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

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 for clusters in a workload domain that uses vLCM baselines, 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.


  • Validate that the ESXi password is valid.
  • Download the ESXi bundle. See Downloading 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.


  1. Navigate to the Updates/Patches tab of the domain.
  2. Run the upgrade precheck on your workload domain. See Perform Update Precheck.
  3. In the Available Updates section, select the target release.
  4. Click Upgrade Now or Schedule Update.
  5. If you selected Schedule Update, specify the date and time for the bundle to be applied.
  6. 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.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Select the appropriate upgrade options and click Finish.
    By default, the selected clusters are upgraded in parallel. If you selected more than five clusters to be upgraded, the first five are upgraded in parallel and the remaining clusters are upgraded sequentially. To upgrade all selected clusters sequentially, select Enable sequential cluster upgrade.
    Click Enable Quick Boot if desired. Quick Boot for ESXi hosts is an option that allows Update Manager to reduce the upgrade time by skipping the physical reboot of the host.
  9. Monitor the upgrade progress. See Monitor Updates.