Downgrading the ESXi version to a different build

During one of the recent upgrades in my VCF environment i accidentally upgraded the ESXi 7.x build number to a later build that was not in the validated design which caused all kinds of issues and errors in my sddc manager. In order to address this i wanted to see i could actually downgrade the packages to a lower build number. It goes without saying that this procedure should not be done in a production environment and you should contact VMware customer support for an supported downgrade method. We will be working in the ESXi cli on this guide

The following command brings all of the version currently available in the depot

esxcli software sources profile list -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml

I was specifically looking for build 18426014 so i leveraged grep to get the proper version

esxcli software sources profile list -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml | grep 18426014

The command above returned 2 versions for me. One with VMware tools and one without

ESXi-7.0U2c-18426014-standard     VMware, Inc.  PartnerSupported  2021-08-24T00:00:00  2021-08-24T00:00:00
ESXi-7.0U2c-18426014-no-tools VMware, Inc. PartnerSupported 2021-08-24T00:00:00 2021-08-04T11:40:25

We are specifically interested in the first part of each line

ESXi-7.0U2c-18426014-standard and ESXi-7.0U2c-18426014-no-tools

First i tried to install it using

esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-7.0U2c-18426014-standard -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml

However that only works if were actually upgrading to a later build. In order to downgrade i found an option –allow-downgrades that allows us to install a lower build. In the end i ended up with

esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-7.0U2c-18426014-standard -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml --allow-downgrades

This actually installed the lower versions of the packages associated with that build number and removed the later packages. The output in my case was

Update Result
   Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.
   Reboot Required: true
   VIBs Installed: VMware_bootbank_clusterstore_7.0.2-0.20.18426014, VMware_bootbank_cpu-microcode_7.0.2-0.20.18426014, VMware_bootbank_crx_7.0.2-0.20.18426014, VMware_bootbank_esx-base_7.0.2-0.20.18426014, VMware_bootbank_esx-dvfilter-generic-fastpath_7.0.2-0.20.18426014, VMware_bootbank_esx-update_7.0.2-0.20.18426014, VMware_bootbank_esx-xserver_7.0.2-0.20.18426014, VMware_bootbank_gc_7.0.2-0.20.18426014, VMware_bootbank_loadesx_7.0.2-0.20.18426014, VMware_bootbank_native-misc-drivers_7.0.2-0.20.18426014, VMware_bootbank_vdfs_7.0.2-0.20.18426014, VMware_bootbank_vsan_7.0.2-0.20.18426014, VMware_bootbank_vsanhealth_7.0.2-0.20.18426014
   VIBs Removed: VMware_bootbank_clusterstore_7.0.2-0.25.18538813, VMware_bootbank_cpu-microcode_7.0.2-0.25.18538813, VMware_bootbank_crx_7.0.2-0.25.18538813, VMware_bootbank_esx-base_7.0.2-0.25.18538813, VMware_bootbank_esx-dvfilter-generic-fastpath_7.0.2-0.25.18538813, VMware_bootbank_esx-update_7.0.2-0.25.18538813, VMware_bootbank_esx-xserver_7.0.2-0.25.18538813, VMware_bootbank_gc_7.0.2-0.25.18538813, VMware_bootbank_loadesx_7.0.2-0.25.18538813, VMware_bootbank_native-misc-drivers_7.0.2-0.25.18538813, VMware_bootbank_vdfs_7.0.2-0.25.18538813, VMware_bootbank_vsan_7.0.2-0.25.18538813, VMware_bootbank_vsanhealth_7.0.2-0.25.18538813
   VIBs Skipped: VMW_bootbank_atlantic_1.0.3.0-8vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_bnxtnet_216.0.50.0-34vmw.702.0.20.18426014, VMW_bootbank_bnxtroce_216.0.58.0-20vmw.702.0.20.18426014, VMW_bootbank_brcmfcoe_12.0.1500.1-2vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_brcmnvmefc_12.8.298.1-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_elxiscsi_12.0.1200.0-8vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_elxnet_12.0.1250.0-5vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_i40enu_1.8.1.137-1vmw.702.0.20.18426014, VMW_bootbank_iavmd_2.0.0.1152-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_icen_1.0.0.10-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_igbn_1.4.11.2-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_irdman_1.3.1.19-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_iser_1.1.0.1-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_ixgben_1.7.1.35-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_lpfc_12.8.298.3-2vmw.702.0.20.18426014, VMW_bootbank_lpnic_11.4.62.0-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_lsi-mr3_7.716.03.00-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_lsi-msgpt2_20.00.06.00-3vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_lsi-msgpt35_17.00.02.00-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_lsi-msgpt3_17.00.10.00-2vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_mtip32xx-native_3.9.8-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_ne1000_0.8.4-11vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_nenic_1.0.33.0-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_nfnic_4.0.0.63-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_nhpsa_70.0051.0.100-2vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_nmlx4-core_3.19.16.8-2vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_nmlx4-en_3.19.16.8-2vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_nmlx4-rdma_3.19.16.8-2vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_nmlx5-core_4.19.16.10-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_nmlx5-rdma_4.19.16.10-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_ntg3_4.1.5.0-0vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_nvme-pcie_1.2.3.11-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_nvmerdma_1.0.2.1-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_nvmxnet3-ens_2.0.0.22-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_nvmxnet3_2.0.0.30-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_pvscsi_0.1-2vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_qcnic_1.0.15.0-11vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_qedentv_3.40.5.53-20vmw.702.0.20.18426014, VMW_bootbank_qedrntv_3.40.5.53-17vmw.702.0.20.18426014, VMW_bootbank_qfle3_1.0.67.0-14vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_qfle3f_1.0.51.0-19vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_qfle3i_1.0.15.0-12vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_qflge_1.1.0.11-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_rste_2.0.2.0088-7vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_sfvmk_2.4.0.2010-4vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_smartpqi_70.4000.0.100-6vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_vmkata_0.1-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_vmkfcoe_1.0.0.2-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMW_bootbank_vmkusb_0.1-4vmw.702.0.20.18426014, VMW_bootbank_vmw-ahci_2.0.9-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMware_bootbank_elx-esx-libelxima.so_12.0.1200.0-4vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMware_bootbank_esx-ui_1.34.8-17417756, VMware_bootbank_lsuv2-hpv2-hpsa-plugin_1.0.0-3vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMware_bootbank_lsuv2-intelv2-nvme-vmd-plugin_2.0.0-2vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMware_bootbank_lsuv2-lsiv2-drivers-plugin_1.0.0-5vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMware_bootbank_lsuv2-nvme-pcie-plugin_1.0.0-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMware_bootbank_lsuv2-oem-dell-plugin_1.0.0-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMware_bootbank_lsuv2-oem-hp-plugin_1.0.0-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMware_bootbank_lsuv2-oem-lenovo-plugin_1.0.0-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMware_bootbank_lsuv2-smartpqiv2-plugin_1.0.0-6vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMware_bootbank_qlnativefc_4.1.14.0-5vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMware_bootbank_vmware-esx-esxcli-nvme-plugin_1.2.0.42-1vmw.702.0.0.17867351, VMware_locker_tools-light_11.2.6.17901274-18295176

And with that all i had to do was reboot the server and it came back at the version i needed.

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