Homelab - Will ESXi 7.0 run on Intel NUC?

esxi-on-5th-gen-NUC5i3MYHEVMware vSphere ESXi 7.0 is here and while you might want to wait before you upgrade your production, it's time to explore the new features in your Homelab. I've received questions on whether it is safe to upgrade and some folks are already having trouble with the upgrade.

First of all, short answer:
Yes - ESXi 7.0 will run on 5th - 10th Gen NUCs.

Long answer...

Important information before upgrading to vSphere 7.0

If your Homelab runs one of the following products, please consider that the following products are not yet compatible with vSphere 7.0 in any version. If you use these components, either wait until they are supported or remove them:

  • ESXi 5.x
  • ESXi 6.0
  • VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO)
  • VMware NSX for vSphere
  • VMware NSX-T Data Center
  • VMware Pulse IoT Center
  • VMware vCloud Director
  • VMware vRealize Configuration Manager
  • VMware vRealize Operations Manager
  • vSphere Integrated Containers

ESXi 7.0 on 5-9th Gen Intel NUC

The ESXi 7.0 stock image can be installed without any issues on 5th Gen6th Gen, 7th Gen, 8th Gen and 9th Gen NUCs. Drivers for all onboard NICs (I218-LM, I219-LM, I219-V and I210-AT) are available in the stock image. Drivers for NVMe devices and any SATA AHCI controllers are also available without any customizations.

ESXi 7.0 on 10th Gen Frost Canyon Intel NUC

If you try to install ESXi 7.0, the installer fails with a "No Network Adapters" error. If you upgrade to the latest Image Profile ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard, ESXi fails to recognize the network adapter after reboot. To install or upgrade to ESXi 7.0 you need a customized image.

The following commands can be used to create a working ESXi 7.0 Image to be used with Intel's 10th Gen Frost Canyon NUC. See ESXi on 10th Gen Intel NUC (Comet Lake - Frost Canyon) for further information about the updated NE1000 driver required to create the image. It's the same driver for ESXi 6.7 and 7.0.

Download: ESXi670-NE1000-32543355-offline_bundle-15486963.zip

Add-EsxSoftwareDepot https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml
Export-ESXImageProfile -ImageProfile "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard" -ExportToBundle -filepath ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard.zip
Remove-EsxSoftwareDepot https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot .\ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard.zip
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot .\ESXi670-NE1000-32543355-offline_bundle-15486963.zip
New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard" -name "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-NUC" -Vendor "virten.net"
Remove-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-NUC" -SoftwarePackage "ne1000"
Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-NUC" -SoftwarePackage "ne1000 0.8.4-3vmw.670.3.99.32543355"
Export-ESXImageProfile -ImageProfile "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-NUC" -ExportToIso -filepath ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-NUC.iso
Export-ESXImageProfile -ImageProfile "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-NUC" -ExportToBundle -filepath ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-NUC.zip

Use ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-NUC.iso to install or ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-NUC.zip to upgrade.

Upgrade to ESXi 7.0

Upgrade a running installation to ESXi 7.0 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-7.0.0-15843807-depot.zip -p ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard

If your ESXi host is connected to the internet, you can also download and install it directly:

# esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
# esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml
# esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient

Update Error when running USB NIC Fling

When you have the USB NIC Fling installed, the update fails with the following error message:

[DependencyError]
VIB VMW_bootbank_vmkusb-nic-fling_2.1-4vmw.670.2.48.33242987 requires vmkapi_incompat_2_5_0_0, but the requirement cannot be satisfied within the ImageProfile.
Please refer to the log file for more details.

The driver used in ESXi 6.7 is not compatible with ESXi 7.0. Luckily, a new driver is already available:

Download: USB Network Native Driver for ESXi

To update, use the "profile install" command with "--ok-to-remove". The will remove all packages that are not part of standard ESXi 7.0 and install the NIC Adapter right after:

# esxcli software profile install -p ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard -d /VMware-ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-depot.zip --ok-to-remove
# esxcli software vib install -d /ESXi700-VMKUSB-NIC-FLING-34491022-component-15873236.zip
# reboot

Update Error when running NSX

When you have NSX installed, the update fails with the following error message:

[DependencyError]
VIB VMware_bootbank_nsx-esx-datapath_2.5.0.0.0-6.7.14663999 requires esx-base << 7.0, but the requirement cannot be satisfied within the ImageProfile.
Please refer to the log file for more details.

