 4.x host directly to ESXi 5.1.
The details and level of support for an upgrade or migration from ESX/ESXi 4.x and ESXi 5.0 to ESXi 5.1 depend on the host to be upgraded and the upgrade method that you use.
These ESX/ESXi 4.x and ESXi 5.0 versions are supported for upgrade to ESXi version 5.1:
|Scenario for Upgrade or Migration to ESXi 5.1||Support|
|ESX/ESXi 3.x hosts|
Not supported for direct upgrade.
You must upgrade ESX/ESXi 3.x hosts to ESX/ESXi 4.x before you can upgrade them to ESXi 5.1. See the vSphere 4.x upgrade documentation.
Alternatively, you might find it easier and more cost effective to do a fresh installation of ESXi 5.1
|ESX 4.x host that was upgraded from ESX 3.x with a partition layout incompatible with ESXi 5.x|
The VMFS partition cannot be preserved. Upgrading or migration is possible only if there is at most one VMFS partition on the disk that is being upgraded and the VMFS partition must start after sector 1843200. Perform a fresh installation. To keep virtual machines, migrate them to a different system.
|ESX/ESXi 4.x host, migration or upgrade with vSphere Update Manager|
See Using vSphere Update Manager to Perform Orchestrated Host Upgrades in thevSphere Upgrade Guide and Installing and Administering VMware vSphere Update Manager.
|ESX/ESXi 4.x host, interactive migration or upgrade|
See Upgrade or Migrate Hosts Interactively in the vSphere Upgrade Guide.
The installer wizard offers the choice to upgrade or perform a fresh installation. If you upgrade, ESX partitions and configuration files are converted to be compatible with ESXi.
|ESX/ESXi 4.x host, scripted upgrade|
See Installing, Upgrading, or Migrating Hosts Using a Script in the vSphere Upgrade Guide.
In the upgrade script, specify the particular disk to upgrade on the system. If the system cannot be upgraded correctly because the partition table is incompatible, the installer displays a warning and does not proceed. In this case, perform a fresh installation. Upgrading or migration is possible only if there is at most one VMFS partition on the disk that is being upgraded and the VMFS partition must start after sector 1843200.
|ESX 4.x host on a SAN or SSD|
You can upgrade the host as you would a normal ESX 4.x host, but no provisions will be made to optimize the partitions on the disk. To optimize the partition scheme on the host, perform a fresh installation.
|ESX 4.x host , missing Service Console .vmdk file, interactive migration from CD or DVD, scripted migration, or migration with vSphere Update Manager|
The most likely reasons for a missing Service Console are that the Service Console is corrupted or that the VMFS volume is not available, which can occur if the VMFS was installed on a SAN and the LUN is not accessible. In this case, on the disk selection screen of the installer wizard, if you select a disk that has an existing ESX 4.x installation, the wizard prompts you to perform a clean installation.
|ESX/ESXi 4.x host, asynchronously released driver or other third-party customizations, interactive migration from CD or DVD, scripted migration, or migration with vSphere Update Manager|
Supported with ESXi Image Builder CLI.
If an ESX/ESXi 4.x host contains customizations, such as third-party VIBS or drivers, upgrading with the standard VMware installer ISO will result in the loss of those customizations, and possibly an unstable system. See Upgrading Hosts That Have Third-Party Custom VIBs in the vSphere Upgrade Guide. You can use ESXi Image Builder CLI to create a customized ESXi installer ISO file that includes the VIBs or drivers. See the information on Image Builder in the vSphere Installation and Setup documentation.
|ESXi 5.0 host, asynchronously released driver or other third-party customizations, interactive upgrade from CD or DVD, scripted upgrade, or upgrade with vSphere Update Manager|
When you upgrade an ESXi 5.x host that has custom VIBs to version 5.1, the custom VIBs are migrated.
See Upgrading Hosts That Have Third-Party Custom VIBs in the vSphere Upgrade Guide.
|ESXi 5.0 host|
These methods to directly upgrade to ESXi 5.1 are supported: