VMware ESXi Update on IBM Servers fail

I ran into an error the other day, when updating an IBM based vSphere 6.0 environment using Update Manager, and I want to share my solution with you and myself, so I do not need to find it the next time I run into it.

ERROR: The host returns esxupdate error code:15. The package manager transactions is not successful. Check the update Manager log files and esxupdate.log files for more details.

If you dig deeper you will find the following error esxupdate.log file on the ESXi host:

2017-01-09T10:38:29Z esxupdate: BootBankInstaller.pyc: ERROR: The pending transaction requires 239 MB free space, however the maximum supported size is 239 MB.
2017-01-09T10:38:29Z esxupdate: esxupdate: ERROR: An esxupdate error exception was caught:
2017-01-09T10:38:29Z esxupdate: esxupdate: ERROR: Traceback (most recent call last):
2017-01-09T10:38:29Z esxupdate: esxupdate: ERROR: File "/usr/sbin/esxupdate", line 238, in main
2017-01-09T10:38:29Z esxupdate: esxupdate: ERROR: cmd.Run()
2017-01-09T10:38:29Z esxupdate: esxupdate: ERROR: File "/build/mts/release/bora-3825889/bora/build/esx/release/vmvisor/sys-boot/lib/python2.7/site-packages/vmware/esx5update/Cmdline.py", line 148, in Run
2017-01-09T10:38:29Z esxupdate: esxupdate: ERROR: File "/build/mts/release/bora-3825889/bora/build/esx/release/vmvisor/sys-boot/lib/python2.7/site-packages/vmware/esximage/Transaction.py", line 250, in InstallVibsFromSources
2017-01-09T10:38:29Z esxupdate: esxupdate: ERROR: File "/build/mts/release/bora-3825889/bora/build/esx/release/vmvisor/sys-boot/lib/python2.7/site-packages/vmware/esximage/Transaction.py", line 356, in _installVibs
2017-01-09T10:38:29Z esxupdate: esxupdate: ERROR: File "/build/mts/release/bora-3825889/bora/build/esx/release/vmvisor/sys-boot/lib/python2.7/site-packages/vmware/esximage/Transaction.py", line 399, in _validateAndInstallProfile
2017-01-09T10:38:29Z esxupdate: esxupdate: ERROR: File "/build/mts/release/bora-3825889/bora/build/esx/release/vmvisor/sys-boot/lib/python2.7/site-packages/vmware/esximage/HostImage.py", line 600, in Stage
2017-01-09T10:38:29Z esxupdate: esxupdate: ERROR: File "/build/mts/release/bora-3825889/bora/build/esx/release/vmvisor/sys-boot/lib/python2.7/site-packages/vmware/esximage/Installer/BootBankInstaller.py", line 718, in PreInstCheck
2017-01-09T10:38:29Z esxupdate: esxupdate: ERROR: File "/build/mts/release/bora-3825889/bora/build/esx/release/vmvisor/sys-boot/lib/python2.7/site-packages/vmware/esximage/Installer/BootBankInstaller.py", line 693, in CheckInstall
2017-01-09T10:38:29Z esxupdate: esxupdate: ERROR: InstallationError: ('', 'The pending transaction requires 239 MB free space, however the maximum supported size is 239 MB.')

The error is mentioned in VMware kb 2144200. It turns out that IBM has stuffed a little to much into the ESXi image. If you have ever bought a IBM Laptop, you will recognize this pattern.

https://kb.vmware.com/kb/2144200

To workaround this issue you need to remove some vibs from the host that is not neded, but there is no recommendation to what can be removed.

Find an unused Vib by issuing command: esxcli software vib list

The process is:

  • Put host in maintenance mode, evacuating all VMs
  • Remove the vib
  • Update host using Update Manager
  • Reboot host (Done automatically by update manager)

I did not need the melanox driver on my hosts, so I removed the mlnxprovider vib by issuing the command:

esxcli software vib remove -n mlnxprovider

You have to execute the command on the ESXi host, så you need to do it from the console, or enabling SSH, and doing it that way.

 

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