Let’s start with the definition of a VMWare lab. It’s a non production scale system that has enough hardware and software to perform the function under test. In my case that’s a couple of different Intel NUC devices with 500GB to 1TB of SSD, 32GB DDR3 or DDR4 RAM and an i5 or i7 CPU. I also have run everything under ESXi as the host OS.
The decision to use ESXi was a tough one. VMWare offers a free version however there are limits to it’s capability like access to APIs which permits docker-machine to spawn client instances. I could have installed CoreOS and run everything in Docker containers but that has it’s limits too.
Things get even more sketchy because the CLI version of the updater has a number of limits. For example if the
folder partition is not big enough the update process will complain about insufficient disk space… and worse yet
the only documented work around does not work.
Here’s how I managed my latest upgrade:
log into vmware and get the latest patch file as a .zip
enable SSH services on the target host
suspend or shutdown all of the active clients on the target host
SSH-mount the target host
upload the .zip file from step (1)
ssh into the target host
list the contents of the .zip file and determine which patch to apply
esxcli software sources profile list -d /vmfs/volumes/SSD_01/update-from-esxi6.7-6.7_update02.zip
esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.7.0-20190402001-standard -d /vmfs/volumes/SSD_01/update-from-esxi6.7-6.7_update03.zip
Here is a good reference but I would double check the URLs very carefully to make sure i was not running anything that make my systems vulnerable… like downloading the patch from a 3rd party and there are plenty of those.