VMware 6.5 to 6.7 Upgrade Workaround for Older CPUs

I have three Dell T110s and wanted to upgrade them from vSphere 6.5 to 6.7. The issue I had was incompatible hardware. Although for what I use it for it should be fine there has been updates on what CPU is currently supported. With newer CPUs there is advanced features that older ones just don’t have. Take the upgrade with care since VMware really doesn’t look to see if advanced feature will work or not. If you tell it to use something it will try and a purple screen of death may result. Since this is part of my Lab I don’t care so much but would never do this for production.

The Error?

Here is an example of the potential error you will get if you do not have compatible CPUs:

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If you are getting this when you try an upgrade the workaround is very simple. Proceed with the following section if you want to rick it:

The Upgrade

Follow the following steps and you should get where you want to be:

  1. Enable SSH from the Web interface
  1. Login via SSH
  2. Puts host in maintenance mode
# vim-cmd /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter 
  1. Set the correct firewall rules for the httpClient
# esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
  1. Check what updates are available. You want to use the latest one that ends with -standard
# esxcli software sources profile list -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml | sort | grep ESXi-6.7

...
ESXi-6.7.0-20201101001s-standard  VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported  2020-11-11T12:40:20  2020-11-11T12:40:20
 ESXi-6.7.0-20201103001-no-tools   VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported  2020-11-11T12:40:19  2020-11-11T12:40:19
 ESXi-6.7.0-20201103001-standard   VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported  2020-11-11T12:40:19  2020-11-11T12:40:19
 ESXi-6.7.0-20201104001-no-tools   VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported  2020-11-11T12:40:20  2020-11-11T12:40:20
 ESXi-6.7.0-20201104001-standard   VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported  2020-11-11T12:40:19  2020-11-11T12:40:19
  1. Now download and install the update
# esxcli software profile update -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml -p ESXi-6.7.0-20201104001-standard

[InstallationError]
  [Errno 28] No space left on device
        vibs = VMware_locker_tools-light_11.1.1.16303738-16701467
  Please refer to the log file for more details.

Note: If you get an error were it says there is no space available. You need to enable swap on your datastore. We can do this via the WEB manager: Host -> Manage -> Swap

Click on Edit Settings
Click on Datastore you will have an option to select whatever datastore(s) you have available and save it

Redo step 6 if you got the error above and made the fix.

Edit the boot.cfg files so that when it boots it recognizes you are using Legacy CPUs. If you don’t do this you will get an error at boot.

# vi /bootbank/boot.cfg
# vi  /altbootbank/boot.cfg 

\\ I edit both and use :w! then :n to get to the second one.  You can do one at a time if you wish.  Find the "kernelopt= installerDiskDumpSlotSize=2560 no-auto-partition" line and append it with the following: allowLegacyCPU=true

It will look like this: kernelopt= installerDiskDumpSlotSize=2560 no-auto-partition allowLegacyCPU=true
\\

\\ Verify the files: \\
# cat /vmfs/volumes/ddcea178-3ababe75-f272-68be8b2fbfb4/boot.cfg /vmfs/volumes/12c9c17a-f60789d6-52d5-f723fe236afa/boot.cfg

