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VCSA upgrade stage 1 for VMware 6.7 – Deploy the Appliance

On April 17th 2018, VMware officially released the latest version of vSphere 6.7 along with a lot of new features. This article, split in two parts, covers the installation stages to perform an upgrade from a previous version of the VMware VCSA or vCenter Server. VMware 6.7 VCSA upgrade stage 1 simply creates a new VCSA with a temporary name. Stage 2 instead will export the data first from the existing VCSA, shutdown the appliance and then import the data into the new one assigning the same name and IP address.

The result is a new shiny VCSA install with all production data.

At the time of writing this article there are already updates for the appliance:

  • first version: VCSA released on April 17 2018
  • second version: VCSA released on May 22 2018 (6.7.0a)
  • third version: VCSA released on June 28 2018 (6.7.0b)

The idea is to upgrade to the first GA release and then upgrade to the latest one: VCSA 6.7.0b. Surely I could run a direct upgrade to the latest version. Reason is I have already a trial copy of the first version and at the same time I’m also intrigued about the update process later on. In addition VMware vSphere 6.5u1 was the latest release to do a direct upgrade to version 6.7. The VCSA comes first so we can manage current and older vSphere Host releases. The plan is:

  • Upgrade VCSA to latest version available
  • Upgrade vSphere Hosts to match version
  • Run updates on both VCSA
  • Run updates on vSphere Hosts

Up to a few weeks ago I was running both VMware VCSA and vSphere Hosts on 6.5u1 in my homelab. Another compelling reason that made me wait before running the VMware 6.7 upgrade is to have the full support from the very latest Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 u3a. This release in fact brings official support for the latest VMware hypervisors.

So in nutshell what does the VMware VCSA 6.7 upgrade will bring to me? Plenty of updates really. An most notably these are:

  • enhanced vCenter Server CLI installer
  • updates for vSphere Management Interface (VAMI) in sections for Monitoring, Services, Syslog, Updates, File-Based Backup and File-Based Restore
  • improved vSphere client (HTML5)
  • Platform Service Controller (PSC) integrated with vSphere Client
  • and more..

I guess it’s probably time to start taking a look at VMware VCSA 6.7 upgrade stage 1.


VMware 6.7 VCSA upgrade stage 1 of 2

First step is to obtain the installation ISO and run the installer.exe. Let’s make sure the computer we are using is in the same network as the vSphere Hosts where the actual VCSA is running and no firewalls are blocking communications.

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 installer

The wizard will start and proceed in 2 steps. For now we can click on upgrade button.

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 deploy appliance

The wizard will now proceed with VCSA upgrade stage 1. During this stage a new virtual appliance is created.

Let’s accept the EULA and continue.

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 eula

At this point let’s connect to existing VCSa appliance. I would suggest to use FQDN name and make sure DNS name resolution is working both ways as required. Once ready hit on connect to source.

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 connect to appliance

Once connected we can specify the namen of the existing vCenter Server which by the way also included the Embedded Platform Service Controller in a simple deployment configuration.

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 connect to source

If everything goeas alright we should be able to see the cerificate wanring message for the self-signed or untrusted SSL certificate. In this case everything is local so nothing to be worried about.

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 certificate warning

In this step we can now specify which vSphere Host will be associated with the new appliance. Let’s provide username and password to connect.

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 appliance deployment target

Again let’s accept the certificate warning message.

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 certificate

At this point we can specify the name for the new appliance. I would suggest to use a different one from the previous appliance name as otherwise it will create a folder with the same name in the datastore. Once the process is completed we can change the display name for the VM or appliance to the original one.

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 setup target appliance

About the sizing let’s make sure it is either the same or bigger but not the other way around.

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 select deployment size

Let’s select a datastore where to deploy the new appliance.

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 select datastore

At this point we can configure the network settings. Either Static or DHCP can be used. Personally I prefer the former. This by the way are just temporary settings before the existing data is imported to the new appliance.

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 configure network settings

The VCSA upgrade stage 1 wizard will now show the main settings before proceeding with the rest of the installation. Once ready let’s hit on finish.

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 ready to complete

The VCSA upgrade stage 1 CLI installer is now ready to create a new vm appliance on the selected vSphere Host and populate this one with the settings chosen during the wizard. Typically this phase is not very long (a few minutes in my case).

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 deployment

As per screenshot below the VCSA upgrade stage 1 part has completed successfully. We can now click on continue button or even resume stage two simply by browsing the ip address of the new appliance on default port 5480.

domalab.com VCSA upgrade stage 1 completed

Let’s move to the next stage about configuring the VCSA 6.7 appliance.


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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