By default, the upgrade process upgrades the ESXi hosts in all clusters in a domain. If you have multiple clusters in the management domain or in a VI workload domain, you can select which clusters to upgrade.

If you want to skip any hosts while applying an ESXi update to the management domain or a VI workload domain, you must add these hosts to the file before you begin the update. See Skip Hosts During ESXi Update.

To perform ESXi upgrades with custom images and async drivers, see Upgrade ESXi with Custom ISO or Async Drivers.

If you are using external (non-vSAN) storage, the following procedure updates the ESXi hosts attached to the external storage. However, updating and patching the storage software and drivers is a manual task and falls outside of SDDC Manager lifecycle management. To ensure supportability after an ESXi upgrade, consult the vSphere HCL and your storage vendor.


  • Download the ESXi bundle. See Download Bundles.
  • Ensure that the domain for which you want to perform cluster-level upgrade does not have any hosts or clusters in an error state. Resolve the error state or remove the hosts and clusters with errors before proceeding.
  • For clusters in a vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM)-enabled workload domain, you must have a cluster image set up that includes the ESXi version that you want to upgrade to. The ESXi version must match the version in the bundle you downloaded. See Cluster Image Management.
  • To add or upgrade the firmware on clusters in a vLCM-enabled workload domain, you must have the vendor Hardware Support Manager installed. See Adding Firmware and Components to a Cluster Image.


  1. Navigate to the Updates/Patches tab of the domain.
  2. Run the upgrade precheck. See Perform Update Precheck.
  3. In the Available Updates section, click Update Now or Schedule Update for the ESXi bundle and click the date and time for the bundle to be applied.
  4. Select the clusters to upgrade and click Next.
    The default setting is to upgrade all clusters. To upgrade specific clusters, click Enable cluster-level selection and select the clusters to upgrade.
  5. If you are upgrading a vLCM-enabled VI workload domain, the Assign Images tab appears.
    1. In Step 1, select one or more clusters. If you select multiple clusters, they must include hosts from the same vendor.

      Select clusters for vLCM-enabled workload domains.

    2. In Step 2, select the image to be assigned to the selected clusters. The ESXi version, vendor add-ons, components, and Firmware and Drivers Addons for the selected image are displayed.

      Select the cluster image and firmware and driver add-ons.

    3. Select the Firmware and Drivers Addon for the selected clusters (optional).

      Note that the cluster image is not updated with the firmware.

    4. Click Apply Image and then click Next.
  6. Click Finish.
  7. Monitor the upgrade progress. See Monitor Updates.

What to do next