bootstate=0
 kernel=tboot.b00
 title=Loading VMware ESXi
 kernelopt= installerDiskDumpSlotSize=2560 no-auto-partition allowLegacyCPU=true
 modules=b.b00 --- jumpstrt.gz --- useropts.gz --- features.gz --- k.b00 --- chardevs.b00 --- a.b00 --- user.b00 --- uc_intel.b00 --- uc_amd.b00 --- sb.v00 --- s.v00 --- ata_liba.v00 --- ata_pata.v00 --- ata_pata.v01 --- ata_pata.v02 --- ata_pata.v03 --- ata_pata.v04 --- ata_pata.v05 --- ata_pata.v06 --- ata_pata.v07 --- block_cc.v00 --- bnxtnet.v00 --- brcmfcoe.v00 --- char_ran.v00 --- ehci_ehc.v00 --- elxnet.v00 --- hid_hid.v00 --- i40en.v00 --- igbn.v00 --- ima_qla4.v00 --- ipmi_ipm.v00 --- ipmi_ipm.v01 --- ipmi_ipm.v02 --- ixgben.v00 --- lpfc.v00 --- lsi_mr3.v00 --- lsi_msgp.v00 --- lsi_msgp.v01 --- lsi_msgp.v02 --- misc_cni.v00 --- misc_dri.v00 --- mtip32xx.v00 --- ne1000.v00 --- nenic.v00 --- net_bnx2.v00 --- net_bnx2.v01 --- net_cdc_.v00 --- net_cnic.v00 --- net_e100.v00 --- net_e100.v01 --- net_enic.v00 --- net_fcoe.v00 --- net_forc.v00 --- net_igb.v00 --- net_ixgb.v00 --- net_libf.v00 --- net_mlx4.v00 --- net_mlx4.v01 --- net_nx_n.v00 --- net_tg3.v00 --- net_usbn.v00 --- net_vmxn.v00 --- nhpsa.v00 --- nmlx4_co.v00 --- nmlx4_en.v00 --- nmlx4_rd.v00 --- nmlx5_co.v00 --- ntg3.v00 --- nvme.v00 --- nvmxnet3.v00 --- ohci_usb.v00 --- pvscsi.v00 --- qedentv.v00 --- qfle3.v00 --- qflge.v00 --- qlnative.v00 --- sata_ahc.v00 --- sata_ata.v00 --- sata_sat.v00 --- sata_sat.v01 --- sata_sat.v02 --- sata_sat.v03 --- sata_sat.v04 --- scsi_aac.v00 --- scsi_adp.v00 --- scsi_aic.v00 --- scsi_bnx.v00 --- scsi_bnx.v01 --- scsi_fni.v00 --- scsi_hps.v00 --- scsi_ips.v00 --- scsi_isc.v00 --- scsi_lib.v00 --- scsi_meg.v00 --- scsi_meg.v01 --- scsi_meg.v02 --- scsi_mpt.v00 --- scsi_mpt.v01 --- scsi_mpt.v02 --- scsi_qla.v00 --- shim_isc.v00 --- shim_isc.v01 --- shim_lib.v00 --- shim_lib.v01 --- shim_lib.v02 --- shim_lib.v03 --- shim_lib.v04 --- shim_lib.v05 --- shim_vmk.v00 --- shim_vmk.v01 --- shim_vmk.v02 --- smartpqi.v00 --- uhci_usb.v00 --- usb_stor.v00 --- usbcore_.v00 --- vmkata.v00 --- vmkplexe.v00 --- vmkusb.v00 --- vmw_ahci.v00 --- xhci_xhc.v00 --- emulex_e.v00 --- btldr.t00 --- weaselin.t00 --- esx_dvfi.v00 --- esx_ui.v00 --- lsu_hp_h.v00 --- lsu_lsi_.v00 --- lsu_lsi_.v01 --- lsu_lsi_.v02 --- lsu_lsi_.v03 --- lsu_lsi_.v04 --- native_m.v00 --- rste.v00 --- vmware_e.v00 --- vsan.v00 --- vsanheal.v00 --- vsanmgmt.v00 --- xorg.v00 --- imgdb.tgz --- state.tgz
 build=6.5.0-13932383
 updated=1
 bootstate=1
 kernel=b.b00
 kernelopt=installerDiskDumpSlotSize=2560 no-auto-partition allowLegacyCPU=true
