How to attach a Custom ESXi image to an Update Manager baseline

This may seem obvious/simple to a lot of people but I remember when I first needed to do this I had to do a fair bit of reading/googling. This post is for those people 🙂

The first time I had a reason to do this was when I spotted my host’s Image Profile name showed a version older than the version of ESXi I knew I was running on the host. Figure 1 below shows where the Image Profile name is found (this example is not mismatched).

Figure 1

To update the Image Profile name and the running ESXi version, if that is not already up-to-date, you will need to attach a Custom ESXi image to an Update Manager baseline.

Most of the major OEM server vendors have a custom image for ESXi. These will have specific drivers and management utilities embedded in to the image to help ‘make things work first time’. These custom images can normally be found on the server vendor websites but you can also find them all on VMware’s Download pages. Just search for vCenter, ESXi, then click the Custom ISO tab (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

Download the one for your server (the ISO not the Offline Bundle) and browse to Update Manager – Manage – ESXi Images.

Click “Import ESXi Image” (see Figure 3).

Figure 3

Browse to your ISO and click Import (see Figure 4).

Figure 4

You’ll now have the image listed but not attached to a baseline (see Figure 5).

Figure 5

Let’s attach it to a Baseline then!

Browse to “Hosts Baselines” and click the green + sign above “Baseline Name”. Give it a useful description and click “Host Upgrade” (see Figure 6).

Figure 6

Click Next and select the image you’ve just uploaded (Figure 7).

Figure 7

Click Next and then Finish.

Finally you need to attach the baseline to Update Manager. This ensures that when you next “Scan for Updates”, Update Manager will check compliance with the new Custom ESXi image.

Click “Update Manager” under the “Manage” tab and then “Attach Baseline”.

Figure 8

Select your new Baseline and then click OK. That’s it!

Now when you “Scan for Updates”, you will see whether your hosts need to be upgraded/remediated to the new baseline image. If they do, and once you complete remediation, your Image Profile name will now match the Custom ESXi image you just deployed.