Homelab - Will ESXi 6.5 run on Intel NUC?

esxi-on-5th-gen-NUC5i3MYHEVMware vSphere ESXi 6.5 is here and while you should wait to upgrade your production, it's time to explore the new features in your Homelab. I've received a few questions on whether it is safe to upgrade.

Short answer
ESXi 6.5 will run on 5th and 6th Gen NUCs just as ESXi 6.0 U2

Long answer...

Important information before upgrading to vSphere 6.5

If your Homelab runs one of the following products, please consider that the following products are not compatible with vSphere 6.5 at this time:

  • VMware NSX
  • VMware Integrated OpenStack
  • vCloud Director for Service Providers
  • vRealize Infrastructure Navigator
  • App Volumes
  • Horizon Air Hybrid-Mode
  • Integrated OpenStack
  • vCloud Networking and Security
  • vRealize Business for Cloud
  • vRealize Configuration Manager
  • vRealize Hyperic
  • vRealize Networking Insight

ESXi 6.5 on 5th/6th Gen NUC

  • Intel NUC6i7KYK (Intel Core i7-6770HQ Skull Canyon)
  • Intel NUC6i5SYH (Intel Core i5-6260U)
  • Intel NUC6i5SYK (Intel Core i5-6260U)
  • Intel NUC6i3SYH (Intel Core i3-6100U)
  • Intel NUC6i3SYK (Intel Core i3-6100U)
  • Intel NUC5i7RYH (Intel Core i7-5557U)
  • Intel NUC5i5RYH (Intel Core i5-5250U)
  • Intel NUC5i5MYHE (Intel Core i5-5300U vPro)
  • Intel NUC5i5RYK (Intel Core i5-5250U)
  • Intel NUC5i3RYH (Intel Core i3-5010U)
  • Intel NUC5i3MYHE (Intel Core i3-5010U)
  • Intel NUC5i3RYK (Intel Core i3-5010U)

The ESXi 6.5 stock image can be installed without any issues on 5th Gen and 6th Gen NUCs including the latest i7 Skull Canyon. Drivers for all onboard NICs (I218-LM, I219-LM and I219-V) are available in the stock image. Drivers for NVMe devices and any SATA AHCI controllers are also available without any customizations.

Upgrade to ESXi 6.5

Upgrade a running installation to ESXi 6.5 is very simple. Download the Offline Bundle, copy it to the datastore and run the following command:

# esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/[DATASTORE]/VMware-ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-depot.zip -p ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-standard

If you are using USB NIC drivers by William Lam, refer to following guide: USB 3.0 Ethernet Adapter (NIC) driver for ESXi 6.5

Upgrade from ESXi 6.5 Beta to ESXi 6.5 GA?

Yes, it is possible to upgrade from beta versions to the final release, but it is not supported. VMware recommends to do a fresh install.

Leave a comment ?

22 Comments.

  1. ANA chance ti bave on 4th generation or nuc ?

    • Not sure about the 4th Gen NUC because I dont have them anymore. Can you do a quick PCI ID lookup and post the output?

      lspci -v |grep 0200 -B1

      • The Output is the following ;

        0000:00:19.0 Ethernet controller Network controller: Intel Corporation Ethernet Connection I218-V [vmnic0]
        Class 0200: 8086:1559

        • This card will work with the stock image (e1000e driver):

          cat /etc/vmware/driver.map.d/e1000e.map |grep 1559
          regtype=linux,bus=pci,id=8086:1559 0000:0000,driver=e1000e,class=network

          So you don't need any additional drivers.

  2. This update process preserve image profile: (Updated) ESXi-6.0.0-20160302001-standard (VMware, Inc.) for my ESXi host. Should I do esxcli software profile install --depot=/vmfs/volumes/[DATASTORE]/VMware-ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-depot.zip --profile=ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-standard and then reinstall vibs for the network cards?