 modules=jumpstrt.gz --- useropts.gz --- features.gz --- k.b00 --- chardevs.b00 --- user.b00 --- procfs.b00 --- uc_intel.b00 --- uc_amd.b00 --- uc_hygon.b00 --- vmx.v00 --- vim.v00 --- sb.v00 --- s.v00 --- ata_liba.v00 --- ata_pata.v00 --- ata_pata.v01 --- ata_pata.v02 --- ata_pata.v03 --- ata_pata.v04 --- ata_pata.v05 --- ata_pata.v06 --- ata_pata.v07 --- block_cc.v00 --- bnxtnet.v00 --- bnxtroce.v00 --- brcmfcoe.v00 --- char_ran.v00 --- ehci_ehc.v00 --- elxiscsi.v00 --- elxnet.v00 --- hid_hid.v00 --- i40en.v00 --- iavmd.v00 --- igbn.v00 --- ima_qla4.v00 --- ipmi_ipm.v00 --- ipmi_ipm.v01 --- ipmi_ipm.v02 --- iser.v00 --- ixgben.v00 --- lpfc.v00 --- lpnic.v00 --- lsi_mr3.v00 --- lsi_msgp.v00 --- lsi_msgp.v01 --- lsi_msgp.v02 --- misc_cni.v00 --- misc_dri.v00 --- mtip32xx.v00 --- ne1000.v00 --- nenic.v00 --- net_bnx2.v00 --- net_bnx2.v01 --- net_cdc_.v00 --- net_cnic.v00 --- net_e100.v00 --- net_e100.v01 --- net_enic.v00 --- net_fcoe.v00 --- net_forc.v00 --- net_igb.v00 --- net_ixgb.v00 --- net_libf.v00 --- net_mlx4.v00 --- net_mlx4.v01 --- net_nx_n.v00 --- net_tg3.v00 --- net_usbn.v00 --- net_vmxn.v00 --- nfnic.v00 --- nhpsa.v00 --- nmlx4_co.v00 --- nmlx4_en.v00 --- nmlx4_rd.v00 --- nmlx5_co.v00 --- nmlx5_rd.v00 --- ntg3.v00 --- nvme.v00 --- nvmxnet3.v00 --- nvmxnet3.v01 --- ohci_usb.v00 --- pvscsi.v00 --- qcnic.v00 --- qedentv.v00 --- qfle3.v00 --- qfle3f.v00 --- qfle3i.v00 --- qflge.v00 --- sata_ahc.v00 --- sata_ata.v00 --- sata_sat.v00 --- sata_sat.v01 --- sata_sat.v02 --- sata_sat.v03 --- sata_sat.v04 --- scsi_aac.v00 --- scsi_adp.v00 --- scsi_aic.v00 --- scsi_bnx.v00 --- scsi_bnx.v01 --- scsi_fni.v00 --- scsi_hps.v00 --- scsi_ips.v00 --- scsi_isc.v00 --- scsi_lib.v00 --- scsi_meg.v00 --- scsi_meg.v01 --- scsi_meg.v02 --- scsi_mpt.v00 --- scsi_mpt.v01 --- scsi_mpt.v02 --- scsi_qla.v00 --- sfvmk.v00 --- shim_isc.v00 --- shim_isc.v01 --- shim_lib.v00 --- shim_lib.v01 --- shim_lib.v02 --- shim_lib.v03 --- shim_lib.v04 --- shim_lib.v05 --- shim_vmk.v00 --- shim_vmk.v01 --- shim_vmk.v02 --- smartpqi.v00 --- uhci_usb.v00 --- usb_stor.v00 --- usbcore_.v00 --- vmkata.v00 --- vmkfcoe.v00 --- vmkplexe.v00 --- vmkusb.v00 --- vmw_ahci.v00 --- xhci_xhc.v00 --- elx_esx_.v00 --- btldr.t00 --- esx_dvfi.v00 --- esx_ui.v00 --- esxupdt.v00 --- weaselin.t00 --- lsu_hp_h.v00 --- lsu_inte.v00 --- lsu_lsi_.v00 --- lsu_lsi_.v01 --- lsu_lsi_.v02 --- lsu_lsi_.v03 --- lsu_lsi_.v04 --- lsu_smar.v00 --- native_m.v00 --- qlnative.v00 --- rste.v00 --- vmware_e.v00 --- vsan.v00 --- vsanheal.v00 --- vsanmgmt.v00 --- xorg.v00 --- imgdb.tgz --- state.tgz
 build=6.7.0-3.132.17167734
 updated=2
  1. reboot
  2. Log in to WEB interface

That’s it we are upgraded to 6.7 and booted fine no errors.