Once upon a time, I had an issue where all of my guests/VM’s would suddenly fall of the network. I could not ping the guests from anywhere in the network, yet the guests never went down; because I was still able to console into them from vSphere. After spending hours on support calls with VMware I finally got in touch with a tech who knew exactly what the problem was as soon as I described the symptoms. The fix was a simple patch which had been issued a few months prior. The tech explained the importance of using Update Manager and walked me through the steps below. If you aren’t familiar with Update Manager, it is a feature of vSphere which assists in a centralized, automated patch and version management for your ESX/ESXi hosts. Update Manager can also be used to manage your virtual machines and virtual appliances.
1. Let’s start by attaching or creating a baseline. You can attach the baseline to either the Datacenter, Host Cluster or Host. For this example we will attach the baseline to the Host.
A) Go to Hosts and Clusters.
B) Select your host and click Update Manager.
C) Click Attach.
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2. Using the two default baselines already created:
A) Select both Host Patches and Non-Critical Host Patches.
B) Click Attach.
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3. Next you will need to perform a scan, the process in which the attributes of a host are compared to the patches in the attached baseline to see what needs to be applied. This can be done by either:
A) Right clicking the object and selecting Scan for Updates …
B) Or clicking Scan… in the Update Manager tab.
Once the scan is finished you will see an overview of your host compliance.
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4. Next: staging the patches to the hosts. Staging allows you to download the patches from the Update Manager server to the ESX/ESXi hosts. Staging is optional and speeds up the remediation process, however staging will reduce the downtime of the host during remediation.
A) You may either right click on the object and select Stage Patches … or click the Stage button on the Update Manager tab.
B) Select the baselines you want to stage and click Next.
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C) Deselect any patches that you don’t want staged and click Next.
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D) Review and click Finish.
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E) The patches will now be staged to the host, and their progress can be monitored in the Recent Tasks window.
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5. Once the patches are staged they can be remediated.
A) You can either right click on the object and select Remediate … or click the Remediate button on the Update Manager tab.
B) Select the target objects and click Next.
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C) Select the patches to apply and click Next.
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D) Within Host Remediation Options you can give the task a name, a description, and schedule the remediation for later immediately or later on. For the purposes of this example we will take the defaults and click Next.
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E) Review the options selected and click Finish.
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F) The remediation process will take a while and can be monitored in the Recent Tasks window. The remediation process puts the host into Maintenance Mode and must be rebooted at least once.
6. When the remediation process is complete you can verify that all the patches have been applied by going to the Update Manager tab and viewing the Host Compliance.
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And your datacenter and Update Manager lived happily ever after!
Photo Credit: Florin Gorgan