Upgrading ESXi with ESXCLI requires an understanding of vSphere Installation Bundles, image profiles, and software depots.
ESXi consists of an image profile, which describes a set of vSphere Installation Bundles (VIBs) that contain the actual software. A VIB is a signed ramdisk representing a component of the system, roughly analogous to an RPM or DEB on a Linux system. An image profile is a collection of VIBs. A software depot is a collection of VIBs and image profiles. ESXi patches and depots contain updated image profiles composed from a common set of VIBs.
You can install ESXi updates on a standalone host using the
esxcli software commands. For more information, see the VMware ESXi Upgrade documentation.
To list all installed VIBs and their current version, or the current image profile, you can use the following ESXCLI commands.
esxcli software vib list
esxcli software profile get
In general, the high-level steps to upgrade ESXi securely are:
- Putting the ESXi host in maintenance mode
- Running an
esxcli software profile updatecommand, which points to a URL or a ZIP file transferred to the host through SSH
- Restarting the ESXi host
Because VMware cryptographically signs VIBs, secure transfer of VIBs or the entire depot is not necessary, and the update process verifies these signatures.