Several folks in the community had reported issues that after upgrading from ESXi 6.7 to 7.0, their Samsung NVMe PCIe SSDs were no longer showing up. The first report of this was from Ivo Beerens and eventually found that reinstalling ESXi from scratch works but certainly that was not ideal. Just yesterday, I saw that Jeffrey Kusters also shared a similiar issue and used a different workaround which allowed him to upgrade. I also reached out to VMware Engineering as they thought this was a strange behavior but needed to see the logs to understand what was actually going on. Since Jeffrey's setup was an upgrade, I was able to get a copy of his vm-support bundle to provide to Engineering.
Within minutes of looking at the support bundle, they quickly identified the issue and this was caused by using the incorrect ESXCLI command to upgrade a standalone ESXi host from 6.7 to 7.0. Instead of using "esxcli software vib update" command, folks should be using "esxcli software profile update" which has always been the correct command to use when upgrading an ESXi image. In fact, this has been in the vSphere documentation for quite some time and here is the ESXi 7.0 version of that documentation. More importantly, the incorrect command only upgrades the ESXi 6.7 VIBs that exists and does not install any of the ESXi 7.0 VIBs, which means after the upgrade, you are not only missing the nvme-pcie VIB but many other ESXi 7.0 VIBs!
tl;dr – If you are going to use ESXCLI to upgrade your standalone ESXi host, please make sure to use the correct command or you will have issues. Below are the two commands you will need to determine which ESXi Image Profiles are available given an offline bundle and then updating to a specific image profile.
List Image Profiles from ESXi 7.0 Offline Bundle:
[[email protected]:~] esxcli software sources profile list -d /vmfs/volumes/e200-8d-local-datastore/VMware-ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-depot.zip
Name Vendor Acceptance Level Creation Time Modification Time
—————————- ———— —————- ——————- ——————-
ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard VMware, Inc. PartnerSupported 2020-03-16T10:48:54 2020-03-16T10:48:54
ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-no-tools VMware, Inc. PartnerSupported 2020-03-16T10:48:54 2020-03-16T10:48:54
Upgrade to a specific Image Profile from ESXi 7.0 Offline Bundle:
esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/e200-8d-local-datastore/VMware-ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-depot.zip -p ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard