I know that this is ancient news, but I don't end up using VMware much. I have inherited a single ESXi 5.5 installation with 4 VMs. I have purchased a new Essentials Kit. My HP server is only supported up to vSphere 6.5.
I need documentation for downgrading the license from vSphere 7 to 6.5.
I need documentation for upgrading the server from 5.5 to 6.5.
Will booting to a 6.5 CD upgrade the 5.5 installation smoothly?
up- and downgrading licenses can be done from within your Customer Connect (formerly MyVMware) portal on which the license has been registered.
Simply go to the licensing section, select the downgrade option, and you will see the licenses that are available for downgrade. Note that can downgrade vCenter Server, and the ESXi CPU licenses separately, just in case you want to install ESXi 6.5 on the hosts, but manage it using vCenter Server 7.0.
Regarding the upgrade, can you please provide some details about the HPE host, i.e. the model, CPUs, and whether any additional driver have been installed? Note that HPE provides a customized ESXi installation image, which includes hardware specific drivers. This image can be downloaded from the VMware web site (the Custom ISO tab). Also ensure that you pick the correct image, there's one for Pre-Gen9 servers, and one for Gen9+ servers.