How do you upgrade vSphere hosts?

How do you prefer to upgrade your vSphere hosts? I’ve talked about this before, but the question was recently posed to me again, so I thought I’d see if perceptions had changed at all.
vSphere systems need to be upgraded from time to time. Obviously, there are a lot of ways to do this.

  • Use VMware’s included host upgrade tools and upgrade to the latest version when ready.
  • Place the host to be upgraded into maintenance mode to evacuate the VMs and then simply remove the host from the pool and install the new version of vSphere from scratch and then rejoin the host to the cluster.  The reasoning by the people choosing this option: I always have a clean environment and never (rarely) run into possible upgrade hassles.  Personally, I fall into this camp as well.

What are your thoughts?  Are there reasons that the second method is just plain stupid or is this a case of “to each his own?” Why do you use the method that you use for vSphere host upgrades>

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