In a previous article we have seen the steps on how to install VMware vCenter on a Windows Server also using a SQL Cluster. In this case we’ll leverage that deployment to install the latest VMware vCenter upgrade. At the time of writing or better when preparing this in my home lab this was version 6.5 update 1! As of yesterday VMware also released version 6.7 for both the vCenter and vSphere platforms. We’ll cover these in separate articles. It would be great to test these first maybe using nested VMs before going into production in our home lab!
With regard to the process for VMware vCenter upgrade it’s a very simple journey. In particular the installer will launch a wizard which includes scripts that will internally check the prerequisites and existing components. Save the existing data into an “export” folder and re-import this data at the upgrade completion.
In case we have multiple VMware components and solutions we need to pay attention on the order we use to upgrade each component. For a better idea about this one and a nice table summarizing this information we can use this page for reference.
Should we notice or experience certain components not to work as expected we can always revert it back and copying back the data from the “export” folder. Of course this is not a backup but rather a quick mechanism to restore data to a previous point. So it is advised also to save temporarily this “export” data into a separate location for full peace of mind.
Why would I need to run the VMware vCenter upgrade? What’s new?
First and foremost the full compatibility to match with the VMware vSphere Hypervisor In addition there are plenty of new features. To name a few:
- new Storage APIs for Data Protection including the latest version of Operating Systems
- new configuration maximums
- revamped HTML5 vSphere Client
and a lot more. For a full list we can take a look at the release note for this version. So let’s take a quick look at the vCenter upgrade steps.
Install VMware vCenter upgrade on Windows Server
Once we obtain the VMware vCenter installation ISO let’s mount this one on the existing VMware vCenter Server and select the first option to begin the install.
The wizard will start the install for the vCenter upgrade by extracting the scripts which will be used to detect and save the existing data into the “export” folder.
The wizard is now ready to start.
Let’s accepts the End User License Agreement and continue.
The wizard is detecting the details from previous install. Let’s review these settings and provide the password for the accounts.
The wizard is now running the pre-upgrade checks. This steps only takes a few moments.
The wizard is now showing the network ports as per previous deployment with the option to add the “ESXi Dump Collector Port”.
At this point we can use the existing path or specify a new location where to install the binaries. In my case I used the existing ones.
We have the option to be part of a Customer Experience Improvement Program.
The wizard now has all the options to perform the VMware vCenter upgrade. At this point before proceeding let’s make sure we have a backup of the vCenter Server machine and also the “vCenter” DSN property is working as expected. A simple ODBC test connection will verify this.
The first part of the vCenter upgrade is to extract the data into an “export” location. This step can be quite a long one.
Next is to uninstall the previous components.
At this point the new components are automatically installed.
And finally the data is imported from the “export” folder for the new components to be used.
A final message will inform about updating the DHCP and TFTP server settings. In my vCenter environment I haven’t used any of these so far.
The wizard for the VMware vCenter upgrade is now complete. We can now launch the vSphere Web Client.
At this point we are greeted with two options. The standard one now using Flash and the new one using the HTML5 protocol. No vSphere C client available from vSphere 6.5 onward.
So if we take a look at the standard one it will be something similar to this with all new icons next to the object name.
And finally we can also take a look at the new HTML5 based vSphere Web Client. Looks modern and robust. At this point in time there are only a few commands not fully supported or available. When this is the case we can always use the Flash based Web console. Of course these will be addressed in the next updates for the vCenter 6.5 update 1 version.
The entire process took roughly 35 mins to run the vCenter upgrade back to back. Your mileage might vary depending on the resources in your home lab. But most of all it was a breeze and also with the option to revert it back in case of issues.
Next step is to upgrade the vSphere Hosts from 6.0 to 6.5 u1. We’ll cover this step in more details in the next article.