Update Manager does not download host updates

July 1st, 2009 by jason Leave a reply »

Scenario: You build a brand new vCenter and Update Manager server. After the installation is complete, you decide to get a jump on things by starting the download of all the ESX/ESXi host updates. You force Update Manager to download updates and the task completes surprisingly fast for the amount of ESX/ESXi content expected to be downloaded:

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A problem is discovered in that Update Manager has downloaded metadata for guest OS updates (Windows, Linux, applications, etc.), but no ESX/ESXi update information is downloaded. The baselines are verified as OK, internet connectivity and proxy configuration checks out OK. What is the problem?

Cause: There are no ESX/ESXi hosts in vCenter Server. Per VMware KB 1008308, ESX/ESXi hosts must be present in vCenter Server before Update Manager will download the update metadata and the updates themselves.

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This is one of those embarrassing forehead slapper type problems, however, Windows administrators who are used to working with and relying on the predicable behavior of WSUS are likely to encounter this at some point in time and are exempt from chastising. Swallow your pride and don’t tell anyone. 🙂

VMware is entitled to their opinion on how their software should function but to me this is a UI/usability issue that doesn’t make a lot of sense. What adds to the confusion is the inconsistent behavior in that in the absence of both hosts and guests in vCenter Server, guest OS update information appears in Update Manager but host update information does not. Yes I’m aware that host updates come from VMware and guest updates come from Shavlik.  No that’s not an acceptable excuse.

While we’re on the subject, there are a handful of other reasons why Update Manager may malfunction. Take a look at VMware’s KB index and use your browser search to find all instances of “Update Manager”. There you’ll find all known solutions to Update Manager issues as well as some best practices and port requirements.


No comments

  1. Chris says:

    Yes, that one got me too a little while back! Fortunately, it didn’t take too long to guess what was causing the issue.