I’m running a couple of intel NUC’s as ESXi hosts in my home lab, over the years these have been great and very helpful when running up new environments and testing the latest and greatest. The biggest problem using NUC’s is that they are not on the HCL list which means you have to fiddle around with the ESXi builds when drivers do not work as well as having to add USB nic’s to provide a good platform to play with. William Lam and Songtao Zheng have created the USB-NIC-Fling which enables you to extend the network capability of the single nic port Nuc. When you want to upgrade your NUC to the latest version there is normally a little delay for the updated fling to come out, if you are not familiar with flings these are unsupported internal projects created by VMware staff which sometimes go into production like the Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility.
I’m not going to go over the fully process with screenshots that I used to upgrade my NUC8i5BEH from 7.0 to 7.0.1 but instead supply some really great links to other blogs that have already done some fantastic work on documenting these steps.
ESXi Host In place upgrade:
How to upgrade Intel NUC Gen8 to vSphere 7.0 U1 without losing network – https://vdr.one/how-to-upgrade-intel-nuc-gen8-to-vsphere-7-0-u1-without-losing-network/
This is a really easy process and really well documented to follow. I used the 4 below commands to upgrade one of my hosts (change the path locations e.g. /vmfs/volumes…… to the zip files)
you will need an offline ESXi package downloaded from myvmware and placed somewhere the hosts can access it e.g. datastore and the USB fling zip file for that version if you have a USB network card added to your NUC . The below commands are for a system that us using a USB network card already and has an older version, you need to remove it before the upgrade otherwise it will fail.
esxcli software vib remove -n vmkusb-nic-fling esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-7.0U1c-17325551-standard -d /vmfs/volumes/7afda43c-da130c64/VMware/ESXi/VMware-ESXi-7.0U1c-17325551-depot.zip esxcli software vib install -n ne1000:0.8.4-10vmw.700.1.0.15843807 -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml esxcli software component apply -d /vmfs/volumes/ISO/VMware/ESXi/ESXi701-VMKUSB-NIC-FLING-40599856-component-17078334.zip
Create Custom Image:
These commands were on a bunch of blog sites in the comments section, this was posted by Travis I’ve not found if this is a blog post somewhere but will update if I find it. These steps can be followed to create a custom ISO that you can use to install/re install your ESXi hosts to the newer version. I have set the versions/image profiles that you need to review in bold and as per the comments you can check these image profiles using this site Virten.net site. You need the ESXi-Customizer ps1 script which can be downloaed from github e.g. https://www.v-front.de/p/esxi-customizer.html
#Get the ESXi Customizer from git hub put into the same directory (directory you intend to run this from) #Run the following from same directory Get-ExecutionPolicy Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned Install-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI -Scope CurrentUser #Choose your folder here cd d:/nucesxi $baseProfile = “ESXi-7.0.1-16850804-standard” # See https://www.virten.net/vmware/vmware-esxi-image-profiles/ for available Image Profiles Add-EsxSoftwareDepot https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml $newProfile = New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile $baseProfile -name $($baseProfile.Replace(“standard”, “nuc”)) -Vendor “virten.net” Remove-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile $newProfile -SoftwarePackage “ne1000” Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile $newProfile -SoftwarePackage “ne1000 0.8.4-10vmw.700.1.0.15843807” Export-ESXImageProfile -ImageProfile $newProfile -ExportToBundle -filepath “$($baseProfile.Replace(“standard”, “nuc”)).zip” .\ESXi-Customizer-PS.ps1 -ozip .\ESXi-Customizer-PS.ps1 -izip .\ESXi-7.0.1-16850804-nuc.zip Use rufus to burn the ISO to a USB drive and you are all set to install on your NUC.
All the hard work has been done by the below people. Thank you for to keeping our home labs running.