How to Add a 3rd Party driver to a baseline in Update Manager
Working with the Nutanix clusters, I had an opportunity to upgrade them to vSphere 5 via Update Manager. The process of upgrading an ESX host with Update Manager is pretty straight forward with the exception of 3rd party drivers. For Nutanix, they use a Mellanox 10GB card that is not part of the base ESXi build. This requires us to create an extension driver to support the additional 10GB card with ESXi 5.
The first part of this process is to import the OFFLINE BUNDLE ZIP that contains the VIB file and metadata for the driver. This can usually be downloaded from VMware or the 3rd party vendor. (Here is a link to the Mellanox driver.)
After successfully importing the driver, vCenter will connect and download any required bulletins or notifications associated with the driver.
Next, you will need to create an update baseline. From Update Manager, choose Create New Baseline …
I had previously created a v5.0 upgrade baseline for ESX5. You can create one by downloading the ESXi ISO from VMware and uploading it into VMware Update Manager.
Next, you will be prompted to create the Extension Base.
You should see the new driver just imported in the list. Move it into the extension to add box to create the Baseline Extension.
Once created, you will be returned to the New Baseline Wizard.
You now have an ESXi 5 baseline with a host extension that you can point at your ESX 4.1 servers to upgrade. In this case, I attached it at the Nutanix Cluster level and upgraded all 4 nodes successfully via VMware’s Update Manager.