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Update VCSA to latest release with Appliance Management

Just a couple of weeks back on the 26th of July, VMware released the latest patch for VCSA bringing the version to 6.7.13000. The purpose of this article is to show how easy is to update VCSA using the built-in Update tool from the Appliance Management web interface.

The idea for this article is coming as a follow up to the previous steps where we upgraded the existing VCSA 6.5u1 directly to VCSA 6.7. In that case the process was consisting of two phases: stage 1 for deployment and stage 2 for configuration of the vCenter Server Appliance. Now if things don’t change in the near future with next releases this is pretty much the main procedure going forward. Really simple to use.

In the same fashion the next steps include the option to update VCSA and VMware vSphere Hosts to the latest patches. Now in the case of VCSA we can use the update method in the Appliance Management web interface. In the case of vSphere Hosts we’ll leverage the VMware Update Manager (VUM) component built-in to the VCSA.

The entire process will be managed from the Appliance which checks for updates, download them (stage only) and install (stage and install). It is highly recommended to run a VCSA Backup before the running the update. Additionally it is possible to take a snapshot of the vCenter appliance as well. Generally speaking the Backup process is the supported and preferred one because it also “remove” pending data resulting in a file consistent backup and also reduces the size of “active” data. Something to consider also when migrating to newer versions for example. Nonetheless starting from VCSA 6.7 the backup can also be conveniently scheduled (without the need to run scripts) from the GUI, with the freedom of choosing how many restore points to keep.

So if you have taken a backup already let’s take a look on how to update VCSA!


How to update VCSA to latest release

Let’s browse the VCSA Appliance Management GUI on default port 5480. From there let’s navigate to the Update section. From here we can review the actual status and also view / configure the update settings. At the time of writing there are already 3 releases to update VCSA.

It’s not necessary to install all of them in sequence for the simple reason these are cumulative updates. This is also one of the main reason why both VCSA and VUM should have constant access to the internet. We can benefit from the latest updates and baselines.

As per screenshot below in this case I will directly stage the latest one available

domalab.com Update VCSA appliance management

Another important aspect before staging the updates is to check the available space on the appliance. We can easily do this by visiting the Monitor > Disk section. “Hard disk 12” as per this installation refers to data relative to the update manager service. By default this is created as a 100GB space drive. Staging updates and other patches gives the comfort of expediting the installation process but is also taking storage space from the appliance. So it is always a good idea to monitor this and other drives.

domalab.com Update VCSA monitor disks

Let’s start downloading the patch and staging this one for the installation.

domalab.com Update VCSA stage only

From the same panel we can see which ones are staged and can be installed. When multiple updates are present we can directly install the latest one. In addtion, we can also run a pre-update check tool and verify compatibility.

domalab.com Update VCSA pre-update checks

If we now take a look at the Disk consumption this one now shows 1.9% used which effectively reflects the download size for update.

domalab.com Update VCSA disk space

We’re now ready to update VCSA. Hit on install and follow the wizard.

domalab.com Update VCSA install wizard

Optionally we can join the VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program.

domalab.com Update VCSA join ceip

And a message is informing us to take a backup as a recommended measure before installing the update. Very nicely the wizard also shows the estimated time to complete the update process. Ok looks like it is going to take some time..

domalab.com Update VCSA backup

In reality the process is very quick. Stopping the services, copying the relevant update files and restart the services.

domalab.com Update VCSA installation

All in all the entire process took about 6 minutes on the clock. Not too bad considering the projection was 193 minutes!

domalab.com Update VCSA install completed

At this point when we check the version we can see the new update is applied successfully.

domalab.com Update VCSA

In the next step we’ll review how to update the VMware vSphere Hosts with the latest patches.


About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

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