The new way to patch the vCenter Server Appliance 6

The patching process in vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) version 6 is changed from previous versions. It is not possible anymore to use the Virtual Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) and update the appliance using the User Interface. The new way to patch the vCenter Server Appliance involves the following steps:

  • Download the patch from the VMware Patch Download Center, link.
  • Choose vc and select version 6.x
  • Download the latest patch ISO


  • Attach the *.ISO to the vCenter Server Appliance.
  • Open a console session or SSH (SSH must be enabled) to the appliance. In the console session press ALT + F1 and login.


  • Stage the ISO using the following command
software-packages stage --iso  --acceptEulas
  • See the staged content
software-packages list --staged
  • Install the staged content
software-packages install --staged
  • Reboot the appliance
shutdown reboot -r
  • After the reboot check the new vCenter Server Appliance build version

vcsa version

The easy updating process that was used in the vCenter Server Appliance 5.x is gone. The new update process involves more manually steps. We hoping that the easy updating will return in further releases of the vCenter Server Appliance.


Tips for deploying SCVMM 2012 R2 Rollup 2

Last week Update Rollup 2 (UR2) for System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager is released. UR2 contains important fixes for SCVMM2012 R2.  Here are some deployment tips for UR2:

  • Wait a least couple of weeks before deploying Update Rollups in your production environment.  It happens that new Update Rollups contains huge bugs and are pulled back!
  • Make sure you have a backup of the SCVMM database before installing UR2
  • Install the UR2 by download the VMM management server and VMM admin console packages link (or use Windows Update /WSUS to install both packages). Older packages such as UR1 does not need to be removed. In a SCVMM HA environment install UR2 first on the passive node, perform a failover and install UR2 on the other node.


  • After installing UR2 update execute the SQL script listed in the KB2932926 article on the SCVMM database


  • In the VMM console check the version by selecting help. The UR2 must be 3.2.7634.0.
  • This step is often forgotten. In the VMM admin console perform a cluster refresh (Fabric-Cluster-Refesh). After the refresh job completes the host status is changed in “Needs Attention”. This means that the VMM agent must be updated on all the hosts.


  • Update the VMM agent by right click on the host en choose “Update Agent”. No reboot of the host is required. Using PowerShell the “Update-VMMManagedComputer” cmdlet can be used to update the agent


  • After the VMM agent is updated on the host check the version of the agent on the general tab on the host. The UR2 agent version must be 3.2.7634.0.


  • With PowerShell you can list all the agent versions by using:
Get-VMMMangedComputer | Select Name, AgentVersion


System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012 R2 builds and versions

Build Version
3.2.7510.0 System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager RTM
3.2.7620.0 Update Rollup 1 (UR1)
3.2.7634.0 Update Rollup 2 (UR2)
3.2.7672.0 Update Rollup 3 (UR3)
3.2.7768.0 Update Rollup 4 (UR4)
3.2.7895.0 Update Rollup 5 (UR5)
3.2.8002.0 Update Rollup 6 (UR6)
3.2.8071.0 Update Rollup 7 (UR7)
3.2.8117.0 Update Rollup 8 (UR8)
3.2.8145.0 Update Rollup 9 (UR9)
3.2.8169.0 Update Rollup 10 (UR10)
3.2.8224.0 Update Rollup 11 (UR11)
3.2.8228.0 Update Rollup 11 (Hotfix 1)
3.2.8292.0 Update Rollup 12 (UR12)


Ways to patch your VMware ESX(i) hosts


There are different ways to patch your VMware ESX(i) 4 hosts. The most common utilities are VMware Update Manager (VUM), vSphere Host Update Utility and the esxupdate command line utility (run from the Service Console) to patch your VMware environment. Here’s explained the differences between them.

VUM can be used to automated patch your complete environment without user intervention. ESX(i) host are automatically placed in maintenance mode and VM’s are migrated to other VMware ESX(i) host using VMotion and DRS techniques, the host is patched, rebooted and exiting maintenance mode.  VUM is used on enterprise environments.

vSphere Host Update Utility can be used to patch only VMware ESXi (not ESX) hosts. Normally this utility is used in small ESXi environments without VUM, VMotion and DRS.


VUM utility vSphere Host Update Utility

ESXupdate command, this command line utility (in the service console) can be used to patch your standalone VMware ESX host, for example the vSphere Essentials edition. This small business version comes with for example VMware ESX, vCenter and VMware Update Manager. But when your vCenter server is installed virtually as VM you are not able to transfer the VM to another host because there is no VMotion in the license. All the VMs must be shutdown including the vCenter VM to put the host in maintenance mode. So you can’t use VMware Update Manager. Now you need the esxupdate command.  Here are the steps for using the ESXupdate command:

  • The first thing is to download the patch bundles. A bundle contains a metadata zip which defines the bulletins available for installation. This is a great improvement to earlier versions of VMware ESX. It’s possible to select all patch bundles and download them at once. The patch bundles can be found here.


  • Upload the patch bundles on the VMware ESX VMFS  or NFS partition (other options such as HTTP repository are also possible). This can be done by using the datastore browser in the vCenter client.


  • Shutdown all VMs on the VMware ESX host to patch using the .vSphere client or the vmware-cmd command.
  • Put the host in maintenance mode using the vSphere client or the following command:

vimsh -n -e /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter

  • Check the integrity of the patch bundle with the esxupdate –check –bundle command. Do this for all patch bundles.
  • Install the patch using the esxupdate update –bundle command. Install all patch bundles beginning with the oldest patch bundle.
  • Exit maintenance mode by using the vSphere client of the following command:
vimsh -n -e /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_exit
  • Reboot the hosts vSphere client of the following command:

shutdown –r now

Here’s a sample script:

vimsh -n -e /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter
esxupdate check --bundle
esxupdate update --bundle
esxupdate check --bundle
esxupdate update --bundle
esxupdate check --bundle
esxupdate update --bundle
esxupdate check --bundle
esxupdate update --bundle
esxupdate check --bundle
esxupdate update --bundle
esxupdate check --bundle
esxupdate update --bundle
vimsh -n -e /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_exit
shutdown -r now