Usually the patching of VMware vSphere Cluster is done through vSphere Update Manager (VUM), but for this you need vCenter. In case you’re managing single ESXi host without vCenter, you might be interested to know how to patch the ESXi host from the command line.

No need to say that I’m supposing that you don’t use vCenter in purpose, and so that you want to patch your ESXi 5 standalone host or that you want to patch VMware ESXi 5 Free version without VUM.

Otherwise it’s much more convenient using VUM which can automate the patching process by using vMotion to move the running VMs to other hosts inside of the cluster, putting the host which you want to patch into maintenance mode and do the restart.

The patching of VMware ESXi 5 is quite straightforward process, but there is one condition: SSH access

The SSH access can be easily enabled by using the VMware vSphere client through the GUI.

How to patch ESXi 5:

Step 0 – Enabling SSH access to the VMware ESXi 5 host

Yes, there is step 0 actually. How to do it? Simple:

– Through vSphere client click on the VMware ESXi 5 server > Confiure > Security Profile (services)
–  SSh > Options >

How to patch ESXi 5

Step 1 – Stage the ESXi 5 patches to a Datastore accessible by the VMware ESXi 5 host

Via the vSphere Datastore browser upload the patch which you have downloaded from VMware Patch Website.  This website lists all VMware ESXi Patches.

During the copy operation which can take some time, you have plenty of time to gracefully shut down all your VMs which runs at the moment on your host.

How to patch VMware ESXi 5 without vCenter and Update Manger

I have created a sub-folder for that purpose.

Step 2 – Connect via SSH by using putty for example

Putty is the most known SSH client.

Run this command and wait, because the decompression and installation take some time……

esxcli software vib install -d /vmfs/volumes/<YOUR VOLUME>/<NAME OF PATCH FILE>.zip

In my case, I executed this command:

How to patch VMware ESXi 5 without vCenter Update Manager

The process will probably take some time.

You should see this screen confirming the installation and requiring the reboot of the host. You can click to enlarge.

How to patch VMware ESXi 5 without vCenter Update Manager

Step 3 – Reboot your VMware ESXi 5 host

Now when you reboot, the system will probably complain that the maintenance mode hasn’t been enabled….

And you should see the version number change on your VMware ESXi 5 host.

How to patch VMware ESXi 5 without vCenter Update Manager