ESXi 4.1 to 5 Upgrades with VUM

I have been doing a lot of ESXi 4.1 to 5 upgrades of late and every time I tried using vCenter Update Manager I would get an incompatible driver warning for these 2 ESXi 4.1 driver packages

  • oem-vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-3w-9xxx
  • oem-vmware-esx-drivers-net-vxge

The vSphere 5 Update Manager release notes mentions this and states that to workaround this simply check the box to remove third-party software that is incompatible. http://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere5/doc/vsphere-update-manager-50-release-notes.html#upgrade

Here is the section from the release notes:

“Compliance status is Incompatible and remediation fails for ESX 4.1 Update 1 hosts when you scan or remediate the hosts against an ESXi 5.0 upgrade baseline
When you perform an upgrade scan of ESX 4.1 Update 1 hosts against an ESXi 5.0 upgrade baseline, the compliance status might be Incompatible. The remediation of ESX 4.1 Update 1 hosts against an ESXi 5.0 upgrade baseline might fail. The scan and remediation problems are caused by third-party drivers in the ESX 4.1 Update 1 installation. After an upgrade scan of hosts, more information about third-party software is provided in the conflict details for the upgrade baseline.
Workaround: Two different types of drivers might cause the problems.

  • Async drivers, for example oem-vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-3w-9xxx.
    The vendor will release drivers asynchronously for ESXi 5.0, and the drivers will be made available in the VMware patch depot. If you require those drivers, you must download them, use Image Builder CLI to build a custom ESXi image that contains them, and remediate against the custom image. Without the ESXi 5.0 drivers, pertinent hardware devices might stop functioning.
  • Deprecated drivers, for example oem-vmware-esx-drivers-net-vxge.
    The driver is discontinued in ESXi 5.0 because the pertinent hardware is discontinued. In the Update Manager Remediate wizard, on the ESXi 5.x Upgrade page, click Remove installed third-party software that is incompatible with the upgrade, and continue with the remediation. You should be aware of the functional implications of third-party software removal, because pertinent hardware devices might stop functioning.”

This workaround has not worked for me and I have been force to boot from the ESXi 5 ISO and choose Force Upgrade during setup. This method works but requires more steps and doesn’t allow for streamlined upgrades with VUM.

I imagine that the VMware suggested workaround doesn’t work because those 2 driver packages are part of ESXi 4.1 and not classified as “third-party”

I found another workaround for this that will allow the remediation to complete.

  1. Place the ESXi host into maintenance mode
  2. SSH into the ESXi 4.1 host and run this command to get a list of all software packages
    1. esxupdate query –a
  3. From the list copy the bulletin IDs of the incompatible drivers.
  4. Run these commands to remove them
    1. esxupdate -b ESXi410-201101224-UG remove
    2. esxupdate -b ESXi410-201101223-UG remove
  5. Reboot the host
  6. After reboot scan the host again with VUM and you shouldn’t have any incompatible packages.
  7. Remediate the host and then go to the next one and do the same.
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11 thoughts on “ESXi 4.1 to 5 Upgrades with VUM

  1. Jeremy – I have been looking everywhere for someone with the same scenario as we have and this sounds incredibly useful.
    The problem I have is in relating the driver error oem-vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-3w-9xxx to the list of installed updates to correctly identify the one(s) to remove – how did you achieve this?

  2. Run this command to get a list of all packages “esxupdate query –a” from this list identify the bulletin ID of the package and then run “esxupdate -b BULLETIN ID remove” for example “esxupdate -b ESXi410-201101223-UG remove”

  3. Thanks Jeremy – what I mean is that when I scan through the list of updates (esxupdate query -a) – I cannot find one that directly relates to oem-vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-3w-9xxx – to get the bulletin ID – I apologize if I am being dumb

  4. When you scan the host with VUM does it report that the oem-vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-3w-9xxx driver is present? It will warn you if it has it.

  5. Yes it warns me that it will be removed but vmware support are telling me that if we want to upgrade we cannot then use VUM (i.e. the issue you were describing) . What I am trying to identify is the correct bulletin ID to remove (from the list displayed by (esxupdate query -a) – maybe you are saying that “esxupdate -b ESXi410-201101223-UG remove” is the exact command – I was assuming that you were using this as an example and that I would need to identify the bulletin ID from the (esxupdate query -a) but I cannot relate oem-vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-3w-9xxx to the list of updates?

  6. The output from the Host upgrade scan is “Software modules oem-vmware-esx-drivers-net-vxge oem-vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-3w-9xxx published by third party vendor(s) are installed on the host. Upgrading the host will remove these modules”.

    When logged with Vmware tech support – they tell us that these drivers are unlikely to be required BUT trying to upgrade via VUM will fail – we should do a CD install. As you have noted – this is not ideal when there are lots of hosts to update so we are looking for a way to utilise VUM and hence interested in your work-around.

    We can do the (esxupdate query -a) and get a massive list of installed updates on the current 4.1 host but cannot determine which Bulletin ID to remove using “esxupdate -b xxxxxxxxxxxxxx-UG remove”. You may well be saying that the bulletin ID you have quoted is the exact one – we assumed that you were listing it as an example only.
    This is the first time I have interacted with these blogs – so if I am being a pain just let me know?

  7. Reblogged this on A little tech blog and commented:
    This is a really good post about how to remove software modules that are no longer needed. I came upon this issue when upgrading from ESXi4.1 to ESXi 5.1. One of my hosts wouldn’t remove the drivers and panicked when they were installed. I had to upgrade that host from the ISO and forgot update manager. I was even given this post from VMware technical support when I called. I’d already happened upon it, but it was impressive that his blog post was on the tech’s radar.

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