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vSphere 8

ESXi 8.0 Upgrade in three ways

With the ESXi 8.0 release now available for download, many may consider upgrading their ESXi 7.0 servers to the latest and greatest ESXi version. For the most part, many will only be doing this in lab environments as most will probably be holding off in their production environments. Let’s look at the ESXi 8.0 upgrade in three ways to see different ways you can upgrade your ESXi 7.0 or older ESXi server to ESXi 8.0.

If you would like to see the video of the upgrade methods, check out the YouTube video here:

ESXi 8.0 New Features

VMware ESXi 8.0 has many great new features, especially those related to VMware vSAN. There is a new virtual machine hardware version with the new vSphere version, a great new ESXi Host Client 2 included with the release, new configuration maximums, etc.

Take a look at what’s new with vSphere 8 here:

ESXi 8.0 Upgrade in three ways

Let’s consider upgrading to ESXi 8.0 in the following three ways:

  • Using the ISO
  • Using the command line
  • Using vSphere Lifecycle Manager

Using the ISO

The first method is one that is familiar, using the ISO image. For this upgrade method, you simply mount the ISO image to your ESXi host, either using physical media, “burning to a USB” disk, or mounting the ISO to your ESXi VM running in a nested environment.

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Booting from the ESXi 8.0 media

The ESXi 8.0 boot begins, booting into the installer/upgrader.

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ESXi 8.0 continues to boot
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ESXi 8.0 installer welcome screen

Accept the EULA.

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EULA prompt

Select the destination for the install/upgrade.

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Choose the target of the installation or upgrade

The installer will detect you have a previously installed version of ESXi. It will prompt you to upgrade your existing installation or install a clean installation.

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Prompt to upgrade or install

Press F11 to begin the upgrade.

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Press F11 to begin the upgrade

The upgrade to ESXi 8.0 begins.

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Upgrade to ESXi 8.0 begins

The upgrade process completes successfully. The installer will ask you to remove installation media and then reboot.

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Upgrade completes successfully prompt to remove media and reboot

The new ESXi 8.0 host boots.

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The newly upgraded host boots into ESXi 8.0

Using the command line

Next, we can upgrade our existing ESXi host using the command line. This is easily accomplished with only a couple of commands, including the following:

esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient

##Get the list of available esxi profiles using the following:
esxcli software sources profile list -d

##You can combine the above with grep to search for a specific major release
 esxcli software sources profile list -d | grep ESXi-8.0U

esxcli software profile update -d -p ESXi-8.0.0-20513097-standard
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Upgrading to ESXi 8.0 from the command line

After a few minutes, the command line upgrade will display “The update completed successfully.” You will see the note of the “Reboot Required: true” displayed.

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ESXi 8.0 upgrade from the command line completes successfully

Using vSphere Lifecycle Manager

Finally, we can use vSphere Lifecycle Manager as part of vCenter Server for hosts managed at the cluster level by vCenter. On the properties for your vSphere cluster, click the Updates tab. Then click Image > Setup Image.

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Beginning the process to setup a vSphere Lifecycle Manager image

On the image configuration screen, choose the Select version drop-down on the ESXi version.

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Selecting the version of the ESXi image

Here, we have selected the ESXi 8.0 image level for bringing the cluster into compliance. Click Save.

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Choosing the ESXi 8.0 image for vSphere Lifecycle Manager

You will be asked to finish the image setup.

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Finish the image setup

Now that we have the image configured, we need to check compliance at the cluster level. Click the Check Compliance button.

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Checking compliance based on the image level

You will see hosts that are out of compliance. We need to Remediate the hosts. Here, I am clicking the Remediate All button.

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Choosing to remediate all hosts

The Review Remediation impact dialog will pop up. Click the Start Remediation button.

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Starting the remediation

The task kicks off in vCenter Server tasks.

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vSphere Lifecycle Manager tasks kicking off after choosing to remediate

The hosts begin remediating.

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Hosts begin remediating

After a few minutes, you will see the ESXi host reboot and will boot into ESXi 8.0 after the upgrade process from vSphere Lifecycle Manager.

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Host boots into ESXi 8.0

Om the image configuration, you will eventually see the remediation completed successfully and all hosts in the cluster are compliant.

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Wrapping Up

Upgrading your existing ESXi hosts to ESXi 8.0 is fairly straightforward and can be accomplished in various ways, including using the ISO, command line, and vSphere Lifecycle Manager. Hopefully, this quick tutorial on the processes involved with each method will help to quickly get your lab environment up to date, running the latest ESXi 8.0 release.


  1. Hello,

    I had to add a unsupported driver to my
    install image when installing ESXi 6.7. Everything works great if I
    upgrade the server using CLI is that driver going to be removed?

    1. Peter,

      Thank you for your comment. I have updated the blog post with this information below:

      ##Get the list of available esxi profiles using the following:
      esxcli software sources profile list -d

      ##You can combine the above with grep to search for a specific major release
      esxcli software sources profile list -d | grep ESXi-8.0U

      Using these commands you can find the available image profiles to use with the other commands in the post.

      Kind regards,

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