How to upgrade to ESXi 8.0 in easy three ways

Now that ESXi 8.0 is available for download, many people may be considering upgrading their ESXi 7.0 servers to the latest version. In this article, I will walk you through three ways to upgrade your ESXi 7.0 or older ESXi server to ESXi 8.0.

  • Method 1 – using ESXi ISO
  • Method 2 – using esxcli a command-line interface
  • Method 3 – using vLCM (vSphere Lifecycle Manager)

To watch a video demonstrating the upgrade process using these methods, please visit the following YouTube link:

Method 1 – using ESXi ISO

This method is recommended if you have one or a few ESXi hosts. The procedure is straightforward and similar to the fresh installation of ESXi.

  1. Download the latest version of the ESXi ISO image from the VMware website.
  2. Create a bootable USB drive with the ESXi ISO image or mount the ISO to your ESXi VM running in a nested environment.
  3. Connect the bootable media to the ESXi host that you want to upgrade.
  4. Reboot the ESXi host and press the appropriate key to boot from the bootable media. This will vary depending on your hardware, but it is usually a function key (e.g. F11 or F12). If you run your lab on a VMware workstation, shut down your ESXi host and Power it on to Firmware.
  1. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation process. This will involve selecting the installation destination, configuring the network settings, and accepting the license agreement.
  1. Select Storage Device:
  1. During the installation process, the installer will recognize if you already have a previous version of ESXi installed. It will then give you the option to either upgrade your current installation or perform a clean installation.
  1. Press F11 to begin the upgrade.
  1. The process of upgrading to ESXi 8.0 has started.
  1. The upgrade process has been completed successfully. The installer will now prompt you to remove any installation media and reboot the system.
  1. After reboot, the host will boot to ESXi version 8.0

Method 2 – using esxcli a command-line interface

In the next step, we will upgrade our current ESXi host using the command line. This can be done quickly and easily using just a few commands, including the following:

NOTE: ESXi-8.0.0-20513097-standard is the current version during writing this article, it can change. Please check the VMware release documents for the current ESXi profile!

After a few minutes (please be patient, there will be no progress bar nor any indication of an upgrade), the command line upgrade will display a message indicating that it has been completed successfully. You will also see a notification that a reboot is required in order to apply the changes.

Method 3 – using vLCM (vSphere Lifecycle Manager)

The last method we are going to use vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) which is part of the vCenter Server.

NOTE: Before ESXi host(s) can be upgraded, vCenter needs to be upgraded first.

  1. Connect to vCenter Server
  2. Navigate to the vSphere cluster that contains the ESXi host you want to upgrade.
  3. Click on the Updates tab, and then click on Image > Setup Image.
  1. On the image configuration screen, use the drop-down menu to select the desired version of ESXi.
  1. You can add vendors’ addons.
  1. If you have integrated HSM with vCenter (for example OMIVV ), you can update the firmware in the same cycle. This is a huge advantage, as you will require only one reboot (downtime). Read here how to integrate HSM ->
  2. Once you are happy with your image build, click on SAVE
  1. You will be prompted to finish the image setup process.

NOTE: The image will replace all baselines attached to the cluster and its hosts with the image. Once the set-up is completed, the cluster cannot go back to using baselines. You can customize the image.

  1. The next step is to check the compliance status of the cluster. To do this, click the ‘Check Compliance’ button.
  1. You will see a list of hosts that are out of compliance. In order to bring these hosts into compliance, we need to remediate them. To do this, click the ‘Remediate All‘ button.
  1. A dialogue box will appear showing the potential impact of the remediation process. To start the remediation, click the ‘Start Remediation‘ button.
  1. The remediation process has begun on the host(s).
  1. After a few minutes, you will see the ESXi host reboot and boot into the upgraded version of ESXi 8.0.

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