Upgrading vSphere 6.0 U2 to vSphere 6.5d – Part 2

Continuing on from Part 1, where I upgraded the external PSC appliances, Part 2 of this post will now continue the upgrade sequence and upgrade the vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 to the 6.5d release. As previously with the PSC appliance upgrade, the vCSA 6.5 upgrade follows the same two stage approach. The first stage is to deploy a new appliance and the second stage is to copy the data from the 6.0 appliance to the new 6.5 appliance.

Stage 1 – Deploy the new vCenter Server Appliance

In stage 1, I will deploy the OVA file of the vCenter 6.5 appliance. Mount the ISO and navigate to the \vcsa-ui-installer\ directory and then to the required subdirectory for your OS:

  • For Windows OS, go to the win32 subdirectory, and run the installer.exe
  • For Linux OS, go to the lin64 subdirectory, and run the installer
  • For Mac OS, go to the mac subdirectory, and run the Installer.app

Ensure you have a full backup or snapshots of all the required machine before commencing.

I’m running my upgrade from a Windows machine so I will run \vcsa-ui-installer\ win32\installer.exe

1.5.1

Select Upgrade from the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer

1.5.2

The introduction provides an overview of the stages required to complete the upgrade. Click Next.

1.5.3

Accept the End User License Agreement and click Next

1.5.4

Enter the FQDN of the existing vCenter Server Appliance, this is the first vCSA 6.0 I installed, along with the required credentials. Then enter the ESXi host for the source vCSA. Click Next

1.5.5

Click Yes on the Certificate Warning to continue.

1.5.6

Enter the ESXi host FQDN where you would like the new vCSA 6.5 appliance deployed. Click Next

1.5.7

Click Yes on the Certificate Warning to continue.

1.5.8

Enter the name for the vCSA appliance VM and set a root password. Click Next.

1.5.9

Select the deployment size you would like for your environment. For my home lab, I selected Tiny

1.5.10

Select a datastore for the vCSA and if you would like to enable Thin Disk Mode. Click Next.

1.5.11

Now select a network with ephemeral port binding, this is temporary and the new vCSA appliance can be moved to another network after the upgrade has completed.

Enter the temporary network identity in the required fields. It’s worth noting at this point that the temporary names and IP addresses used during the upgrade all need to be resolvable by DNS. Once the upgrade has completed, the appliance frees the temporary IP address and assumes the network settings of the source 6.0 appliance.

1.5.12

Review the summary on the Ready to complete stage 1 page, verify the settings and then click Finish

1.5.13

Once the deployment has completed, click Continue to progress to Stage 2. If you close, you can continue with Stage 2 by navigating to the VAMI of the newly deployed vCenter Server appliance, https://vma01tmp.testlab.com:5480

1.5.14

Stage 2 – Copy Data from source vCenter Server Appliance to the vCSA 6.5 appliance

After completing stage 1, you will be taken to stage 2 and the introduction page. Click Next.

1.5.15

Confirm the source vCenter Server and ESXi host information. This will be pre-populated from Stage 1 unless you closed the Upgrade after Stage 1. If so, you we need to re-enter the information. Click Next

1.5.16

A pre-upgrade check will run and display it’s results. The check highlighted an internal error during the vSphere ESX Agent Manager upgrade checks. I managed to find a resolution to this error in the VMware communities

https://communities.vmware.com/thread/557876

1.5.17

Navigate to the source vCSA Managed Object Browser, https://vmatestlab01.testlab.com/mob – you will need to authentication with SSO administrator credentials.

Click content

1.5.18

Click ExtensionManager

1.5.19

Click UnregisterExtension and a new window will appear for the UnregisterExtension

1.5.20

Enter com.vmware.vim.eam in the value field and click Invoke Method

1.5.21

This unregisters the plug-in and results in void  

1.5.22

Refresh the Managed Object Browser and verify the plug-in has been unregistered

1.5.23

Stop the vmware-eam service on the source vCSA appliance by running service-control –stop vmware-eam from the shell

Once the vmware-eam service is stopped, you can continue. Click Next

1.5.24

It’s likely you will be required to enter your password again due to the session expiring. Enter your password and click Log in

1.5.25

The pre-upgrade check will run again and display it’s results. This time, the check only highlighted that DRS should not be set to Fully Automated on the cluster where the ESXi host resides during the upgrade process. As in part 1, I configured the DRS Automation Level to manual.

1.5.26

You now need to select the data you would like to migrate form the course vCSA 6.0 appliance, I decided to take all of the data. Select the option for your environment and click Next

1.5.27

Review the summary information on the Ready to complete page, check I have backed up the source vCenter Server and all the required data from the database and click Finish

1.5.28

At this point, the installer will display a notice stating the source vCSA appliance will be shutdown once the network configuration has been enabled on the new vCSA 6.5 appliance. This is a useful option as the source vCSA configuration and data is left intact for easier rollback, if required. Click OK

1.5.29

If all goes well, the data should be copied and the source vCSA shutdown. The new vCSA 6.5 should be powered on and accessible with your source network identity. At this point I renamed the VMs in vCenter for convenience.

1.5.30

You now need to upgrade all vCSAs in your SSO domain before proceeding to upgrade the ESXi hosts. I will finish this blog series in Part 3 when I complete the upgrade of my ESXi hosts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ESXi Preferred Domain Controllers

I was at a customer site recently where they had issues with ESXi hosts reverting to local authentication after joining an Active Directory domain. On further investigation, it transpired that the ESXi hosts can only communicate with some of the AD domain controllers as the majority are behind firewalls. As far as I’m aware, ESXi hosts are not AD site aware so when a query is made to the AD integrated DNS, any of the domain DCs could be returned, including those not accessible behind firewalls.

