Install vSphere 7.0 on Intel NUC or Upgrade

time-to-update

vSphere 7.0 brings lots of great features and enhancements; but if you are like me and your home lab is based on the Intel NUCs (Intel’s Next Unit of Computing product line), I’m sure you are wondering if it’s a good idea to upgrade, or re-install, vSphere 7.0. Can the Intel NUCs handle the newly released version?

Eight months ago, I decided to rebuild my home lab. I replaced my existing computers with Intel NUCs to save on electricity, to take up less space, and reduce the fan noise of the conventional computers.

After several months, I ended up with nine Intel NUCs, all racked and stacked in my office. You can see the result in the picture below:

IMG_6839

That photo of the new lab, currently in work and nearly finished, will be the subject of a new blog where I will explain the equipment I used and how I set it up.

I wanted to upgrade some of these NUCs from ESXi 6.7 u3 to vSphere 7.0. I have chosen the upgrade path instead of a refresh deployment. To do that, I used the following simple steps to do the upgrade:

Make an SSH connection to the ESXi; then run the following commands:

If you encounter an error with the locker tool .vib, use the following steps, and run them before the upgrade command:

After the upgrade process has completed, run the following command. After it has run, reboot:

  • esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient
  • reboot

Those steps above will upgrade your ESXi 6.7 to Esxi 7.0.

However, if you are using USB 3.0 to Ethernet adapters, you must install the new .vib driver to make it work; I am using the following USB 3.0 to Ethernet adapters on my lab:

  • USB 3.0 to Dual Gigabit Ethernet
  • Tp-Link: USB 3.0 to Gigabit Superspeed Ethernet Adapter
  • Simplecom: USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

To install the USB vib driver, follow these instruction:

  • Download the new Vib from the Flings website¬†
  • Enable ESXi SSH
  • Copy the ZIP file to the ESXi using the following command:
    • scp.exe c:\ESXi700-VMKUSB-NIC-FLING-34491022-component-15873236.zip root@ESXi-IP-Address:/tmp

  • Install using the following command:

    esxcli software vib install -d /tmp/ESXi700-VMKUSB-NIC-FLING-34491022-component-15873236.zip

  • Reboot

After the installation of the USB to Gigabit Ethernet .vib, you will have the following option. I chose to use the USB as the management NIC, and to keep the built-in NIC for a storage connection for the following reasons:

  • the USB will not be automatically attached during the boot; and
  • the USB driver will be loaded very late in the boot progress

To make sure my USB NIC is attached to the management port and to a vSwitch or dVS, I modified the local.sh file as follows:

  • vi /etc/rc.local.d/local.sh

If you are using a vSwitch, then use the following:

  • esxcfg-vswitch -L vusb0 vSwitch0
  • esxcfg-vswitch -M vusb0 -p “Management Network” vSwitch0

For vDS:

  • esxcfg-vswitch -P vusb0 -V 17 <vDS Name>

When you have done that, save your work, close any open apps, then reboot the server.

Summary

Following those steps will help you upgrade your old version of vSphere to the latest version. A fresh installation will be no different to your old one; just build the bootable USB and run the installation. However, remember that if you are using USB NICs to Gigabit Ethernet, you must install the .vib before you can use it.

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