VMware vSphere 6.5 is scheduled to reach end of general support 15 October 2022, referenced in the VMware Lifecycle Matrix. See also How to Install vSphere 7.0. Upgrade to vSphere 7 can be achieved directly from vSphere 6.5.0 and above, whereas vSphere 6.0 requires an intermediate upgrade to 6.5 or 6.7 first. For more information see the VMware Upgrade Matrix. Finally, the Windows vCenter Server is now depreciated and not available with vSphere 7.0.
VMware Update Manager provides centralised patch and version management for ESXi hosts, virtual machines, and virtual appliances. Update Manager can be used to upgrade and patch ESXi hosts, install and update third-party software on hosts, upgrade virtual machine hardware, VMware Tools, and virtual appliances. This guide will cover the installation of VMware Update Manager 6.5 on Windows Server 2016. For further information on Update Manager performance and best practises, or for implementing an advanced topology in a large environment, see also the vSphere 6.5 Update Manager Performance and Best Practices post.
- Update Manager 6.5 is installed on a Windows server, this can be the same server as vCenter. The Update Manager Download Service can be used for secure environments with no internet access.
- For the vCenter Server Appliance a separate installation is not required since Update Manager is now bundled into the VCSA.
- Update Manager must be registered with a vCenter Server instance.
- The following Windows deployment models are recommended by VMware:
- All-in-one model; embedded database for small environments.
- Medium deployment mode; Update Manager and vCenter Server installed on the same Windows server with separate external databases. Recommended for most environments.
- Large deployment model; dedicated Windows server for Update Manager, separate to vCenter Server, with external database. Recommended for deployments where datacentre instances contain over 100 hosts and 1000 virtual machines each.
- Update Manager 6.5 requires vCenter Server v6.5, can be used to upgrade and patch hosts running ESXi 5.5 and above, and install VMware Tools for Windows and Linux guests.
- Update Manager 6.5 requires a 64-bit version of Windows; Windows Server 2008 SP2 64-bit or later.
- Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 should be installed on the Windows server.
- An external database should be Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 or above, or Oracle 11g or 12c. You can review a full list of compatible versions at the Database Interoperability Matrix.
- The user requires Oracle DBA role, or SQL sysadmin server role, or db_owner fixed database role on the Update Manager and MSDB database.
- For environments with up to 5 hosts and 50 VMs the bundled internal installation of SQL Server 2012 Express can be used.
- A dedicated Windows server requires a minimum of 2 GB RAM for Update Manager, where Update Manager is installed on the same Windows server as vCenter there should be a minimum of 8 GB RAM.
- VMware recommend at least 120 GB of free space on the drive where the patching repository will be stored. Use the VMware Sizing Estimator to work out how the capacity required for your environment.
- Update Manager connects to vCenter Server on TCP port 80. ESXi hosts connect to Update Manager using ports 9084 and 902. A full list of network port requirements can be viewed in this kb.
- FA reboot is not required post-installation of Update Manager so there is no down time.
- Official resources – Update Manager 6.5 Documentation Centre, vSphere 6.5 Release Notes
Create Data Source
Before beginning if you intend to use Update Manager with an external SQL database be sure to install the SQL Server Native Client (if vCenter Server is installed on the same Windows server using an external database then this is likely to be already installed).
You must also configure a 64-bit ODBC data source. Data sources can be configured in Windows Server via Control Panel > Administrative Tools > ODBC Data Sources (64-bit).
Click System DNS, Add and input the details for the external database, test the data source before continuing.
Download the VMware vCenter Server and modules for Windows VMware Downloads; this includes VMware Update Manager 6.5. Mount the ISO and right click autorun.exe, click Run as administrator. Select Server under the vSphere Update Manager menu, tick the Embedded Database Option to include the Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express installation. Do not select this box if you intend on connecting to an external database. Click Install.
Select the installation language and click Ok, then click Next to begin the install wizard.
Accept the license agreement and click Next.
Review the support information, if the Update Manager instance will not have access to the internet untick Download updates from default sources immediately after installation, otherwise click Next.
Enter the information for the vCenter Server and click Next.
If you are using an external database select the Data Source Name for the database and click Next. Select how Update Manager should be identified, host name or IP, accept the default ports and configure a proxy server if required, then click Next.
Review the default installation locations, change if necessary, and click Next.
If the installation destination has less than 120 GB of available space you will receive the warning below, click Ok to continue.
Click Install to begin the installation.
The installation progress status bar will be displayed.
Once installation is complete click Finish.
After the installation has completed an Update Manager option will be added to the vSphere web client home page in the navigation panel.
Select the newly installed Update Manager. Here you can configure basic settings such as a download schedule, the default settings are pre-configured to get you up and running. Let’s have a quick look through the other tabs.
Hosts Baselines and VM Baselines tabs list Baselines which are attached to hosts or virtual machines. A baseline contains patches, an upgrade image, etc.
The Patch Repository contains downloaded patches, these can be attached to a baseline.
ESXi images can be imported via the ESXi Images tab, these are uploaded as an ISO and can be vanilla ESXi images, vendor provided images, or custom created images. For assistance with creating custom ESXi image using the ESXi Image Builder see the VMware Auto Deploy Guide.
The Update Manager settings are all fairly intuitive; download updates or upload an ESXi image, and create a baseline. Once you have a baseline go to the hosts and clusters view, select the host or virtual machine to update and browse to Manage > Update Manager.
Here you can attach baselines, check compliance, scan for updates, stage patches (downloads but doesn’t install), remediate patches (installs, host will be rebooted), or return to the Update Manager admin view.
The Windows client cannot be used to administer Update Manager 6.5 since it is not supported in vSphere 6.5 onwards.