The following tutorial describes in simple steps the process to upgrade your ESXi 5.x hypervisor to version 6.0. In my case i was running ESXi 5.1 on a HP Proliant N54l microserver. We will be using SSH and the command line to perform the update. It’s a very simple process but you need to ensure that you are using absolute file paths, and remember these are case sensitive!
Step 1. Download the ESXi / vSphere 6.0 General Availability Offline Depot from My VMware, alternatively if you don’t have a VMware account, you can download it here. The file you need to download is named:
Step 2. Copy across the offline depot archive to a datastore, making note of the absolute path to the file location
Step 3. Enable SSH access on your ESXi host.
Open vSphere client and click on the ‘Configuration’ tab > Under ‘Software’ click on ‘Security Profile’ > Click ‘Properties’ > from the list select ‘SSH’ and click ‘Options’ > click ‘Start’ and then ‘OK’.
Step 4. Put your ESXi host into Maintenance mode.
From vSphere client right click on the ESXi host and click ‘Enter Maintenance Mode’
Step 5. Download putty. Open Putty and type the IP address of your ESXi host, select the ‘SSH’ radio button. Click ‘Open’. When prompted enter your SSH credentials for root user.
Step 6. At the command prompt paste the following commands (right click to paste, press return after each command):
esxcli software vib update -d /vmfs/volumes/Datastore1/Update/VMware-ESXi-6.0.0-2494585-depot.zip
The first command checks the current ESXi version number, you should be running v5.1 or later.
The second command performs the update, be sure to verify the absolute file path is correct, as recorded in step 2.
If successful the the update should complete after about 30 seconds. You will see a wall of text, at the top of which it will say something like:
Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.
Step 7. Reboot the ESXi host, at the command prompt type
Step 8. Once the system has finished rebooting, open vSphere client. You will be prompted to update the vSphere client, follow the instructions on screen to download and install the latest version. You also now have access to a web based version of the vSphere client, it’s somewhat more limited in features, but useful nonetheless. You can install it using the following command:
esxcli software vib install –v http://download3.vmware.com/software/vmw-tools/esxui/esxui_signed.vib
Once installed you can access the web management page via http://<ESXiServerIP>/UI
That’s it, you have successfully upgraded your ESXi host to version 6.0, and can now manage your host via the new web management interface (or the vSphere client).
NT: Disable SSH access once done, for security.