Skip to content

Tag: VUM

VMware Update Manager Issues

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of patching ESX prior to VMware Update Manager (VUM), be thankful. Prior to its inception, the process of patching ESX hosts was repetitive and extremely error prone as it was completely manual. Today, this process is fully automated, but that is not to say the automation does not come with its fair share of issues. In this entry, I will be focusing on a couple of VUM issues I have experienced and the troubleshooting steps I have taken to resolve them.

Forcing VMware Update Manager to download patches

While many people may already know how to do this, I always seem to forget so I thought it was worth blogging about. VMware Update Manager is a Windows service and plug-in used to download and install the latest host and OS patches. Installing the server component starts a service, but otherwise does not contain any direct executables that need to be run. If you navigate to the install directory C:Program FilesVMwareUpdate Manager you will notice several available executable files. It is my understanding that these executables are called by the Update Manager client in order to perform downloading and installation operations. Unfortunately, these commands are not documented and the help menu provided with them is difficult at best to follow. In addition, many people in the communities say not to run these executables for any reason and instead to rely on PowerShell commands to perform operations.
While I am a big fan of PowerShell and the VMware cmdlets available, I was just looking for a quick, one-time download of the latest patches. Because of this, I decided to turn to the VMware Update Manager client to see if it provides any way to force a download of the latest patches.

Using VMware Update Manager without DNS

I had an interesting challenge this past week. I had a development environment with a vCenter Server instance hosted on a private network. This private network connected to a corporate network connection, but had no direction connection to the Internet. My task was to configure VMware Update Manager such that it could download patches from the Internet. Sounds simple, no?
I had one of my networking colleagues configure a NAT such that the private IP address of the vCenter Server would be granted access to the corporate network. Upon doing so, I could access both corporate and Internet websites via IP address. As it turns out, VMware Update Manager requires DNS resolution in order to function properly. If you attempt to download patches without DNS resolution configuration properly, VMware Update Manager will fail with the following error message, “Metadata download failed.” I find this amusing as several VMware services including vpxa only function via IP address.
The problem I had was that the connection to the corporate network was not allowed to communicate over port 53. As such, I could not get DNS to function either through internal or Internet resolvers. This is typically not that big of a problem as DNS can be faked by updating the Windows hosts file located at C:Windowssystem32driversetchosts. The issue with this approach was I did not know the URLs necessary for VMware Update Manager to function.