How to update or patch vCenter 6 Appliance (VCSA) ?

By | January 9, 2017

It's almost 2 months after release of vSphere 6 and the first vCenter 6 patching needed to be done in my lab πŸ™‚ As I described in my post here, I prefer (and recommend πŸ™‚ to install vCenter Appliance because currently VCSA 6.x offers the same functionality as vCenter installed on Windows machine. One of the most useful feature of VCSA 5.x is updating directly from internet. Unfortunately, patching/updating of vCenter 6 appliance is a little bit different but still easy - update: since VCSA 6.0 U1 again you can use VAMI to patch vCenter Appliance as well!

To update/patch your vCenter 6.x Appliance, please follow the below steps:

  1. Download VCSA patch from here.

    How to update or patch vCenter 6 Appliance (VCSA)

    Product Patches - VMware site.

  2. Take a snapshot of VCSA.
  3. Connect downloaded ISO file to the VCSA VM.
  4. Log in to the VCSA via SSH.
  5. Run the following command.

    Command> software-packages install --iso --acceptEulas

  6. Accept EULA and wait till patching/updating will be finished:

    [2015-04-28T15:15:12.118] : Staging software update packages from ISO
    [2015-04-28T15:15:13.118] : ISO mounted successfully
    [2015-04-28 15:15:13,198] : Running pre-stage script.....
    [2015-04-28T15:15:14.118] : Verifying staging area
    [2015-04-28T15:15:14.118] : Validating software update payload
    [2015-04-28T15:15:14.118] : Validation successful
    [2015-04-28 15:15:51,055] : Processing software packages in update payload 36/36
    [2015-04-28T15:16:18.118] : ISO unmounted successfully
    [2015-04-28T15:16:18.118] : (34) packages staged successfully
    [2015-04-28 15:16:18,694] : Running test transaction ....
    [2015-04-28 15:16:24,707] : Running pre-install script.....
    [2015-04-28T15:18:23.118] : Services stopped.
    [2015-04-28 15:18:23,082] : Upgrading software packages ....
    [2015-04-28 15:21:04,355] : Running post-install script.....
    [2015-04-28T15:21:05.118] : Packages upgraded successfully, Reboot is required to complete the installation.

  7. Reboot VCSA by running:

    shutdown reboot -r updating

  8. vCenter Appliance build should be changed
How to update or patch vCenter 6 Appliance (VCSA) - new build

New VCSA build version.

As I have shown above, patching/updating of VCSA 6.x is different than vCenter Appliance 5.x but still not complicated πŸ™‚ If your patching is successful, you can delete the snapshot of VCSA πŸ™‚

Update 10th September: Since VCSA 6.0 U1 you can again update your vCenter Appliance via GUI! So you need to patch your VCSA 6.0 to 6.0U1 using above steps πŸ™‚ and the next time you can use GUI! (VAMI)VCSA 6.0 U1 - VAMI

Note: If you have vCenter with external PSC, please follow above steps at first on PSC and then on VCSA.


I had a problem with VAMI after patching my VCSA 6.0. For more information please follow the post here. Interesting logs:




Update 29th January: If you update at least VCSA 6.0 U1 using VAMI (patching directly from internet or using local repository), the update may hang at 70%. If you face this problem, you need to check the update log /var/log/vmware/applmgmt/software-packages.log on VCSA (using SSH) and find a line similar: "UpdateTask: status=completed, percent=100". It means the update is completed and you can reboot the VCSA.

Author: Mariusz

Architect (~ 15 years experience based on passion...) with strong background as a System Administrator and Engineer. Focused on Data Center Solutions: Virtualization/Cloud Computing and Storage/Backup Systems. Currently living in Poland.

27 thoughts on “How to update or patch vCenter 6 Appliance (VCSA) ?

  1. vincent

    Command> software-packages install –iso
    usage: software-packages [-h] {stage,unstage,install,list} ...
    software-packages: error: unrecognized arguments: –iso

    need to use --iso instead of -iso.

      1. Mariusz Post author

        Thanks Vincent.

        of course, double dash (wordpress corrected it automatically), thanks for vigilance! Fortunately I found out how to disable this!

  2. Pits

    When i mount: VMware-VCSA-all-6.0.0-2656757.iso

    Command> software-packages install --iso
    Staging software update packages from ISO
    ISO unmounted successfully
    CD drives do not have valid patch iso.
    Installation process failed

    1. Mariusz Post author

      This is not a valid patch iso. Looks like you mount VCSA installer... You should download a correct patch iso πŸ™‚ For example: VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance-

  3. Mick Russom

    VMware is a joke.

