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How to Cleanly Uninstall the Nimble Connection Manager Before an ESXi Upgrade

If you’re using HPE Nimble storage arrays to back your VMware environment, there’s something that you should know. Lets start from the top. As of this writing, the Nimble Connection Manager (NCM) for ESXi comes in three different flavors. There’s a version available for use with ESXi 5.X, one available for use with ESXi 6.0, and one available for use with ESXi 6.5. Add the appropriate download source to VMware Update Manager (VUM), then create and attach a baseline for Nimble Connection Manager to your hosts. Doing so will ensure that Nimble Connection Manager is installed or updated during your normal VMware Update Manager update cycle which will keep Nimble Connection Manager updated across your infrastructure. For those that need them, here are the source URLs:

Nimble Connection Manager Download Sources for VMware Update Manager
ESX VersionDownload Source
ESXi 5.x
ESXi 6.0
ESXi 6.5

I recently upgraded my entire VMware environment from vSphere 5.5 to 6.5. Because I had Nimble Connection Manager installed on the hosts, and the version installed was compatible with ESXi 5.X, I had to do a few things before I could upgrade the hosts. If you leave the older version of Nimble Connection Manager installed, after you upgrade your host and it reboots into the new hypervisor, it will halt at Loading module nimble_psp_directed. If that happens to you, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Reboot the affected ESXi host.
  2. When the hypervisor progress bar starts loading, press SHIFT+R on the keyboard to enter Recovery Mode.
  3. Press Y on the keyboard to revert to the previously installed version of ESXi.

For detailed information on reverting to a previous version of ESXi, see VMWare KB-1033604.

Here’s how to cleanly uninstall Nimble Connection Manager via ESXCLI:

  1. Place the affected host in Maintenance Mode.
  2. Connect to the hot via ESXCLI.
  3. Run the following commands to remove Nimble Connection Manager:

    /etc/init.d/sfcbd-watchdog stop
    esxcli software vib remove -n nimble-ncs --maintenance-mode
    esxcli software vib remove -n nimble-psp --maintenance-mode
  4. Reboot the ESXi host.

That’s it! You’re ready to update your host and reinstall the Nimble Connection Manager.

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Scott Forehand

Scott Forehand is an accomplished systems architect, engineer, and administrator with over a decade of experience designing and managing virtual environments, networks, storage and server infrastructures and operations with a proven ability to create and automate solutions to improve productivity, reliability and performance. He has achieved multiple certifications in virtualization, networking, cloud, storage and other technologies, and is honored to be a VMware vExpert in 2018.