Home > VMware, VMware ESXi > Updating my ESXi server from 5.1 to 5.5

Updating my ESXi server from 5.1 to 5.5

In the wake of VMware’s release of ESXi 5.5 on Monday, September 23, I needed to upgrade my home’s ESXi 5.1 server to ESXi 5.5. Since I didn’t want to fire up my Windows VM, I did the upgrade from 5.1 to 5.5 via SSH and esxcli. For those interested, see below the jump for the details of the process I used.

To upgrade from ESXi 5.1 to 5.5 using esxcli:

1. Shut down all VMs running on your ESXi host machine.

2. Connect via SSH and run the following command to enter maintenance mode:

vim-cmd /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 11.06.06 AM

3. After putting ESXi into maintenance mode, run the following command to set the correct firewall rules for the httpClient:

esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 11.06.58 AM

4. Next, run the following command to list the ESXi 5.5 updates available. You want the latest one that ends in “-standard” for your version of VMware.

esxcli software sources profile list -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml | grep ESXi-5.5

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 11.07.51 AM

5. Once you’ve identified the correct version of VMware (in this case, it’ll be ESXi-5.5.0-1331820-standard), run the following command to download and install the update.

esxcli software profile update -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml -p ESXi-5.5.0-1331820-standard

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 11.12.42 AM

Note: It is very important that you run esxcli software profile update here. Running esxcli software profile install may overwrite drivers that your ESXi host needs.

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 11.09.58 AM

6. Once the update has been installed and prompts you to reboot, run the following command to restart:


Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 11.14.14 AM

7. After your ESXi host restarts, connect via SSH and run the following command to exit maintenance mode:

vim-cmd /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_exit

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 11.20.33 AM

At this point, your ESXi host should be upgraded to ESXi 5.5.

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 11.22.08 AM

Categories: VMware, VMware ESXi
  1. September 26, 2013 at 7:30 pm
    • September 26, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      I saw that, but I’m not using a Thunderbolt ethernet adapter. The upgrade process I described above worked without a problem on my 2011 Mac Mini Server.

  2. September 26, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Oh so you are just using one NIC for management and VM traffic? If I may ask how many VM’s are you running at one time?

    • September 26, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      On my home Mini, I’m running 3 VMs. So far, just having the one NIC has been fine.

  3. September 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Hi Rich,

    I ran the upgrade as you said on mine but this is what comes up when I run the update command:

    Update Result
    Message: Host is not changed.
    Reboot Required: false
    VIBs Installed:
    VIBs Removed:
    VIBs Skipped: VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-amd_0.3.10-3vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-atiixp_0.4.6-4vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-cmd64x_0.2.5-3vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-hpt3x2n_0.3.4-3vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-pdc2027x_1.0-3vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-serverworks_0.4.3-3vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-sil680_0.4.8-3vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-via_0.3.3-2vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_block-cciss_3.6.14-10vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_ehci-ehci-hcd_1.0-3vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_elxnet_10.0.100.0v-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_esx-base_5.5.0-0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_esx-dvfilter-generic-fastpath_5.5.0-0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_esx-tboot_5.5.0-0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_esx-xlibs_5.5.0-0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_esx-xserver_5.5.0-0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_ima-qla4xxx_2.01.31-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_ipmi-ipmi-devintf_39.1-4vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_ipmi-ipmi-msghandler_39.1-4vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_ipmi-ipmi-si-drv_39.1-4vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_lpfc_10.0.100.1-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_lsi-mr3_0.255.03.01-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_lsi-msgpt3_00.255.03.03-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_misc-cnic-register_1.72.1.v50.1i-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_misc-drivers_5.5.0-0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_mtip32xx-native_3.3.4-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_net-be2net_4.6.100.0v-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_net-bnx2_2.2.3d.v55.2-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_net-bnx2x_1.72.56.v55.2-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_net-cnic_1.72.52.v55.1-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_net-e1000_8.0.3.1-3vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_net-e1000e_1.1.2-4vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_net-enic_1.4.2.15a-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_net-forcedeth_0.61-2vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_net-igb_2.1.11.1-4vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_net-ixgbe_3., VMware_bootbank_net-mlx4-core_1.9.7.0-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_net-mlx4-en_1.9.7.0-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_net-nx-nic_5.0.621-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_net-tg3_3.123c.v55.5-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_net-vmxnet3_1.1.3.0-3vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_ohci-usb-ohci_1.0-3vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_qlnativefc_1.0.12.0-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_rste_2.0.2.0088-4vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_sata-ahci_3.0-17vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_sata-ata-piix_2.12-9vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_sata-sata-nv_3.5-4vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_sata-sata-promise_2.12-3vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_sata-sata-sil24_1.1-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_sata-sata-sil_2.3-4vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_sata-sata-svw_2.3-3vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-aacraid_1.1.5.1-9vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-adp94xx_1.0.8.12-6vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-aic79xx_3.1-5vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-bnx2fc_1.72.53.v55.1-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-bnx2i_2.72.11.v55.4-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-fnic_1.5.0.4-1vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-hpsa_5.5.0-44vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-ips_7.12.05-4vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-lpfc820_8.2.3.1-129vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-megaraid-mbox_2.20.5.1-6vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-megaraid-sas_5.34-9vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-megaraid2_2.00.4-9vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-mpt2sas_14.00.00.00-3vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-mptsas_4.23.01.00-9vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-mptspi_4.23.01.00-9vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-qla2xxx_902.k1.1-9vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_scsi-qla4xxx_5.01.03.2-6vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_bootbank_uhci-usb-uhci_1.0-3vmw.550.0.0.1331820, VMware_locker_tools-light_5.5.0-0.0.1331820

