Updating ESXi 5.5 Update 3b to ESXi 6.0 — not so fast, there!

I am going to be playing VMware Horizon 6 and wanted to use one of my lab hosts as the main VDI host for that effort.  I was going to play with deploying Horizon 6 on ESXi 5.5 Update 3b as it is listed on the VMware Product  Interoperability Matrix but decided I might as well bring this host up to ESXi 6.0 Update 1 since I have a third host I can run 5.5 Update 3b on for testing.

So, naturally, I leverage VMware Update Manager to attach a customized Dell ISO of ESXi 6.0 Update 1 and get rolling with that only to be met with an error involving incompatible VIBs.  Alright, well, I’ve had issues like this in the past and a reboot of the host combined with a rescan and then checking the “Ignore Incompatibility” option for the Host Upgrade remediation usually fixes it.  However, this did not prove to be true this time around.  I attached the ISO through virtual media and try and upgrade the host through the iDRAC console and that’s when I realize what’s going on – I should have read the error closer:

xhci error

xhci error

It turns out that there is a brief highlight of this in the ESXi 5.5 Update 3b Release Notes:

Installation and Upgrade Issues

  • Updated Attempts to upgrade ESXi 5.5 Update 3b to ESXi 6.0 Update 1a and earlier versions of 6.0 fail
    Upgrading from ESXi 5.5 Update 3b to ESXi 6.0 Update 1a and earlier versions of 6.0 fail due to XHCI driver dependency conflict. This issue is observed when you upgrade using a CD-ROM or esxcli method. The following ESXCLI command throws upgrade error:
    ~ # esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.0.0-20150902001-standard -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore2/update-from-esxi6.0-6.0_update01.zip
    VIB VMware_bootbank_xhci-xhci_1.0-3vmw.550.3.78.3223702 requires com.vmware.usb-, but the requirement cannot be satisfied within the ImageProfile.
    Please refer to the log file for more details.Workaround: None

Perfect…  it’s not the exact error but it obviously involves the XHCI driver and basically indicates that the version of the driver included with ESXi 5.5 Update 3b (which is a later release than ESXi 6.0 Update 1) is newer than the version that my Dell Customized ISO is trying to install.  So, for now, there is no way to upgrade from ESXi 5.5 Update 3b to ESXi 6.0!  Really glad I realized this in a lab and not on a client system!  I did just upgrade a client to ESXi 5.5 Update 3b, so I will have to keep this in mind and make sure to test upgrading to ESXi 6.0 when the time comes.

The way I got around this issue isn’t pretty – I basically removed the XHCI driver from the host, rebooted, rescanned, and then remediated the host with the original Host Upgrade task I had created in VUM.  What a drag.  Anyway, the command I ran was this:

esxcli software vib remove -n xhci-xhci

Alright… back to what I was actually trying to do!  Hope you find this useful!  VMware, fix this soon please!

Author: Jon

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