Geaux Virtual

Helping virtualize the datacenter…

So you say to use Update Manager

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Update Manager 1.0 is great.  Automatic update downloads.  Compliance baselines.  Support for VM and ESX host patches.

Sure there are some issues, such as downloading updates for ESX 3.0.3 and ESXi even though none of these versions exist in my Datacenter (I hear this is fixed in vSphere 4.0, though I can’t confirm as the Update Manager RC crashes when trying to run with domain credentials).

Now to what I’m hear to talk about.  Using Update Manager to update hosts across a WAN.  When you have a few patches to push, it works great.  Slow, but it works.  So what do you do when you have 2GBs+ of patches to install on 24 hosts located across 7 different states?


Here is what I did to update my 24 remote hosts.  I copied all the patches that were downloaded since my last update back in June of 2008 to a folder on a VMFS volumes at each location.  I also copied the contents.xml.sig and contents.xml files to this directory as well.  I then logged on to each host using ssh and ran esxupdate to patch the hosts.  Now, you have to run esxupdate from the patch depot, or you have to specify the location when executing esxupdate.

So from the patch depot, you would execute esxupdate -b ESX350-Update04 –test update to first test the installs.  Then run esxupdate -b ESX350-Update04 update to update the servers.  And I have to say, this patched the servers a lot quicker than through Update Manager.  Reading on the VMware Communities, it seems any patch that restarts hostd, Update Manager waits 10 minutes before installing the next patch.  This is not an issue with esxupdate on the host itself.

In vSphere 4.0 Update Manager, it seems like Update Manager has the ability to utilize patch depots at different locations, but I believe the patch depots reside on a host, not on a SAN LUN.  Again, I can’t confirm this just yet as the Update Manager RC isn’t running for me right now.  If the patch depot does not reside on a SAN LUN, I think I’ll be submitting a feature request for this to happen.  Sure residing on a host is at least on a step in the right direction, but why push patches over the network when each host has access to the same LUNs on the SAN?


Written by jguidroz

April 29, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Posted in VMware

Tagged with ,

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