I will write a series of blog posts on how to upgrade several VMware products, like vCenter, vSphere, NSX, vSAN, and vSphere Replication. This How to upgrade vCenter 6.5 to 6.7 and fix upgrade errors is the first one.
I will start by upgrading to 6.7 when there is already a vCenter 7.0, but there is still a lot of companies using 6.5. I have 80% of this blog post created and in the draft since 2019, but now its time to finish and publish.
Upgrading vCenter Appliance is a very straightforward process when everything is ok and no issues found in the upgrade. Still, if we encounter some problems in the upgrade process, some are not so easy to troubleshoot the source or to fix.
In this article, how to upgrade vCenter 6.5 to 6.7 and fix upgrade errors, I will try to go through the upgrade process but also identify some of the issues that we can encounter and how to easy troubleshoot them and fix them.
Note: So that this post is not very long, I will create separate blog posts for each error. When can happen, what is the error and how to fix it.
For the errors section, I will provide examples not just from one implementation, but with different upgrades that I have done and the type of errors found on those upgrades.
When upgrading vCenter 6.5 to 6.7, the upgrade process is done in two phases. In the first phase, the install only installs the new vCenter 6.7 Appliance in the destination we have chosen in the upgrade process, the second phase if the migration\copy of all data from your vCenter Appliance 6.5 to the new vCenter 6.7.
Let us start the upgrade process.
Before you start your upgrade, update your vCenter 6.5 using your VAMI so that we can upgrade the latest version to the latest version and again bypass any possible bug that was meanwhile fixed.
First, you need to download the vCenter Appliance 6.7 ISO from VMware.
After you have your ISO, mounted in a Windows OS and run the setup version depending on the system you are running. For this example is in the folder \vcsa-ui-installer\win32\installer.exe
Run the setup vCenter Appliance installer and start the upgrade.
First, we will select the upgrade option.
Upgrade Stage 1
Fundamental note: Before you start your upgrade, always apply any updates on your vCenter Appliance. Upgrade your vCenter Appliance with the latest updates.
Start the deployment of the new vCenter Appliance.
After the pre-upgrade checks, we need to connect to our source (vCenter that we will upgrade).
Just add your IP or FQND for your vCenter and click connect the source (unless source vCenter is using a different port, the one that is the default, the port should not be changed from 443).
Next, enter the credentials for your source vCenter and also enter the information for the vCenter or ESXi host that is managing the source vCenter. If the source and the management vCenter is the same, again to bypass any possible issues, I always recommend to add the ESXi, and not the vCenter itself.
Depending on your certificates that you have in your source vCenter, you could get a warning. Just accept to use the certificate and continue with the upgrade process.
Next, add the details for the destination of your new vCenter Appliance 6.7.
Even is possible to add the vCenter that we are upgrading as the destination for your new vCenter Appliance so that we bypass any future issues while upgrading, I prefer to select an individual ESXi host as the destination.
If you are connecting directly to the ESXi host, do not forget to disable DRS. DRS vMotion migration can occur during the upgrade, and then the upgrade fails. No need to disable DRS, just set to manual.
Note: You can use a different vCenter as a destination. However, only if you are using a different vCenter for the target from the source vCenter.
Again if you are using self-sign certificates, you have a certificate warning. Just accept and continue with the upgrade.
Next, we add the new VM name and set the root password for the new vCenter Appliance.
Next, select the size of your vCenter.
Note: Always double-check the default number of VMs and hosts that are allowed in each option. So that you don’t implement a vCenter that doesn’t have the right resources, try always to select the same that was used for the vCenter 6.5 sources. If you do not know, check your environment(number of VMs and ESXi hosts) and select accordantly.
Next, select the Datastore where you will allocate this new vCenter Appliance.
Note: Since this vCenter is for testing, only I enable the “Thin Disk Mode”. You can even allow this in production. Usually, the vCenter Virtual Disks not grows size that much.
Next, add your network details for the new vCenter Appliance.
Note: Don’t forget to add a temporary IP address that this vCenter upgrade uses to power on the new vCenter Appliance 6.7 before power off the source vCenter. Source and destination need to be able to communicate with each other, if not, the upgrade fails.
Is it possible to use a different subnet for the temp IP address, as long is reachable by source and the Windows machine you are running the setup installer.
Before finishing this first phase, review all the information and then click Finish.
After you click, finish the deployment of the new vCenter Appliance 6.7 starts.
Note: Depending on your infrastructure, this process takes some minutes.
After this the first phase of the upgrade process is finish, and vCenter Appliance is deployed, the second phase starts (the second phase is the copy/migration of all vCenter information from vCenter Appliance 6.5 DB to the 6.7 vCenter Appliance embedded DB).
Click to continue to start the second phase.
