Updating a single ESXi host homelab

A while ago VMware released Update 1 of vSphere 4 and some time before that it released vSphere 4. In my homelab I have one ESXi host and vCenter as a VM running on top of it. Upgrading from ESXi 3.5 to vSphere was quite easy using the special Host Upgrade Utility shipped with the vSphere client.

Upgrading from ESX4 to ESX4 Update 1 is something different. As I run ESXi from a USB flash device I did not feel like creating a new USB device with the latest version and importing all VM’s etc.

I wanted an upgrade without too much re-configuration. Normally I would use Update Manager to do this, but since it is installed on my vCenter server and that runs virtual and there is no other host to migrate it to, this is not an option.

I used a virtual clone of my vCenter server and took it to my laptop running with VMware workstation. Since the vCenter now left the ESXi host I was able to perform the upgrade of ESXi.

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  1. Shut down the vCenter Server;
  2. Install VMware Standalone Converter somewhere, except on vCenter;
  3. Using Standalone Converter export vCenter in Workstation format to an location outside ESXi;
  4. Using VMware Workstation power up the exported vCenter server;
  5. Reconfigure the Network (IP-address) of the workstation vCenter instance;
  6. Create a baseline containing ESX (i) Update 1 and assign it to the Host;
  7. Make sure all VM’s on the ESXi Host are powered off or suspended;
  8. Connect to the Workstation instance of vCenter using the vSphere Client;
  9. Scan & Remediate host using vCenter Update Manager

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