Updating vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 to Update 1 & 1b

VMware released vSphere 6.0 Update 1 on September 10th, 2015 and Update 1b on January 7th, 2016. In this post i’ll go through how to upgrade VCSA 6.0 to Update 1 & 1b.

In my environment I have the Platform Services Controller [PSC] embedded with the VCSA. If you deployed an external PSC separately from vCenter then this post will still work for you! The upgrade procedure is the exact same on both the vCenter and PSC just upgrade the PSC first before vCenter.

vCenter Server Appliance 6.o Update 1 Release Notes:

  • Customer Experience Improvement Program: The Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) provides VMware with information that enables VMware to improve the VMware products and services and to fix problems. When you choose to participate in CEIP, VMware will collect technical information listed below about your use of the VMware products and services in CEIP reports on a regular basis. This information does not personally identify you. For more details, see the vSphere Documentation Center.
  • Feature Enhancement: Suite UI is now enabled by default for the vSphere Web Client.
  • Support for SSLv3: Support for SSLv3 has been disabled by default.
  • vCSA Authentication for Active Directory: VMware vCenter Server Virtual Appliance (vCSA) has been modified to only support AES256-CTS/AES128-CTS/RC4-HMAC encryption for Kerberos authentication between vCSA and Active Directory.
  • Hybrid Cloud Manager: Hybrid Cloud Manager has been updated for vSphere, and can be accessed directly from the home page of vSphere Web Client.
  • FT-vSAN Interoperability: vSAN and FT work together.
  • Appliance Management user interface: Appliance Management has a new user interface, written in HTML5.
  • Backup and Restore with external PSC: vCenter Server deployments with external PSC, also called MxN have support for backup and restore.
  • Platform Services Controller UI: The Platform Services Controller now provides UI option to view, renew and replace certificates. For more details see Explore Certificate Stores from the Platform Services Controller Web Interface
  • Installation and Upgrade using HTML 5 installer: The following installation and upgrade scenarios are supported for vCenter Server using HTML 5 installer:
    • Installation using HTML 5 installer and target as vCenter Server is supported
    • Upgrade using HTML 5 installer and target as vCenter Server is not supported
    • Upgrade using command line and target as vCenter Server is supported
  • Resolved Issues: This release of vCenter Server 6.0 Update 1 addresses issues that have been documented in the Resolved Issues section.
  • Full release notes can be found here

vCenter Server Appliance 6.o Update 1b Release Notes:

  • ESXi 6.0 Update 1b enables support for TLS versions 1.1 and 1.2 for most of the vSphere components without breaking the previously supported compatibility/interoperability. Some of the vSphere components that still support only TLS version 1.0 are listed here:
    • vSphere Client
    • Virtual SAN Observer on vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA)
    • Syslog on vCSA
    • Auto Deploy on vCSA
    • Auto Deploy/iPXE

    The ESXi 6.0 Update 1b now supports all TLS versions 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2 with the exceptions listed above. See Knowledge base article 2136185 for the list of supported TLS protocols.

  • Support for the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 128/256-bit key length is added for RPC header authentication in the NFS 4.1 Client.
    Note: See resolved Security Issues section for more information.
  • This release of ESXi 6.0 Update 1b addresses issues that have been documented in the Resolved Issues section.
  • Full release notes can be found here

Download VCSA 6 Update 1:

To download the Update 1 ISO go to the VMware Product Patches -> change the drop down to VC and download the VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance-6.0.0.10000-3018521-patch-FP.iso

(You can now select the latest release, Update 1b – VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance-6.0.0.10200-3343022-patch-FP.iso)

Note: FP means Full Product Update Patch and TP means Security and Third Party. For the upgrade ensure you get the FP.

VCSA Upgrade 1 - Download Update

Before you Start:

  1. Take a screenshot of your VCSA virtual machine!
    • VCSA Upgrade 2 - Create virtual machine snapshot
  2. Ensure BASH shell is enabled. If not login to the VCSA console -> go to Troubleshooting Mode Options -> and Enable BASH Shell. Having this preenabled will save you a few steps down the road. It will automatically re-disable in 60 minutes.
    • VCSA Upgrade 4 - Ensure BASH is enabled
  3. Log directly into the host that VCSA is running on and mount the ISO. I felt going through the host versus through vCenter that is fixing to be upgraded would help prevent any issues.
    • VCSA Upgrade 3 - Mount Update 1 ISO

Upgrading VCSA 6 to Update 1:

Ensure you have a snapshot of the VCSA VM and the ISO mounted. SSH into your vCenter and login using root and run the following command:

software-packages install --iso --acceptEulas

VCSA Upgrade 5 - software-packages commands

Once I submitted the command it took roughly 10 minutes to finish.

