Update ESXi v5 without vCenter or Update Manager
This is just a quick note so that I can remember later on how to update my standalone ESXi v5 from the CLI.
First of all, check the VMware website for available updates. Browse the
Download Patches page, select the “Product Name” [["
ESXi (Embedded and Installable)" in my case]], select the relevant version number [["
and click the “Search” button.
This leads to the list of available updates with various description. Check the box for the release that you need to update to and click the “Download Now” button.
Once you have the ZIP file, transfer it via SSH onto the ESXi server. Then log-on to the ESXi and prepare to update ; this means backup important data and shut down the VM if “System Impact” says “VM Shutdown & Host Reboot “.
From the shell prompt, issue a test update command:
# esxcli software vib install -d /vmfs/volumes/SATA_local/ESXi500-201207001.zip --dry-run Installation Result Message: Dryrun only, host not changed. The following installers will be applied:  Reboot Required: false VIBs Installed: VIBs Removed: VIBs Skipped: VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-amd_0.3.10-3vmw.500.0.0.469512, VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-atiixp_0.4.6-3vmw.500.0.0.469512, (...)
The “Reboot Required” will recall if reboot is required and the “VIBs
Installed/Removed/Skipped” will sum’up what will happen. In my case, the patch
has already been applied. If you still want to do it, run the same command
--dry-run”. When done, and if reboot is required, put the ESXi in
Maintenance Mode and reboot it. That’s All Folks!
Note that if you have installed the “VMware vSphere CLI” on your (Windows) workstation, you can issue the following command in a “Command Prompt”:
C:\Users\jdoe>esxcli -s esxi -u username -p password software vib \ install -d /vmfs/volumes/SATA_local/ESXi500-201207001.zip --dry-run
The archive still has to be locally accessible by the ESXi. If you don’t want to copy it to the ESXi, you can manage a CIFS/NFS share that both your Windows machine and ESXi server can access and run the update from there. It can by tricky though because ESXi can only talk NFS (no CIFS) and Windows talks CIFS only, by defaults…
I did apply several patches, from ESXi500-201204001 to ESXi500-201207001 , without rebooting between each. I only rebooted once in the end and everything went well. But it may not be the case every time.
That said, happy updating!
Source: How To Patch vSphere 5 ESXi Without Update Manager