Upgrade VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) Version 5.0.0 to 5.1.0 with ghettoVCB

Since October there is the new VMware Hypervisor (ESXi) version available: 5.1

This update eliminates the problem with the automatic startup and shutdown, comes with more tools (e.g. cpio), upgraded tools, security updates, new Virtual Hardware version 9 and so on. You can find detailed information from the VMware site.

The system I am going to upgrade is a ESXi-5.0.0-20120302001 (build 623860) which install process is described here.

Download the update from this site.

Choose ESXi and Version 5.1.0 as seen in the screenshot

On the next site download the file: ESXi510-201210001.zip

  • Open your VMware vSphere Client
  • Click on your host
  • Click on configuration
  • Click on storage
  • Rightclick on your datastore
  • Select Browser Datastore…
  • Select the upload symbol
  • Select upload file

Select your update-file

 File is uploading…

When it is uploaded activate your SSH Server to trigger the update.

For this go to the firewall properties…

 … and activate the SSH server service.

Now start putty and connect to your server. Login with root.

Depending on where you uploaded your ESXi 5.1.0 update file you need to execute this command to updated your server:

esxcli software vib install -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/ESXi510-201210001.zip

After a while the result of the update appears:

~ # esxcli software vib install -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/ESXi510-201210001.zip
Installation Result
   Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.
   Reboot Required: true
   VIBs Installed: VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-amd_0.3.10-3vmw.510.0.0.799733, ...snip...
 VIBs Removed: VMware_bootbank_ata-pata-amd_0.3.10-3vmw.500.0.0.469512, ...snip...
VIBs Skipped:

As you can see the updated completed successfully. A lot of old versions of programs and drivers have been removed and the newer versions have been added.

Reboot your server with the command


or over your vSphere Client. The ESXi Server should then boot up with the new version.

Adjusting ghettoVCB

for the folks of you who are using ghettoVCB from William Lam, here are some alterations to make your script work for version 5.1.0. These information comes from this VMware-comunity-site. There might be more incompatibilities, which I have not found yet.

You need to do this changes in both scripts: ghettoVCB.sh AND ghettoVCB-restore.sh

Add versionstring

Search for

ESX_VERSION=$(vmware -v | awk '{print $3}')
        if [[ "${ESX_VERSION}" == "5.0.0" ]]; then

replace by

ESX_VERSION=$(vmware -v | awk '{print $3}')
        if [[ "${ESX_VERSION}" == "5.0.0" ]] || [[ "${ESX_VERSION}" == "5.1.0" ]] ; then

Change userrecognition

Search for

if [ ! $(whoami) == "root" ]; then

replace by

if [ ! $USER == "root" ]; then

Pack your new scripts like described in this article (search for preparation) and upload it via WinSCP or get it via wget. Execute the sed-command like in the linked article if your tgz is NOT already registered. (see /bootbank/boot.cfg) If you had already used this method you MUST NOT execute the sed command, otherwise the system tries to load your tgz twice which causes an error which can’t be remotley solved. (Remote hands needed)

Try this on a non-productive machine first if it really works for you and also does the backups!

Be aware that after you upgraded your ESXi you can no longer use the ThinApped vSphere Client 5.0. You need to download a new version from your ESXi Server: (replace with your serveraddress)


There you will find a link to download a suitable VMware Hypervisor Client for your ESXi Instllation.

If you have made some interessting experiences with VMware ESXi Server 5.1.0 compared to Version 5.0.0 let me know. I consider making an article about it or add it to an existing one.