I'm currently running ESXi 6.0 on an HP ML350 G6 server for home lab uses. I have 3 VMs on it at the moment and my needs are pretty minimal. It's stable and works so perhaps I shouldn't rock the boat, but I can't help but wonder...
What benefits come with 7.0 that I might enjoy if any? Also, I know some of the hardware in my server is no longer supported officially, but if I just upgrade from current version would the existing drivers be preserved?
Hmm... Ok. Thanks for the reply. I didn't think it was quite that cut and dry though. I know some people have 7.0 running on a ML380 G7 with the Xeon 5650 processor. My ML350 G6 has the Xeon 5675 processor. so I didn't think it was that much of a stretch.
Does ESXi overwrite some drivers when you upgrade versions? Or does it carry the drivers over?
No, there is a significant difference in ESXi 6.0 and 7.0 with respect to drivers. Only native drivers are supported now, no more vmklinux drivers. Also, there's far more to ESXi working than if the CPU is supported. You're welcome to try it, but it either won't work at all, or it won't work partially. Either way, caveat emptor.
Upgrading a host to an unsupported version is always risky. If you are lucky you will find working drivers for e.g. network adapters, RAID controller, etc. Anyway, since you mentioned that the system is correctly running without issues, I'd actually leave it as is. In addition to this, I don't see a real benefit in upgrading your standalone host to a newer version.
Hint: If you just want to try/test newer ESXi versions, you could try to install these versions as virtual machines on your ESXi 6.0 host.
vSphere 6.7 might work fine.
adding to what was explained before regarding vmklinux drivers:
on version 7.0 VMware re-architected (almost) all of it's products, for example, now vSphere can run containers natively. On that re-architecture was that vmklinux drivers were removed and lot's of perfectly useful hardware went to waste. Since vSphere 6.7 still uses vmklinux drivers you might get it to work.