Note: If you’re going to run EVE-NG on this host, then do not upgrade to ESXi 7.0
Looks like EVE-NG is not compatible with ESXi 7.0. Need to downgrade to ESXi 6.7U3.— Andrew Roderos (@andrewroderos) May 4, 2020
Earlier this year, I wrote a post about my new ESXi host, the Intel NUC 10 – Frost Canyon. The post covered how to install VMware ESXi 6.7 on the NUC. Since VMware released the new ESXi version, I decided to upgrade my Frost Canyon NUC to ESXi 7.0. This guide describes how to upgrade NUC107iFNH to ESXi 7.
Software upgrade process
Usually, I use the CLI to upgrade my ESXi hosts to a newer version. This time around, it didn’t work without some changes to my standard process. It is because I’m using the non-native NIC driver for the Intel I219-V. You can see the error I received, as shown below.
[root@esxi03:~] esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient [root@esxi03:~] esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml [HardwareError] Hardware precheck of profile ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard failed with errors: <NATIVE_BOOT_NIC ERROR: Found=[False] Expected=[True] Boot NIC is either missing or has no native driver available.> Please refer to the log file for more details. [root@esxi03:~] esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient
Since ESXi 7.0 still doesn’t use the updated ne1000 driver, you’ll have to create a customized offline bundle to upgrade the Intel 10th generation NUC (Frost Canyon) from ESXi 6.7 to 7.0.
To create a custom offline bundle, you’ll need to download and install some software. In this post, I used a Windows 10 VM with VMware PowerCLI, ESXi-Customizer-PS, and ne1000 driver downloaded and installed.
PowerShell and VMware PowerCLI
Creating a custom ESXi 7 offline bundle
Once you’ve completed the software download and install, then it is time to create the custom ESXi 7.0 offline bundle. Follow all the steps in this section to successfully create the file.
Step 1 – Run Windows PowerShell
To run the software, click the Start Menu and look for Windows PowerShell. Once located, right-click it and click the Run as administrator. Once PowerShell window is up, issue the command, as shown below. This command assumes that you already have an ESXi folder.
PS C:\Windows\System32> cd ~\Desktop\ESXi
Step 2 – Create a ZIP file
Now, you are ready to create a custom ESXi offline bundle file. To create the ZIP file, you need to issue the commands, as shown below. This step assumes that the ne1000 driver is in the ESXi folder.
PS C:\Users\Andrew\Desktop\ESXi> Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned PS C:\Users\Andrew\Desktop\ESXi> Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope Process -ExecutionPolicy Bypass PS C:\Users\Andrew\Desktop\ESXi> .\ESXi-Customizer-PS.ps1 -v70 -pkgDir .\ -ozip
Note: Generating the offline bundle file may take a while. Just be patient. Eventually, you will see a file in ESXi folder with a name of
Upgrading from ESXi 6.7 to 7.0
After creating the offline bundle file, you must upload the ZIP file to your ESXi datastore. Once completed, you’re going to issue the command below.
[root@esxi03:~] esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard-customized.zip -p ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard-customized
When the process is complete, you need to reboot your NUC, as shown below.
When the ESXi host is fully booted up, you can now check the version. You can do this via CLI or Web UI.
[root@esxi03:~] esxcli system version get Product: VMware ESXi Version: 7.0.0 Build: Releasebuild-15843807 Update: 0 Patch: 0
ESXi 7.0 on older Intel NUC hardware versions
I already had a lot of hoops to jump through in getting ESXi to work on Intel NUC, so this doesn’t bother me that much. Though, I, for sure, want it to be a simple process. I am still hopeful that VMware will eventually add the updated ne1000 driver to newer versions.
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