I have a stand-alone installation of VMWare vSphere Essentials, with a vCenter Server and 3 ESXi 4.0 host servers. The environment is intended to remain as a stand-alone network, with the exception that I can "float" a workstation or server between the 'Net and the VMWare network for patches and maintenance.
With other installations, where the Internet is available, I've used the vSphere Host Update utility to connect to VMWare and then apply the patches to the ESXi hosts.
My problem is that this utility does not seem to function if it cannot connect to both VMWare and the ESXi host at the same time, as the scan for patches function will not scan the server without connecting to VMWare's site to sync its repository first. Even if I sync it, disconnect from the 'Net and connect to the VMWare network, it still won't scan hosts for required patches -- it will prompt for syncing with VMWare and if you click No to syncing, the scan does not occur.
Does anyone know of other options for updating the ESXi hosts in some automated fashion? I believe I can manually pull down required patches and apply them, but this will not scale well, and in the future I'm sure I'll want something a bit more scalable.