VMware provides several ways to upgrade ESXi hosts with version 6.5 and version 6.7 to ESXi version 7.0.

The details and level of support for an upgrade to ESXi 7.0 depend on the host to be upgraded and the upgrade method that you use. Verify that the upgrade path from your current version of ESXi to the version to which you are upgrading, is supported. For more information, see the VMware Product Interoperability Matrices at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/sim/interop_matrix.php.

You can upgrade an ESXi host with version 6.5 or 6.7 by using an interactive upgrade from a CD, DVD, or USB, a scripted upgrade, ESXCLI, or vSphere Lifecycle Manager. When you upgrade an ESXi 6.5 or 6.7 host that has custom VIBs to version 7.0, all supported custom VIBs are migrated. For more information, see Upgrading Hosts That Have Third-Party Custom VIBs.

Figure 1. Overview of the ESXi Host Upgrade Process

The following high-level steps are for upgrading ESXi.

  1. Verify that your system meets the upgrade requirements. See ESXi Requirements.
  2. Prepare your environment before upgrading. See Before Upgrading ESXi Hosts.
  3. Determine where you want to locate and boot the ESXi installer. See Media Options for Booting the ESXi Installer. If you are network booting the installer, verify that your network boot infrastructure is properly set up. See Network Booting the ESXi Installer.
  4. Upgrade ESXi. See Upgrading ESXi Hosts
  5. After upgrading ESXi hosts, you must reconnect the hosts to the vCenter Server and reapply the licenses. See After You Upgrade ESXi Hosts.
The following methods are supported for a direct upgrade to ESXi 7.0.
  • Use the interactive graphical user interface (GUI) installer from a CD, DVD, or USB drive.
  • Perform a scripted upgrade.
  • Use ESXCLI.
  • Use vSphere Auto Deploy. If the ESXi host is deployed by using vSphere Auto Deploy, you can use vSphere Auto Deploy to reprovision the host with a 7.0 image.
  • Use the vSphere Lifecycle Manager.
Graphical User Interface (GUI) Installer
You can upgrade interactively by using an ESXi installer ISO image on a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive or by network booting the installer. This method is appropriate for deployments with a few hosts. If during the installation process, you select a target disk that contains an ESXi installation, the installer upgrades the host to ESXi version 7.0. The installer also gives you the option to migrate some existing host settings and configuration files and to preserve the existing VMFS datastore. See Upgrade Hosts Interactively.
Perform a Scripted Upgrade
To do a scripted upgrade, you can use the ESXi 7.0 installer from a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive or by network booting the installer. This method is an efficient way to deploy multiple hosts. For more information, see Installing or Upgrading Hosts by Using a Script.
You can use ESXCLI to upgrade ESXi 6.5 hosts or ESXi 6.7 hosts to ESXi 7.0 hosts. See Upgrading Hosts by Using ESXCLI Commands.
vSphere Auto Deploy
If an ESXi host is deployed with vSphere Auto Deploy, you can use vSphere Auto Deploy to reprovision the host and reboot it with a new image profile. Such profile contains an ESXi upgrade or patch, a host configuration profile, and optionally, third-party drivers or management agents that are provided by VMware partners. You can build custom images by using vSphere ESXi Image Builder CLI. For more information, see Using vSphere Auto Deploy to Reprovision Hosts.
vSphere Lifecycle Manager
vSphere Lifecycle Manager is a vCenter Server service for installing, upgrading, and updating ESXi hosts. By using images and baselines, vSphere Lifecycle Manager enables centralized and simplified lifecycle management for multiple ESXi hosts at a cluster level. For more information about performing orchestrated installations, upgrades, and updates, see the Managing Host and Cluster Lifecycle documentation.