There are many ways to upgrade VMware, but we recommend the following procedure for its simplicity:
- Download and burn the ESXi installation CD/DVD (download instructions for Dell servers)
- Insert the ESXi installer CD/DVD into the CD/DVD-ROM drive
- Boot from the CD/DVD-ROM drive
- At the the Select a Disk screen, select the drive on which you wish to install/upgrade VMware
- If this is an upgrade, and the installer detects an existing installation of VMware, it will prompt you to choose from a few options:
- Upgrade ESXi, preserve VMFS datastore: normal upgrade, keep configuration settings and VMs (this is the most common option for upgrades)
- Install ESXi, preserve VMFS datastore: clean install, discard configuration settings, but keep VMs (this is the option you would choose if the VMware configuration is problematic, and you wish to start over)
- Install ESXi, overwrite VMFS datastore: clean install, discard configuration settings and VMs (this is the option you would choose if you wanted to wipe the entire server and start over)
- Press F11 to confirm your choices and start the upgrade
- When the upgrade is complete, remove the installation CD/DVD
- Press Enter to reboot the server
After the server has rebooted, log in via vSphere Client to verify everything is operating normally.
NOTE: In certain cases (e.g. major version changes), you will need to re-license VMware (this applies even if you are using the free vSphere license). If you fail to activate a license, your VMs will not power on after the 60 day evaluation period ends.