Explore the process of upgrading your vCenter Server. Learn how to get the latest version of vCenter Server for Windows in your environment.
- In this lesson, we are going to focus on the Windows based implementation of vCenter server, and some of the upgrade processes we can use to bring that vCS up to the latest version. So before we dive into detail, and how to accomplish this upgrade, I want to take a moment to describe what you will end up with after the upgrade process. If you are running 5.5 with the embedded vCenter SSO, or single sign on, or 6.0 with the embedded platform services controller, you'll end up with a 6.5 implementation with an embedded platform services controller.
If you are running vCenter server with single sign on 5.5 on Windows, or the platform services controller 6.0 you will end up with a platform services controller of 6.5 on Windows. And lastly, if you are running vCenter server 5.5 or 6.0 on Windows, you will end up with a 6.5 version on Windows. So you will not be able to change your deployment type during the upgrade process, and many individual services can no longer be uninstalled or reinstalled during the upgrade process.
Remember that many of those services are now baked into the vCenter server 6.5 deployment. So you don't have individual control of the services. Now here are some of the requirements before beginning the upgrade process. This is basically a list of things that make your life easier, since it'll help you prevent errors during the upgrade process. The first thing we're going to want to do is make sure that all the clocks are synchronized for the host MVMs that we're looking to upgrade. Now when I say VMs, I'm not talking about the VMs in your environment.
I'm talking about the actual VM that would contain the Windows operating system that's running vCenter server. We're also going to want to verify the networking. We're going to make sure that we're reachable, our IP addresses are configured correctly, and we have our fully qualified domain name in place. Also one of the things that falls through the cracks are local permissions. You want to make sure that there is an admin group present, we can logon as a service, we can act as a part of the operating system, and we have logon rights for batch jobs.
Last, but not least, make sure that the local service has read permissions for the vCenter server folder. These are all very simple checks that'll save you time, and headaches, during the upgrade process. Now that we've looked at some of the hardware requirements, let's take a real close look at the vCenter server requirements for the services themselves. Now one nice thing is the preinstall check. This is an automated feature that will go through and ensure that your VM or physical box meets the requirements of the vCS deployment.
It checks items like Windows versions, processors, memory, disk space, permissions, internal and external ports, database versions, connectivity, admin privileges, and last but not least, credentials. We also want to make sure that our hardware requirements for the vCS is correct, based on its size. Now size scales from a tiny implementation, which is 10 hosts in 100 VMs, that require 2 CPUs and 10 gigabytes of RAM to extra large, which is 2000 hosts, 35,000 VMs.
Which requires 24 CPUs and 48 gigabytes of RAM. If you are running only the platform services controller on that VM or physical box, that only requires 2 CPUs and 4 gigabytes of RAM. Remember to check your documentation to ensure that you have the resources required for your sized environment. Our storage requirements will vary, depending upon our implementation. For vCS running an embedded or external platform services controller, 6 gigabytes is required for the program file, and 8 gigabytes are required for the program data.
We will also need 3 gigabytes for the system folder. Now for an external platform services controller, 1 gigabyte of program file space is required, and 2 gigabytes of program data is required. In this case, 1 gigabyte is only required for the system folder. Now the vCS also requires that we use a 64-bit operating system. And a 64-bit system DSN to connect to the external database. Now remember, the DSN requirement for 6.0 is only 32-bit.
And that goes for 5.5 and 5.1 as well. So we are moving up to the 64-bit requirement here. In 6.5, if you are using under 20 hosts and 200 virtual machines, you can use the embedded database. This is a larger number than previous versions, 5.5 and below, but the same as 6.0. Larger implementations require the use of an external database. Now although it is not required to have DNS configured for your vCenter server, it is of best practice, so I highly recommend it.
Make sure that your vCenter server, it has a fully qualified domain name that is fully resolvable. That means forward, and reverse. This can be done using the NS lookup command. Now the upgrade process here is pretty straightforward. The first thing we're going to do is backup our vCS. Now you can do this any way you want, but if you're using VM ware's data protection, it's pretty straightforward process. If you haven't implemented data protection, I suggest you give it a shot. Next, we're going to download the .iso file and autorun.exe on the machine you're doing the upgrade on.
Even if you had a dispersed diployment, so you have your platform services controller spread among multiple virtual machines in your environment, you would simply run this on each of the virtual machines or physical machines in your environment. But if you're doing an upgrade, this is how it's done. You take the CD, or the USB, or the DVD, you place it inside the physical machine, or the host, use the autorun feature, you will be doing this within Windows the operating system, it will go through a welcome screen, you'll see that the previous version is detected, you'll have to enter your credentials.
We will get a scripted install, from that point forward, we will verify the ports, we will continue the installation script, then we will finish, and verify that the service or vCS is actually working. Now, when I do this process, I always start with vCenter server itself. Then I move out to the ancillary services. Remember that upgrading your vCenter server should be the first in your upgrade process as it will allow you to control other hosts with lower versions than the actual version of vCenter server.
- Manually performing ESXi host and virtual machine upgrades
- Configuring a custom download source for Update Manager
- Importing ESXi images
- Creating baselines or baseline groups
- Attaching baselines to vSphere objects
- Upgrading an ESXi host using vCenter Update Manager
- Upgrading VMware tools, VM hardware, and Update Manager
- Performing vCenter server upgrades