The upgrade process of vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) version 5.x to 6.0 isn’t truly a upgrade but more of a migration. You are basically deploying a second vCSA that will migrate the hosts/inventory/IP address from the old to the new. You can only upgrade vCSA versions 5.1U3 and 5.5. The 6.0 vCSA is still based on SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 and now has the the same mins/max as the Windows installed version.
Before You Start:
There is some prep work you need to perform before doing the migration:
- Pick a host and ensure it has a standard switch with a vmnic uplink. Because Distributed Switches is a vCenter function it wants to perform the upgrade on a standard switch.
- Rename your current vCenter VM in the inventory so the new VM can be created as the same name. Otherwise the vCSA folders on the LUNs will not match.
- Have at least two available LUNs, one for your current vCSA and one for the new vCSA. Since you will want to deploy the new one with the same name they have to be on different LUNs
- The installation media is a .ISO instead of a .OVA. You will need to burn it to a disc, extract it, or mount it.
PluralSight has amazing courses on upgrading vSphere. If you haven’t checked out PluralSight it’s an amazing service! Highly recommended!
- Upgrading your vSphere Environment: 5.X to 6.0
- vSphere 6 Data Center: Upgrade a vSphere Deployment
- What’s New in VMware vSphere 6
Time To Upgrade:
The vCSA is no longer a .OVA but instead a .ISO image so burn/extract/mount it on your computer. First we need to install the VMware Client Integration 6.0 Plugin. In the vcsa folder there is the executable named VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0.exe. The installation is simple, once installed proceed to the next step:
Now the plugin is installed, open the vcsa-setup.html in the root of the ISO. This will launch the vCSA installer splash screen:
You can upgrade 5.1 U3 or the 5.5 version of the vCSA. I will be upgrading version 5.5. If you have one of these versions click Ok:
Accept the EULA and click Next:
Enter the information of a ESXi host which this appliance will be deployed to. Click Next:
Didn’t rename the original vCSA: Enter what you want the appliance name to be. If you want the appliance name to be the same as your current vCSA installment and get this message, click Back, then rename your current vCSA in the vCenter inventory before proceeding:
In my case I want the name of this new vCSA 6.0 appliance to take over the name of my 5.5 appliance.
Check the box if you want SSH turn on now. Click Next:
Fill out all the fields. If you want to migrate the performance and metric data check the box. It will take a bit longer for that data to migrate depending on how big your environment is. Click Next:
Note: If you do not know the SSO password for your current vCSA, check out this blog post by William Lam: http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2012/09/default-password-for-vcenter-sso-admin.html
On the previous screen, if you entered a IP address instead of the FQDN for the current vCenter appliance you will get this message. If you deployed your orginal appliance using FQDN I would recommend going back and entering that.
This is what it will look like if you used the FQDN. Click Yes:
Here you can pick how much resources your vCSA will get.
Tiny: 2 vCPU , 8 GB memory , 120 GB disk space
Small: 4 vCPU , 16 GB memory , 150 GB disk space
Medium: 8 vCPU , 24 GB memory , 300 GB disk space
Large: 16 vCPU , 32 GB memory , 450 GB disk space
Pick your appliance size and click Next:
Select the datastore on which to deploy the appliance to. Note: If you are deploying this as the same name as your current appliance you will need to select a different datastore.
You can also check the box for Thin provisioning. For best performance it is recommended to leave the box unchecked for Thick Eager Zero. I’m checking the box since this is my home lab with limited storage. Click Next:
Missing Standard Switch: If you do not have a standard switch created on your selected host, the Temporary Network field will be blank. Click Back then create that switch.
Select the standard switch network you want to use and enter a temporary IP address. It will migrate data using this IP address and once finished will assume the IP address of your current vCSA. Click Next:
Look over the summary page. If everything looks correct click Finish:
Once the VM is created you can monitor the console while it works. Nothing really happened but was neat comparing the console progress bar with the installation.
And it’s finished! Click Close:
The old vCSA will be powered off and the new vCSA 6.0 appliance is ready for use.
Now you can delete the old vCSA VM from disk.
While the upgrade installer can be finiky at times, it did work as advertise. Leave your comments below with the results of your upgrade! Did you run into any issues?
VMware vCenter Server 6.0 Deployment Guide: https://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/10453