    Everyone else is like
    apt-get update, apt-get dist-upgrade
    yum makecache , yum upgrade

    This patching system is crap. it really is. ISOs with one package file?

    JOKE. Vmware going backwards.

    1. Mariusz Post author

      I don't know why VMware changed patching style in VCSA 6.0. For example, patching vCenter Appliance 5.5 is easy and intuitive.

  4. vincent

    Tried the same procedure with VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance-
    No error seen anywhere, but after reboot I am still running 6.0.0 2776510..

    ssh session shows

    [2015-08-12 04:46:57,870] : Running test transaction ....
    [2015-08-12 04:46:58,874] : Upgrading software packages ....
    [2015-08-12T04:46:59.224] : Packages upgraded successfully, Reboot is required to complete the installation.
    [2015-08-12T04:46:59.224] : ISO unmounted successfully
    Command> shutdown reboot -r updating

    Anyone has the same issue? what log could I check to understand what is going on?


    1. Mariusz Post author

      Hi Vincent,

      Looks ok. 2800573 is an installer build number. The vCenter build is 2776510. When do you open VM console of vCenter Appliance, can you see 5120 version as shown on the figure?

      Always you can confirm build numbers here.

      1. vincent

        Thanks Mariusz , very handy link.

        The table shows:
        Version Release Date Build Number Installer Build Number
        vCenter Server 6.0.0b 2015-07-07 2776511 2800571

        My vCenter displays 6.0.0, 2776510, and does show 5120 in the console indeed.
        So I suppose it s up to date.. even so the build number is off by 1.

        1. Mariusz Post author


          there is also information about vCenter Appliance. You need just to scroll down a little bit... vCenter Appliance build number is -1 than vCenter Windows πŸ™‚

  5. Vidanez

    I would modify step 3 from:
    Connect downloaded ISO file to the VCSA VM.
    Connect downloaded ISO file to the VCSA VM using the ESXi where the vm is living.
    Because that would save a few headaches


  6. vincent

    It's asking for nobody's password. I don't remember to set up this during initial installation.
    Do you know what is this? Thank you in advance

    1. Mat

      Seems you are logged on with a VMware SSO account. You need to log on with the VCSA root account.

  7. arjan

    I'm trying to update vcsa 6, but it won't start.
    screen output:

    Command> software-packages stage --iso
    [2016-02-14T20:46:47.045] : Packages already staged.
    [2016-02-14T20:46:47.045] : Run software-packages list OR software-packages install to continue
    [2016-02-14T20:46:47.045] : Run software-packages unstage to delete old staged packages
    Command> software-packages unstage
    [2016-02-14T20:46:57.045] : Unstage operation completed successfully
    Command> software-packages stage --iso
    [2016-02-14T20:47:01.045] : Staging software update packages from ISO
    [2016-02-14T20:47:01.045] : ISO mounted successfully
    [2016-02-14 20:47:01,364] : Running pre-stage script.....
    [2016-02-14T20:47:02.045] : Verifying staging area
    [2016-02-14T20:47:02.045] : Validating software update payload
    [2016-02-14T20:47:02.045] : Validation successful

    Command> software-packages list --staged
    [2016-02-14T20:48:39.045] :
    category: security
    vendor: VMware, Inc.
    name: VC-6.0.0a-Appliance-FP
    tags: [u'']
    productname: VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance
    releasedate: April 9, 2015
    buildnumber: 2656759
    rebootrequired: True
    summary: Patch for VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.0
    severity: critical

    Command> software-packages install --staged
    [2016-02-14 20:49:06,957] : Running test transaction ....
    [2016-02-14T20:49:07.045] : Installation process failed

    anyone any idea?

    1. Davide

      Have you checked if VCSA file system has not full mounted point device. In my experience we have the same issue because "/storage/log" has no free space.
      After cleaning from al *.log files update was succesfully

      i.e you can do this form shell on the VCSA
      find -type f -name '*.log' -exec rm {} +

      to remove all .log files recursively.


  8. Patrick

    Not able to find the "update" button upgrade with this manual to
    any idea?

  9. Anthony

    Thanks - worked a treat - downloaded the iso.

    Mounted it - connected via ssh and run the commands , all up to date now.

  10. _nd348057

    Thank you, this was very useful -- i thought vcsa auto updated, but mine obviously did not.


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