Currently, there is no supported NSX-T or NSX-V version for vSphere 7.0. You have to wait until supported NSX versions are available and update NSX prior to vSphere 7. If you still want to install ESXi 7.0 you have to remove all NSX packages. I highly recommend to use the NSX Manager and disable NSX for the host as it's not just removing VIBs. It is possible to do a "profile install" with "--ok-to-remove" but this might result in networking issues after a reboot.

[Update 2020-04-07: NSX-T 3.0 with vSphere 7.0 support has been released today. You have to upgrade NSX-T to the latest version prior to upgrade vCenter and ESXi Hosts.]

Upgrade Free ESXi 7.0

Unfortunately, the free ESXi license for vSphere 7.0 is not yet available.

Leave a comment ?

15 Comments.

  1. >Unfortunately, the free ESXi license for vSphere 7.0 is not yet available.

    Does it mean that the free licence upgraders have 2 month evaluation time and we do not know what happens after that?

    • VMware is already working on providing the Free ESXi license. It just does not work yet. I'm sure that there will be a license before the 60-day evaluation runs out.

  2. When I downloaded the offline bundle, it gave me a new key for free ESXi...

  3. esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard -d https://hostupdate.vmw
    are.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml
    Got no data from process: LANG=en_US.UTF-8 /usr/lib/vmware/esxcli-software profile.update -d "https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml" -p "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard"

  4. esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/[committed for privacy]/VMware-ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-depot.zip -p ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-s
    tandard
    [MetadataDownloadError]
    Could not download from depot at zip:/vmfs/volumes/[ommited-for-privacy]/VMware-ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-depot.zip?index.xml, skipping (('zip:/vmfs/volumes/[ommited-for-privacy]1/VMware-ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-depot.zip?index.xml', '', 'Error extracting index.xml from /vmfs/volumes/[ommited-for-privacy]/VMware-ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-depot.zip: File is not a zip file'))

    Both offline and online no luck :-(

    • Maybe the zip file is broken. Can you check md5sum or redownload it?

      Also, check /var/log/esxupdate.log for errors.

  5. This is what I got on my esxi 6.7 machine
    [root@lab:~] esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml
    [VibFormatError]
    Could not parse VIB XML data: None.
    Please refer to the log file for more details.

  6. I had problems with the online update, but succeeded with the offline.

    uploaded the "VMware-ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-depot.zip" to my ESXI host manually.

    esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/5e7e795d-1e685fa4-9a66-a0369f2a78e2/iso/VMware-ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-depot.zip -p ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard

  7. I wanted to upgrade my homelab on a HP Z220 with Intel Xeon E3-1280 v2 from ESXi 6.7 U3 to ESXi 7.0. There's a message that the HP NC360T PCI-Express Dual-Port NIC isn't supported. For the CPU there's only a warning that in future releases the CPU won't be supported any more. Because of the error message regarding the NIC I canceled the update.

    Is there someone who can confirm that the NC360T isn't working with ESXi 7.0? Then ESXi 6.7 U3 is the last version of long lasting and exciting life with VMware ESXi.

  8. What about NICs like HP NC360T and ESXi 7.0? With ESXi 6.7 U3 they are working finde. At the start of the upgrade to ESXi 7.0 these cards are shown as unsupported.

    • There is no indication that the NC360T does not work with ESXi 7.0. The Adapter was also unsupported in 6.7. It should work with the ne1000 driver, so you don't have to worry about vmklinux depreciation in vSphere 7.0.

  9. I am trying to upgrade my ESXi 6.7 with below command,
    "esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml"

    But getting below output,
    Got no data from process: LANG=en_US.UTF-8 /usr/lib/vmware/esxcli-software profile.update -d "https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml" -p "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard"

  10. Hello,
    I am trying to use this drive: XPG SX8200 Pro 2TB 3D NAND NVMe Gen3x4 PCIe M.2 2280 Solid State Drive with both ESXi 6.7 and 7.0

    On both installs the Nuc sees the drive but ESX does not. I just got the machine today and I have no idea what to do or how to troubleshoot it.

    Please help!

  11. I just wanted to add I have this nuk: NUC8i7HVK

    So NUC8i7HVK with XPG SX8200 Pro 2TB 3D NAND NVMe Gen3x4 PCIe M.2 2280 Solid State Drive and the drive does not get seen by either ESX 6.7 or 7.0 however the Nuk does see it in the bios.

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