During the upgrade I had the VCSA console open. I saw the following while the SSH window was on Upgrading software packages….  once the install finished I refreshed the screen by hitting F2 and the messages went away.

VCSA Upgrade 5-1 - Errors on console

If you got errors or want to confirm your install you can check the update log file. On your SSH session type BASH to bring up the BASH Shell (the prompt will have your vCenter server name in red)

Change directories:

cd /var/log/vmware/applmgmt

VCSA Upgrade 6 - software-packages log

The log file is named software-packages.log. To view the last 30 lines of the type the following command:

tail software-packages.log -n 30

VCSA Upgrade 6-1 - Install Results

To complete the upgrade the VCSA needs to be rebooted. If you are still in the BASH shell enter the following to reboot or just reboot it from vSphere Client/Web Client.

shutdown now -r "Enter Comment"

VCSA Upgrade 7 - Reboot

Once booted the console will now show version 6.0.0.10000

VCSA Upgrade 8 - Upgrade Completed

Build Number:

When you look at the build number in the thick client it shows 6.0.0 Build Number 3018523. I would have guessed it would show 6.0.1.

VCSA Upgrade 9 - vCenter Version

On the vCenter 6.0 Update 1 Release Notes it says:

vCenter Server 6.0 Update 1 on vCenter Server Appliance Build 3018523

Thought i’d point that out 🙂

Appliance Management User Interface:

This is a much welcomed feature added back with this update! It was in the previous VCSA 5 but wasn’t added to the initial VCSA 6.0 release.

To access the Management User Interface [MUI] open a web browser and enter the following:

HTTPS://<fqdn or ip>:5480

Login with your root username and password.

VCSA MUI 10 - Login to MUI

You can edit much of the administration side of the VCSA such as networking, the root password, and more.

VCSA MUI 10-1 - Summary

Under Update -> Check Updates -> Check URL will now check for updates via internet making updates very easy!

VCSA MUI 11 - Update via the web

Additional reading about the MUI can be found here

Platform Services Controller Interface:

The Platform Service Controller [PSC] also gained an HTML5 web interface making administration so much easier!

Access the web interface by the following address:

HTTPS://<fqdn or ip>/PSC

Login using your SSO administrator account (Example: administrator@vsphere.local)

VCSA PSC 12 - Login

You can edit everything releated to the PSC. In a future blog post I will document how to setup PSC to use your domain PKI server to pull certificates automatically!

VCSA PSC 13 - Home

For additional reading about the PSC web interface check out this post

Upgrading to VCSA 6 Update 1 to Update 1b:

VMware released Update 1b on January 7th, 2016. If you already have your VCSA upgraded to Update 1 then the jump to Update 1b is very simple.

First login to the Appliance Management User Interface by opening a web browser and enter the following:

HTTPS://<vCenter fqdn or ip>:5480

Login with your root username and password.

On Update click the drop down menu and select Check URL

VCSA - Check URL

Under Available Updates you will see the Update 1b release (Build 3343022) populate.

VCSA Update 1b available

To install the update click Install all updates on the drop down menu:

VCSA Install all updates

Check the box to accept the EULA. Now click Install:

VCSA EULA Install

You can follow along the upgrade process in the pop up window.

There appears to be a error with the upgrade where the progress window is freezing. My upgrade did indeed hang and never proceeded.

VCSA Upgrade Progress

I gave it about 10 minutes then opened a new window in my browser and opened the Appliance Management User Interface. On the Update selection the Update version does have the Update 1b build number (3343022). So the update did apply.

VCSA Update Applied

On the Summary page go ahead and reboot the VCSA.

VCSA Reboot

Once the VCSA reboots ensure the Health Status reports Good.

VCSA Upgraded and Runnin

When you log into the VCSA you will notice there is a new High Availability agent that the hosts will get. Once completed you are now up and running on VCSA Uupdate 1b!

New HA Agent

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