    Do you know if this is normal?

    • September 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      It looks like the upgrade process didn’t run on your ESXi host. Nothing was installed and it doesn’t appear to have changed anything.

      • September 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm

        Should I run “esxcli software profile install” instead? This is running of a Mac Pro so I didnt have to load any custom drivers.

      • September 30, 2013 at 3:55 pm

        Also what is odd is my host says it is running ESXi 5.5…

      • September 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm


        I’d recommend checking your logs and with VMware support to see what’s going on with your ESXi host.

  4. September 30, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    rtrouton :
    I’d recommend checking your logs and with VMware support to see what’s going on with your ESXi host.

    I will do so. Thanks.

  5. Ben
    October 3, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Worked like a treat, thanks for sharing!

  6. October 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks, worked flawlessly. Just a note for the ones updating a headless white box, like me: the reboot can take quite a while (almost 15 minutes in my case), don’t worry, just wait, the host will go online eventually. 🙂

  7. Matt
    October 17, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Just a quick note that the https link above would timeout and that I had to use http instead. The command I used :

    $ esxcli software sources profile list -d http://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml | grep ESXi-5.5

  8. November 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Easy to understand. Worked like a charm. Thanks.

  9. November 4, 2014 at 6:46 am

    Thank you

  10. John
    November 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Very helpful tutorial, thank you.

  11. Bertrand Chatain
    November 13, 2014 at 8:29 pm


    seems to be a problem with the url
    ~ # esxcli software profile update -d http://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml -p ESXi-5.5.0-1331820-standard
    Could not download from depot at http://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml, skipping ((‘http://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml’, ”, ‘[Errno 4] IOError: ‘))
    url = http://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml

  12. April 17, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    FYI, this works (now) going from 5.5 to 6.0

  13. February 25, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Thank you for such a concise, well-written and beautiful document.

  14. DonChino
    February 8, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    Just a footnote for everyone, as these instructions caused an error for me; but when you run the “esxcli software profile update” command you will get an error – “Could not find a trusted signer.”

    Make sure you use:
    esxcli software profile update -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml -p ESXi-5.5.0-1331820-standard –no-sig-check

    Other than that, this worked flawlessly for upgrading my Mac Mini 6,2 from 5.1 to 5.5 since I could not get it to update through vCenter Update Manager. After you run this commend, be patient because nothing will happen on screen for like 5 minutes while it is upgrading, so do not freak until after 15 minutes. 😛

  15. February 10, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient does not open port 8080 if you’re using a proxy, use
    esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r nfsClient
    instead of

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