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Upgrading an ESX/ESXi 4.x host with the Cisco Nexus 1000V to ESXi 5.0 using Update Manager


Upgrading an ESX 4.x host that is presently a member of the Cisco Nexus 1000V DVS should be performed using VMware Update Manager.  In this example, an ESX 4.0 host on the N1K DVS version 4.2(1)SV1(4a) will be upgraded to ESXi 5.0 U1.

  • VSMs and VEMs are already running 4.2(1)SV1(4a)
  • vCenter and Update Manager have been upgraded to 5.0
  • PowerCLI 5 is installed on your workstation


Upgrading the host:

The following steps will show you how to create a custom ESXi 5.0 image, which includes VEM components.

1.    Open PowerCLI and connect to vCenter Server.  Begin by adding VMware and Cisco software depot URLs.

Connect-VIServer x.x.x.x -User administrator -Password *******

Add-EsxSoftwareDepot j:\ESXi500-201205001.zip (available from the VMware patch site)
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot j:\VEM500-201108271.zip (found within the Nexus 1000V archive)

(Optional) Take the opportunity to include other necessary 3rd party drivers with your custom image.
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot j:\qlge- (found on the  drivers download site).

2.  Verify the software package has been added

Get-EsxSoftwarePackage | where {$_.Vendor -eq "Cisco"} 


3. Find the name of the image profile.  This will be used to clone a new profile in the following step.

Get-EsxImageProfile | Select Name

4.  Clone the profile using the image name from Step 3.  Choose a name for the custom profile.  In the Example, ESX5-plus-VEM-1.4a was chosen.

New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile ESXi-5.0.0-20120504001-standard -Name ESX5-plus-VEM-1.4a -AcceptanceLevel PartnerSupported

5.  Add the VEM to the custom profile using the name from Step 2. 

Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile ESX5-plus-VEM-1.4a -SoftwarePackage cisco-vem-v131-esx

(Optional)  If installing a 3rd party driver as mentioned per Step 1, find the name of the software package.  The software package name can be found with a simple search. In the following command, exlude the third clause to display all available drivers.

Get-EsxSoftwarePackage | where {$_.Vendor -eq "VMware"} | where {$_.Name -match "net"}


The qlge network interface driver is named net-qlge.  Add it to the custom image.
Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile ESX5-plus-VEM-1.4a -SoftwarePackage net-qlge

6.  Once finished adding packages to the custom image, export the image as an ISO file.
Export-EsxImageProfile -ImageProfile ESX5-plus-VEM-1.4a -ExportToISO -FilePath j:\ESX5-plus-VEM-1.4a.iso

7.  Import the ISO file as an ESXi image in the Update Manager repository.

8.  Create a baseline for the new image.





9.  Attach a host to the baseline (select the host in the Hosts & Clusters view, hit the Update Manager tab, right clight in either the Baseline Groups, or Attached Baselines pane and choose attach).



Update Manager will begin the process of upgrading the host.  The process will take some time -- about 30 minutes as it did for this example.

If you view the direct console during the upgrade, you might see this message.  The host should reboot automatically after this message is displayed for at least 5 minutes.  If the host fails to boot and the remediation process hangs, you may wish to access the the host's direct console for additional clues.

Upon host boot, the module will power up again in the VSM and host remediation will complete successfully.


If you chose to upgrade hosts manually, you will have to remove each host from the DVS prior to performing the upgrade.  This method is not recommended as it involves quite a bit of extra work, such as migrating vmk interfaces to a vSwitch and either migrating or removing vmnic interfaces from uplink port profiles.  The VEM will be uninstalled post-upgrade to 5.0.  Upon adding the host back to the DVS in vCenter, the correct version of the VEM for 5.0 will be installed automatically by Update Manager.

The upgrade process is described by Cisco Nexus 1000V VEM Software Installation and Upgrade Guide, Release 4.2(1) SV1(4a) in more detail.  For other versions of the 1000V, review the corresponding VEM software installation and upgrade 

Based on VMware KB 2021363

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