Upgrade Stage 2
In this section, you need to select what type of information you want to migrate\copy from your vCenter 6.5.
Click Next to start the upgrade stage 2 process.
In the Pre-upgrade checks, the upgrade is checking all configuration and data that you have in your source vCenter. Like plugins or extensions and check if they are compatible with the new version.
There is always some plugins that are not compatible with the new versions. Most of the cases are just a warning, and we can continue the upgrade, but sometimes there some that will block your upgrade, and you need to disable them first before continue.
These are some of the examples of plugins or extensions that you may have in your previous version and are not supported in the new version.
In this case, we have, Veeam, NetApp, and QNAP plugins.
Also, in the above warning, there is a warning saying that the destination of the new vCenter Appliance is an ESXi host and not a vCenter and that DRS should be disabled or set to manual.
I have talked about this in the initiation of phase 1. For this case, I forgot to disable or set to manual.
Even we can continue with the upgrade process with this type of plugins, sometimes it is not possible, and we need to remove them.
I will write another blog post on how to do this (will update the blog post when I write the plugin article): How to remove/disable Plugins from vCenter.
After you fix all the above warnings, or just ignore them, we can continue the upgrade process.
Next, we need to select what we want to migrate to the new vCenter Appliance. What information we want to keep.
- Just the configuration (meaning all VMs, ESXi Hosts, Networks, Datastores, permissions, etc.)
- The same as above, plus the events and tasks.
- The same as 2 above, plus all historical performance data.
Select the option that fits your environment and your company policies.
In this case, I only migrate the configuration.
Here is where you can find one of the errors regarding upgrading the vCenter 6.5 to 6.7. In the next image, we can see that the installer is warning that there is not enough space in the vCenter Appliance root / to allocate temporarily this data that we need to copy.
We can find this information in the upgrade process and easy to identify, or if the amount of space that exists and size that is needed is so small that the installer not recognizes, the upgrade continues and then breaks with the error: “Insufficient space on the source export partition ‘/’”.
As we can check in the next image, root partition has only 1,9Gb when we need at least 3,06Gb.
Note: Initially, I did not take screenshots in all the steps of the issue, so these are different screenshots from different implementations, so sizes can be different.
Please click on the following link to know more about this issue and how to fix it, and continue with your upgrade process. How to fix.
Next, select if you want to join the CEIP VMware program (this is not mandatory) and continue.
Important note: As is highlighted above, always have a backup of your vCenter data, or at least create a snapshot of vCenter Appliance 6.5 before you start the migration process. If by any chance, anything goes wrong, you can always restore and rollback.
Even in case of the process didn’t finish properly, you can simply delete the new vCenter Appliance and power on again the vCenter Appliance 6.5 and continue to work. However, for the safe side, do a backup of your data, or create a snapshot.
Next, double-check all the information, check if everything is correct, and click Finish to Finish the migration process.
When the process starts, the installer will power off the old vCenter 6.5 Appliance.
So only click OK when your environment is ready(users are informed that vCenter will be power off for a while, or that no task is running in the vCenter: vMotion, Snapshots, VMs creation, etc.).
When you click ok, the upgrade second phase then starts the process that consists of 3 stages.
- Copy all data from the vCenter 6.5 to the new vCenter 6.7.
- Set up and configure the vCenter 6.7 then start the services.
- Import all data copied from the vCenter 6.5 to the new vCenter 6.7.
When it reaches the 3rd stage, we start getting some information about some of the data that copied or is trying to copy. The installer checks if some of the configurations that we have in the previous vCenter 6.5 are compatible with the new vCenter 6.7.
It depends on the type of data, it could be just a warning/information, or it could be a stopper, and we need to fix first before it continues.
In this case, is just warnings about TLS protocols and warning if we are using Auto Deploy we need to update settings in the new vCenter Appliance.
After we fix the issue, it starts again and goes to the 1st stage by copying the data again.
Now your vCenter Appliance is upgraded to v6.7, and now you have a new vCenter Appliance VM, test your new vCenter, and if all is working, delete the old vCenter that was power off by the upgrade process.
Other articles in the VMware upgrades series:
- How to add extra space to vCenter for the upgrade
- How to upgrade vCenter Appliance 6.7 to 7.0 and fix upgrade errors
- How to upgrade vSphere 6.x Clusters to vSphere 7
- How to upgrade NSX-T 2.4.x or 2.5.x to NSX-T 3.0
- How to upgrade NSX to vSphere 7.0
Note: I will update the links as I write the articles.
I hope this How to upgrade vCenter 6.5 to 6.7 and fix upgrade errors blog post was useful. Even the upgrade process is very straightforward, we may encounter some issues along the way. It always depends on your vCenter infrastructure and the size of that infrastructure.
Note: Share this article if you think it is worth sharing. If you have any questions or comments, comment here or contact me on Twitter.