  3. Hi
    So is the VM6.5 support the usb 3.1 directly without problem ? And can you passthrough a keyboard or mouse in 6.5 ? As previous released it never work without a dedicated usb add-on card, pass to the vm.
    Thanks

  4. I've updated my Nuc to 6.5 without problems !! very good !
    Only a question... where is the setting for VM autostart ?
    The new web admin is very nice :)

  5. Before upgrade to 6.5 i've made a backup of entire esxi disk to file using Paragon Hard Disk Manager Professional 15
    I've also a previous backup done with same paragon software
    Inside this backup there's a VM that i need to recover..

    Someone know if it's possible to do it without recover all esxi disk ?

  6. Any idea how the licensing is going to play out with 6.5? With previous versions you could remove the eval license and keep using it forever, but the eval license for 6.5 is built in, so I wonder what will happen 60 days from now.

    • You can still get a free license for 6.5 as explained here.
      As always, you can't power on virtual machines when the evaluation period is expired.

      • Thanks for the info. I'm going to have to start following your site. I found it through some web searches last week, and it's a great site.

        I've read about not being able to power on VMs after the eval period, but I've never seen that. Is that with vCSA, or is that related to something else? I've been running a home lab ESXi server for years, and I currently run it at 6.0.2, and both that and 5.x ran in a "runs forever" mode, where everything works on a single host. I don't have vCSA, but with a solo hypervisor host, I don't need that; is the "can't power on" limitation in vCSA?

        Thanks!

  7. I have: Intel NUC5i7RYH (Intel Core i7-5557U)

    ESXi 6.5:
    Installed: VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.5.0-4564106.x86_64.iso

    It seems network card not supported. DHCP did not get IP. Static IP not working (cannot connect from remote server).

    ESXi 6.0 U2:
    Installed: VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.0.0.update02-3620759.x86_64.iso

    Installer does not found SSD disk.

  8. Hey there. Just to share my experience with a NUC6i5SYH. My first try of the upgrade from ESXi6.0-latest to 6.5-GA failed in that manner, that the upgrade itself was successfull, but I could start any of my VMs afterwards. So I did a "Shift-R" to my previous version. But in order to be some time able to upgrade to v6.5, my error was:

    2016-11-26T15:06:18.673Z cpu0:67673 opID=c3f5bb42)World: 12230: VC opID vim-cmd-57-39e6-39e7 maps to vmkernel opID c3f5bb42
    2016-11-26T15:06:18.673Z cpu0:67673 opID=c3f5bb42)Config: 706: "SIOControlFlag2" = 1, Old Value: 0, (Status: 0x0)
    2016-11-26T15:06:18.678Z cpu3:67852)WARNING: User: 4530: vmx: Error in initial cartel setup: Failed to open /bin/vmx: Operation not permitted
    2016-11-26T15:06:18.680Z cpu1:66740)Config: 706: "SIOControlFlag2" = 0, Old Value: 1, (Status: 0x0)

    Does anyone have a clue on this one?

    PS: Uhh, while I'm writing: I have run the macos-x-unlocker on the host
    for being able to run MacOS in a VM as well.

    Might be worth a try uninstalling that first. Will post a follow-up!

    Best regards,
    Sebastian

  9. It seems that I am not allowed to download the offline bundle:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/tuvl70igpsf3she/Screenshot%202016-12-04%2013.09.26.png?dl=0

    any idea/help?

    • Register for free ESXi or use the only repository:

      # esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
      # esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-standard -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml
      # esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient
      # reboot

  10. in the meantime I just upgraded via VMware online depot and everything is fine.

  11. Hi,

    Intel Nuc 6i7 works with esxi 6.5.

    But after update there is no Bluetoothadapter found, and there are some usb passthrough Problems.

    Cu

    Chris

    • ESXi 6.5 has a new USB driver (vmkusb) which might be the issue. You can disable it

      # esxcli system module set -m=vmkusb -e=FALSE
      # reboot

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