donstemple
Contributor
Contributor

Patching Embedded ESXi 3.5 and redundancy

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Hello,

I've tried to find theses answers in the documentation, but haven't been able to so far.

I have a Dell 2950 PowerEdge server with embedded ESXi 3.5. I understand I can update it using the VMware Infrastructure Update Tool, installed on a separate physical server. Where is the update applied? Is it applied directly to embedded Flash card? At what point does it apply? If it fails, can I just re-apply the 3.5 version via the Update Tool? Is there any redundancy built-in, so that if it doesn't commit successfully, can I just reboot and will the older version of ESXi be on the card still?

If there's any sections of the ESXi documentation that refer to this, please let me know.

Thank you very much!

Brian

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Dave_Mishchenko
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Immortal

Welcome to the VMware Community forums. If you were to mount the USB drive in another OS you would see these partitions

Hypervisor0 - 4 MB

Hypervisor1 - 47 MB

Hypervisor2 - 47 MB

Hypervisor3 - 500 MB (is mounted as /store

H1 and H2 are where ESXi stores it's firmware. H0 has SysLinux which is the initial boot loader. It will either boot ESXi from H1 or H2. When you start with a fresh install, Syslinux will boot ESXi from H1 and H2 will be empty. H1 will be mounted by ESXi as /bootbank and H2 will be /altbootbank.

When you patch your host, the firmware is written to /altbootbank and the H0 is changed to boot from H2. The next time you boot H2 becomes /bootbank and H1 is /altbootbank. When you patch again it reverses again.

The good thing about this is that you easily revert back to the prior version. Press SHIFTR on the initial boot screen and you'll have the option to revert back to the prior version if the host has problems after the upgrade. ESXi store a backup of your system config in /bootbank/state.tgz (local.tgz for the embedded version). If you use SHIFTR after a month, any config changes you've made since then would be lost.

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Dave_Mishchenko
Immortal
Immortal

Welcome to the VMware Community forums. If you were to mount the USB drive in another OS you would see these partitions

Hypervisor0 - 4 MB

Hypervisor1 - 47 MB

Hypervisor2 - 47 MB

Hypervisor3 - 500 MB (is mounted as /store

H1 and H2 are where ESXi stores it's firmware. H0 has SysLinux which is the initial boot loader. It will either boot ESXi from H1 or H2. When you start with a fresh install, Syslinux will boot ESXi from H1 and H2 will be empty. H1 will be mounted by ESXi as /bootbank and H2 will be /altbootbank.

When you patch your host, the firmware is written to /altbootbank and the H0 is changed to boot from H2. The next time you boot H2 becomes /bootbank and H1 is /altbootbank. When you patch again it reverses again.

The good thing about this is that you easily revert back to the prior version. Press SHIFTR on the initial boot screen and you'll have the option to revert back to the prior version if the host has problems after the upgrade. ESXi store a backup of your system config in /bootbank/state.tgz (local.tgz for the embedded version). If you use SHIFTR after a month, any config changes you've made since then would be lost.

View solution in original post

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donstemple
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks so much! That's fantastic info. Just what I was looking for.

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