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May 21

VCP6-DCV Delta Study – Section 4 – Objective 4.2

This post covers Section 4, Upgrade a vSphere Deployment, Objective 4.2, Perform vCenter Server Upgrades

The vSphere Knowledge covered in this objective:

  • Identify steps required to upgrade a vSphere implementation
  • Identify upgrade requirements for vCenter
  • Upgrade vCenter Server Appliance (VCA)
  • Identify the methods of upgrading vCenter
  • Identify/troubleshoot vCenter upgrade errors

Objective 4.2 VMware Resources:


– Identify steps required to upgrade a vSphere implementation
vSphere Upgrade Process in the vSphere Upgrade Guide on page 18.

VMware KB: Update sequence for vSphere 6.0 and its compatible VMware products (2109760)

VMware KB: Upgrading to vCenter Server 6.0 best practices (2109772)

  1. Read the vSphere Release Notes
  2. Verify system meets vSphere hardware and software requirements
  3. Verify configuration backups
  4. Verify VMware or 3rd Party solutions and plug-ins are compatible with the vCenter version to which you are upgrading. See the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix
  5. Upgrade vCenter Server
  6. Upgrade vSphere Update Manager
  7. Upgrade ESXi hosts
  8. Reconnect the host to vCenter and apply vSphere 6 Licensing
  9. Upgrade VMs (VMware Tools/VM Hardware) and virtual appliances

– Identify upgrade requirements for vCenter
vCenter Server for Windows Requirements in the vSphere Upgrade Guide on page 30.
vCenter Server requires a 64-bit operating system. The earliest Windows version supported for vCenter Server is Windows 2008 SP2.
vCenter Server 6.0 for Windows can run on a physical or virtual machine.

A 64-bit system DSN is required to connect to an external vCenter database. vCenter Supports Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server databases.
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 or higher, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Microsoft SQL Server 2014, Oracle 11g, and Oracle 12c are supported database types.
Use the VMware Product Interoperability Matrixes for a complete list of supported databases types.
vCenter Server databases require a UTF code set.

If the Microsoft SQL Express databases was used it will be migrated to the PostgreSQL database during the upgrade.
The bundled PostgreSQL database can be used for environments of up to 20 hosts and 200 virtual machines.

The user account the vCenter Server service is running as requires the following permissions:

  • Member of the Administrators group
  • Log on as a service
  • Act as part of the operating system

vCenter Server Appliance Requirements in the vSphere Upgrade Guide on page 33.
vCenter Server Appliance 5.1U3 and vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 can be upgraded to vCenter Server Appliance 6.
VMware vCenter Server Appliance can be deployed only on hosts that are running ESXi version 5.0 or later.
If an external vCenter SSO is used, the vCenter Server Appliance cannot be upgraded. Upgrade is only supported if the embedded vCenter SSO is used.
The vCenter Server Appliance PostgreSQL database supports up to 1000 hosts and 10,000 virtual machines.
An Oracle 11g database or an Oracle 12c database are the only external databases supported by the vCenter Server Appliance.

vCenter Server 6 can manage ESXi 5.x hosts in the same cluster with ESXi 6.0 hosts, but not with ESX 4.x of ESXi 4.x hosts.
vCenter Server 4.x cannot be directly upgraded to vCenter Server 6. vCenter Server 4.x must first be upgraded to vCenter 5.x.

vSphere Update Manager also requires a supported database. Use separate databases for vCenter Server and vSphere Update Manager.

– Upgrade vCenter Server Appliance (VCA)
Upgrading the vCenter Server Appliance in the vSphere Upgrade Guide on page 92.

Deploying the vCenter Server Appliance requires the Client Integration Plug-In. This is an HTML installer for Windows which can be used to connect directly to an ESXi 5.x or ESXi 6.x host to deploy the vCenter Server Appliance on the host.
vCenter Server Appliance Upgrade Tasks:

  • Download the .iso installed for the vCenter Server Appliance and Client Integration Plug-in
  • Install the Client Integration Plug-in from the vcsa directory on the .iso
  • Upgrade the vCenter Server Appliance using vcsa-setup.html on the .iso

During the vCenter Server Appliance upgrade the following tasks are performed:

  • Export of the existing vCenter Server Appliance Configuration
  • Deployment of the vCenter Server Appliance 6.0
  • Migration of services and configuration data to the new vCenter Server Appliance 6.0
  • The legacy vCenter Server Appliance is powered off

A few really great blog posts on the vCenter Server Appliance upgrade process:

– Identify the methods of upgrading vCenter
Embedded Deployment Model – The Platform Service Controller and the vCenter Server are installed on the same machine.
External Deployment Model – The Platform Service Controller is installed on a separate machine from the vCenter Server.

vCenter 5.5 and earlier deployed using Simple Install option will be upgraded to vCenter Server with embedded Platform Services Controller.
If vCenter Single Sign-On was on a different machine than vCenter Server, the upgrade will be an external deployment model.
If vCenter Single Sign-On was on the same node as vCenter Server, the upgrade will product an embedded deployment model.

Upgrade external SSO servers to Platform Service Controllers, then upgrade vCenter Servers.

VMware KB: List of recommended topologies for VMware vSphere 6.0.x (2108548)

vCenter Server Example Upgrade Paths in the vSphere 6.0 Documentation Center.

Upgrade including an AutoDeploy Server
If configuration includes an Auto Deploy server, the upgrade process upgrades it when upgrading the associated vCenter Server instance. Auto Deploy server included with an earlier version of the product cannot be used in conjunction with vCenter Server 6.0. If the Auto Deploy server is running on a remote system, it is upgraded and migrated to the same system as vCenter Server during the upgrade process. Settings are migrated to the new location. ESXi hosts must be reconfigured to point to the new Auto Deploy location.

Upgrading with Remote Web Client Server
If configuration includes a remotely deployed vSphere Web Client, it is upgraded along with the vCenter Server instance to which it is registered and migrated to the same location as the vCenter Server instance.

– Identify/troubleshoot vCenter upgrade errors
Troubleshooting a vSphere Upgrade in the vSphere Upgrade Guide on page 185.

Windows vCenter Server Upgrade Logs
Installation/upgrade log files are located in %TEMP% and %PROGRAMDATA%\VMware\CIS\logs

  • vminst.log
  • pkgmgr.log
  • pkgmgr-comp-msi.log
  • vim-vcs-msi.log

To Collect vCenter Server Appliance Logs from the bash shell run vc-support.sh script to generate the log bundle. A .tgz file will be generated in /var/tmp

To determine which firstboot script failed cat the /var/log/firstbootStatus.json file. This will assist in identifying the firstboot script which failed. Log files for the firstboot scripts are also located in /var/log.


More Section Objectives in the VCP6-DCV Delta Exam Study Guide Index

I hope you found this helpful. Feel free to add anything associated with this section using the comments below. Happy studying.

About the author

vHersey

Hersey Cartwright is an IT professional with extensive experience designing, implementing, managing, and supporting technologies that improve business processes. Hersey is Solutions Architect for SimpliVity covering Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland. He holds the VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX-DV #128) certification. Hersey actively participates in the VMware community and was awarded the VMware vExpert title in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012. He enjoys working with, teaching, and writing about virtualization and other data center technologies. Follow Hersey on Twitter @herseyc

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