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The VMware Update Manager Download Service (UMDS) has been around for some time, but as I speak with customers most have not been familiar with it. Within this post I will cover a few topics such as why and how to utilize the UMDS in your environment.

 

What is the Update Manager Download Service (UMDS)

The Update Manager Download Service 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.

UMDS 6.7 supports patch recalls and notifications. A patch is recalled if the released patch has problems or potential issues. After you download patch data and notifications with UMDS, and export the downloads so that they become available to the Update Manager server, Update Manager deletes the recalled patches and displays the notifications on the Update Manager Notifications tab.

With Update Manager release 6.7, the UMDS is available for installation on Windows and Linux-based operating systems. The machine on which you install UMDS must have Internet access.

 

Why use the UMDS

The Update Manager Download Service has a variety of purposes, however I will highlight two of the common scenarios. While Update Manager is now included in the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA), not all environments may have internet access to download patches from the internet. In this example you can utilize the UMDS as a download server and remotely connect to it to download patches. Another example would be where you have a large environment and wish to consolidate your Update Manager repository–instead of having 15 vCenter Servers individually downloading patches, you can utilize one UMDS server and have all 15 vCenter Servers pointing to a centralized repository.

 

What’s new in UMDS

In vSphere 6.7 Update 1 VMware dropped database requirement for Update Manager Download Service. Installing and setting up a database is no longer a requirement for using UMDS and the installation procedure has been greatly simplified.

 

Installation of UMDS

The installation of the Update Manager Download Service is quite simple, our documentation goes into great detail about installing UMDS on Windows and on Linux. When planning the installation there are a few requirements to consider.

  • Connectivity Requirements
    • UMDS requires connection to the internet to download patches.
  • Operating System Requirements
    • When installing UMDS on Windows Server we support the same host operating systems as VMware vCenter Server. You can find the list of supported operating systems here at KB2091273
    • When installing UMDS on Linux we support a limited number of Linux-based operating systems such as Ubuntu and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, you can find supported versions within the documentation.
  • Installation Requirements
    • On Windows, Update Manager requires Microsoft .NET framework 4.7.
  • Compatibility Requirements
    • UMDS must be of the same version as the Update Manager server.
      • For example, Update Manager 6.7 is compatible and can work only with UMDS 6.7. If you are using Update Manager server of 6.7 Update release version, UMDS must be of the same 6.7 Update release version.

By default on Linux we do not automatically create a PATH variable to the vmware-umds service. To be able to natively run the vmware-umds command you can run the below command updating the path to your own installation directory if modified.
PATH=”$PATH”:/usr/local/vmware-umds/bin

 

Configuration of UMDS

Quite a bit of configuration can be done with Update Manager Download Service. However, I will highlight some of the common configuration changes you wish to make.

To view the current UMDS configuration you can run:

We can see the currently configured depot urls, the path store location, the export store location, the proxy server and which host content to download. By default we will download all supported paths for your Update Manager version.

In my example environment I only have ESXi 6.7 so I will disable all previous versions. We can do this by running the following command:

Another configuration change we may want to make is adding in additional repositories. In this example we will add Dell’s public repository using the following command:

Once our repository is properly setup, we can now force a download of patches to our UMDS repository by using the command:

To get a full list of configuration changes you can run the following command

Next Steps

Now that you have your Update Manager Download Service server configured for your environment, you can setup your existing VMware Update Manager Server to use the UMDS. Two of the options are to either use a web server to host the content or to copy the media to an external hard drive to transfer to an air-gapped environment.

If choosing to use the web server option you can install your Web Server of choice and point to your configured path store location. For Windows the default location is C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware Update Manager\Data\ and on Linux the default location is /var/lib/vmware-umds

 

Conclusion

Using the Update Manager Download Service is perfect for air-gapped environments where your vCenter Server may not have internet access or you want to consolidate all of your Update Manager patches to a single location. Hopefully this post has covered some of the benefits and enhancements of using the Update Manager Download Service.

Any questions or feedback, leave a comment!

About the Author

David Stamen

David Stamen is a Technical Marketing Engineer and VCIX6.5-DCV working for VMware in the Cloud Platform Business unit. In his role, he covers vSphere Lifecycle. This includes the Installation, Patching, Upgrading and Configuration of vCenter Server and ESXi components. David can be found blogging at http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere http://davidstamen.com and on twitter via @davidstamen.