VMware Update Manager Download Service to download them all…

Written by Pawel Lakomski on Listopad 1st, 2013

Many times vCenter Server and Update Manager reside on the same server and for security reasons there is no access to internet from this machine. So what do you do to patch your ESXi hosts? You can download bundles from an other server and import them into Update Manager. You can try patching the hosts manually, without UM. Or you could try VMware Download Manager. This tool is little known but can save you a lot of trouble by downloading patches and creating a store Update Manager can use on a another server with access to the internet.

As vSphere 5.1 documentation says „VMware vSphere Update Manager Download Service (UMDS) is an optional module of Update Manager. UMDS downloads upgrades for virtual appliances, patch metadata, patch binaries, and notifications that would not otherwise be available to the Update Manager server.” So this is exactly what we need. First things first though so let’s have a look on Download Manager’s requirements:

  • it cannot share the same machine with Update Manager (otherwise, why would you need Download Manager in the first place?);
  • previous versions of UMDS must be uninstalled before you try to install it from vSphere 5.1 installation media;
  • server to install UMDS must be x64;
  • and last but not least – access to the internet on the server you intend to install DM to.

Ok, let’s start the installtion from vSphere 5.1 installation media \umds folder. It is pretty straight-forward. Go through the welcome screen, license agreement, etc.  If you don’t have MS SQL server it can install MS SQL 2008 R2 Express edition for you. If you do, you will need to create 32-bit ODBC as UMDS is 32-bit applications. You will be able to configure proxy as well. Now when the installation has finished, let’s have a look on the tool. First mind that it is purely CLI-based tool so there is no GUI. Secondly, there is only one binary to run and that is (by default located in Program Files x86\Vmware\Infrastructure\Update Manager):


Run it and you will see all possible switches. -D will start download:

vmware-umds.exe -D

but wait a minute. First, let’s configure what should be downloaded. To list supported platforms use:

vmware-umds.exe --list-host-platforms

and the outcome will be something similar to:

[2013-10-29 00:40:59:876 '' 2244 ALERT]  [logUtil, 265] Product = VMware Update
Manager, Version = 5.1.0, Build = 1022478
Supported ESX Host platforms:

To enable download for ESX 4.1 insert:

vmware-umds.exe -S -e esx4.0.0

Make sure that the configuration is ok:

vmware-umds.exe -G

To download the updates for host / VA versions you enabled:

vmware-umds.exe -D

And finaly to configure the store that will be used by Update Manager and export downloads to it:

vmware-umds.exe -E --export-store <path_to_the_store>

Simple as that. Now configure Update Manager to use that store and voila!. There is another tool that comes with UMDS and it is VMwareupdateManagerUtility.exe located in the same folder. It will allow you to change proxy and database settings later on if necessary.


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