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Using the proper upgrade bundle when upgrading an ESX/ESXi 4.x host to a newer version

Symptoms

VMware provides several upgrade bundle files to upgrade your ESX or ESXi 4.x host. However, each bundle file can only be used in specific in specific upgrade scenarios. 
 
If you use the wrong bundle, you experience these symptoms:
  • The upgrade fails
  • In vCenter Update Manager, you see the error:
Failed to import upgrade. Error was: failed upload
  • The vmware-vum-server-log4cpp.log (located in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\Update Manager or C:\Users\All Users\VMware\VMware Update Manager\Logs) contains errors similar to:
[2010-02-02 20:40:36:379 'HostUpgradeMetadata' 3456 ERROR]  [metadata, 796] Can not read MD5 checksums, error: ios_base::failbit set
[2010-02-02 20:40:36:379 'HostUpgradeMetadata' 3456 ERROR] [metadata, 834] Cannot process MD5 checksums in cosless upgrade package, error: integrity.fault.HostUpgradeChecksumFailure
[2010-02-02 20:40:36:379 'HostUpgradeMetadata' 3456 ERROR] [metadata, 894] Integrity verification of upgrade package failed.
  • In the vSphere Host Update Utility, you see the error: 
Failed to read the upgrade package metadata: Could not find file "metadata.xml"

Purpose

This article provides information on the upgrade bundles to be used in different upgrade scenarios when upgrading an ESX/ESXi 4.x host to a newer version

Resolution

In certain situations, a ZIP file is used for the upgrade, while in others, the ISO file may be necessary. In addition, you must also ensure that you have upgraded your vCenter Server and Update Manager to the latest version before upgrading your ESX/ESXi hosts. Trying to run an upgrade package on an ESX/ESXi host with a version that pre-dates your vCenter Server and Update Manager can cause similar errors. The following sections provide information on the bundle to be used when upgrading the hosts.
 
 
Upgrading an ESX/ESXi host from the Service Console using the esxupdate utility
 
Note: For more information about how to use the esxupdate utility, see the ESX 4 Patch Management Guide. In the following examples, is the version of the package you are applying.
 
ESX 4.x:
 
To upgrade an ESX 4.x host, use the ESX-4.x.x-updatexx.zip file.
 
This example command updates an ESX 4.x host to a newer released update.
 
esxupdate --bundle=ESX-4.x.x-updatexx.zip update
 
 
ESXi 4.x:
 
To upgrade an ESXi 4.x host, use the ESXi-4.x.x-updatexx.zip file.
 
This example command updates an ESXi 4.x host to a newer released update:
 
esxupdate --bundle=ESXi-4.x.x-updatexx.zip update
 
 
Upgrading an ESX/ESXi host using Update Manager
 
To upgrade your host using Update Manager, you must have Update Manager already pre-configured in vCenter Server. For more information about Update Manager, see the vCenter Update Manager Administration Guide.
 
Note: To use Update Manager, VMware recommends that you have a familiarity of how to attach baselines and apply them.  
 
ESX 4.x:
 
To upgrade an ESX host using Update Manager, use the ESX 4.x installation DVD ISO file. 
 
Note: To upgrade an ESX host, you do not require a ZIP file.
 
 
ESXi 4.x:
 
Use ESXi-4.x.x-x.x.xxxxx-upgrade-release.zip to create an ESXi upgrade baseline with Update Manager. This same file can also be used with the vSphere Host Update Utility (an upgrade package to go from ESXi 4.x to a later version of ESXi).

Based on VMware KB 1020673

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