I have a standalone ESXi running version ESXi 5.1 Update 1 with 7-8 virtual machines in production environment with VM Hardware version as 8. I have been tasked to upgrade the existing version to ESXi 6.0.0 (not update U1, U2, U3) due to application specific requirements & compatibility. Virtual machines are residing on the local disks of ESXi host.
Kindly suggest on the correct approach to upgrade.
1) Power down all the virtual machines
2) Put ESXi host in maintenance mode.
1) Shall I do interactive upgrade (ISO mountable on CDROM drive of ESXi) then?
2) Upgrade Virtual machine hardware version (next step?)
3 Upgrade VMware tools?
Also, I would assume, I would need to download the custom Cisco ESXi 6.0.0 installer to avoid any driver related issues?
Kindly confirm my approach on the above. Is it safe to perform above steps? However, there is no backup for virtual machines available.
Steps are correct, are you using local storage or shared storage for virtual machines, if shared storage, try to migrate them rather than power off
Secondly, you can use iso (preserve vmfs) or use the offline bundle or update manager to upgrade the ESXi host.
You can check the current image profile for the ESXi host and then decide if you want to go with standard or custom based on the existing profile.
The most important part of your upgrade process is to make absolutely sure that you have selected "PRESERVE VMFS" otherwise you will lose your virtual machines.
A much better option would be to verify that you have a working full back up of all those machine prior to commencing the upgrade activity.