I recently upgraded my single ESXi host, which is used for my personal vSphere Homelab, to the latest patch release of ESXi 7.0 Update 3e using ESXCLI and connecting directly to VMware's online depot.
I still love how easy it is to update a single ESXi host using ESXCLI and using VMware's Patch Repo -
— William Lam (@lamw) July 7, 2022
This is the same method that I have been using since 2012 when I first wrote about this in a blog post using a pretty cool method of upgrading/patching a single ESXi hosts. If you are fortunate to have multiple ESXi hosts and a vCenter Server, you definitely should be using vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) provided by vCenter Server rather than the ESXCLI method, especially as there are no upgrade pre-checks built into in compared to vLCM.
Although my environment has a vCenter Server, I can not use vLCM because I only have a single ESXi host and ESXCLI method is really the only viable option. Customers may have a simliar setup, whether that is for a homelab, smaller environment or simply do not have a vCenter Server. Using the ESXCLI workflow, it certainly is the easiest if your ESXi host can reach VMware's online repo which is hosted at hostupdate.vmware.com, however this may not be possible for everyone, especially for remote locations where connectivity may be spotty or simply is not allowed to have outbound connectivity.
For such environments, you might be interested in hosting your own ESXi update repo and as always, I was curious on how one could setup something simliar without much effort and well, here we are with this blog post 😀