Blog   »   Updating your VMWare platform

By administrator Site Admin at 3:10 pm

Updating your virtual platform is one of riskiest, stressful operations you can take. However, in some cases this may be necessary in order for your virtual platform to operate properly.

Virtual platforms available today (vSphere, Hyper-V and others) often represent the backbone of your office network. Choosing the right platform is one of most important tasks your IT support team has on their list. Unfortunately, not every company can afford the full lab environment and complete duplicate network in order to test these environments and if your organization fits this description, sooner or later you will be faced with the need for upgrade.

In order to understand this better, virtual platform represents a software layer installed on a physical server, a platform that acts as a host for your virtual servers. These virtual servers are what your users are connecting to, and the trend today is to virtualize almost every server that is used in SMB environments today.

When you consider upgrading this platform, it is important to understand that not doing this right can render your entire network of virtual systems unusable, and you can basically lose all of your systems in one upgrade attempt.

To avoid this, it is important to follow these basic steps:

  Backup all systems on your virtual platform prior to the upgrade! You need to make sure that in case of an unlikely failure of your update attempt – you have a source for restore.
-          Use your OS’s backup software or
-          Use one of many programs or services available today to back up your systems
-          Always perform verification of your backup before the update
-          If possible, perform a test restore


Read software issuer’s statement and instructions carefully and if possible, perform a test update on another system


Plan carefully, give yourself enough time, warn users that your office network will be unavailable for a while.


Minimize pressure by at least giving youself twice the time you think your upgrade will take. This will allow you to fall back to a restore point if needed, and minimize if not eliminate possible interruptions users may cause by asking for the good ol’ “more information”

Update your system’s firmware prior to updating your virtual platform. Depending on system manufacturer of your

After firmware / BIOS update, boot your system completely and verify that it operates properly. This is important, as it is simpler to address any potential issues with BIOS update right after such update, than it is if you have to call your manufacturer after updating another layer of software (such as VMWare or HyperV)

In case you are updating an ESX VMWare platform:

a)      If possible, open up a case with your hardware manufacturer and have them ready to assist in an unlikely case of an outage.
b)      Give this process enough time, do not rush it or try to restart the system if you think your update is “stuck”.
c)       Shut down all guest operating systems gracefully
d)      Place your host in maintenance mode
e)      Shut down your host using tools provided by the software manufacturer (i.e. vSphere client)
f)       Wait for your ESX system to shut down completely
g)      Boot your ESX system from the bootable CD containing updated OS
h)      Follow the on-screen instructions and make sure you perform an update, not a new install. This way you will preserve your VM systems, datastores and settings.
i)        After successful update, restart your system, and again – give it enough time for a successful boot. Right after the update, it will take your system more time to boot up successfully as there are new files that need to be processed for the first time.
j)        Start your guest OSs one-by-one, and carefully monitor any errors or prompts you may have to react to during the boot-up process.
k)      Once all systems are up, check system logs for any potential errors or other items that may need to be addressed.
l)        Update VMWare tools on all systems.
m)    Backup all systems one more time and verify these backups one by one.
n)      Take full credit for the success of your upgrade :)









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