I was not provided with any further details on the ESXi hosts reverting to local authentication but this appeared to be a good use case for setting preferred domain controllers the ESXi host advanced settings. You can configure UserVars.ActiveDirectoryPreferredDomainControllers with preferred domain controllers, separated by comma, for the ESXi host to use for AD communication.

To specify the preferred domain controller(s):

  1. Select ESXi Server > Configuration > Advanced Settings > UserVars.ActiveDirectoryPreferredDomainControllers
  2. Enter the IP address or FQDN of the preferred domain controller ( I opted for IP Address as the domain controller is also the DNS server)
  3. Click OK to apply the changes

1.4.1

I recommend configuring values for more than one domain controller to avoid a single point of failure. If all the domain controllers are not contactable, the AD user authentication will fail.

Upgrading vSphere 6.0 U2 to vSphere 6.5d – Part 1

With vSphere 6.5 being GA in November 2016, I thought it’s finally time I upgraded my home lab to this version.

My home lab is currently at vSphere 6.0 U2 using externally load balanced PSC’s with a Management and Payload vCenter appliances in the same SSO domain, the topology as below:

1.3.0

I do not have NSX or vSAN installed in my home lab yet, but there are some KBs which are worth noting before embarking on an upgrade and check the product interoperability matrix.

Important information before upgrading to vSphere 6.5 (2147548)

Best practices for upgrading to vCenter Server 6.5 (2147686)

Update sequence for vSphere 6.5 and its compatible VMware products (2147289)

VMware Product Interoperability Matrices

The PSC 6.5 appliance upgrade is broken into two stages, the first stage is to deploy a new appliance and the second stage is to copy the data from the 6.0 appliance to the new 6.5 appliance. Following the update sequence, I need to upgrade my PSCs first followed by my vCenter appliances then the ESXi hosts.

I’ll assume you know how to download the required ISOs from the VMware website.

Stage 1 – Deploy the new Platform Services Controller Appliance

In stage 1, I will deploy the OVA file of the Platform Services Controller 6.5 appliance. Mount the ISO and navigate to the \vcsa-ui-installer\ directory and then to the required subdirectory for your OS:

  • For Windows OS, go to the win32 subdirectory, and run the installer.exe
  • For Linux OS, go to the lin64 subdirectory, and run the installer
  • For Mac OS, go to the mac subdirectory, and run the Installer.app

Ensure you have a full backup or snapshots of all the required machine before commencing.

I’m running my upgrade from a Windows machine so I will run \vcsa-ui-installer\ win32\installer.exe

1.3.1

Select Upgrade from the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer

1.3.2

The introduction provides an overview of the stages required to complete the upgrade. Click Next.

1.3.3

Accept the End User License Agreement and click Next

1.3.4

Enter the FQDN of the existing Platform Service Controller, this is the first PSC 6.0 I installed, along with the required credentials. Then enter the ESXi host for the source PSC. Click Next.

1.3.5

Click Yes on the Certificate Warning to continue.

1.3.6

Enter the ESXi host FQDN where you would like the new PSC 6.5 appliance deployed. Click Next.

1.3.7

Click Yes on the Certificate Warning to continue.

1.3.8

Enter the name for the PSC appliance VM and set a root password. Click Next.

1.3.9

Select a datastore for the PSC appliance and if you would like to enable Thin Disk Mode. Click Next.

1.3.10

Now select a network with ephemeral port binding, this is temporary and the new PSC appliance can be moved to another network after the upgrade has completed.

Enter the temporary network identity in the required fields. It’s worth noting at this point that the temporary names and IP addresses used during the upgrade all need to be resolvable by DNS. Once the upgrade has completed, the appliance frees the temporary IP address and assumes the network settings of the source 6.0 appliance.

1.3.11

Review the summary on the Ready to complete stage 1 page, verify the settings and then click Finish

1.3.12

Once the deployment has completed, click Continue to progress to Stage 2. If you close, you can continue with Stage 2 by navigating to the VAMI of the newly deployed PSC appliance, https://psc01tmp.testlab.com:5480

Stage 2 – Copy Data from source Platform Services Controller to the PSC 6.5 appliance

After completing stage 1, you will be taken to stage 2 and the introduction page. Click Next.

1.3.14

A pre-upgrade check will run and display it’s results. The check highlighted below that DRS should not be set to Fully Automated on the cluster where the ESXi host resides during the upgrade process. I configured the DRS Automation Level to manual.

1.3.15

Select if you want to participate in VMware’s Customer Improvement Program (CEIP), click Next

1.3.16

Review the summary information on the “Ready to complete” page, check I have backed up the source Platform Services Controller and all the required data from the database and click Finish

1.3.17

At this point, the installer will display a notice stating the source PSC will be shutdown once the network configuration has been enabled on the new PSC 6.5 appliance. As this is my second upgrade attempt, due to upgrade issues with my first VCSA in part 2 and time constraints, this feature proved very useful to revert back to my vSphere 6.0  home lab for another day or so.

Click OK.

1.3.18

If all goes well, the data should be copied and the source PSC shutdown. The new PSC 6.5 should be powered on and accessible with your source network identity. At this point I rename the VMs in vCenter for convenience.

You now need to upgrade all PSCs in your environment before proceeding to upgrade the vCenter appliances. I followed the same procedure to upgrade my second PSC.

1.3.19

I will continue from here in Upgrading vSphere 6.0 U2 to vSphere 6.5d – Part 2 where I will upgrade my vCenter 6.0 appliances and ESXi 6.0 hosts.