Upgrade vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 U2 to 6.5 GA!

Hello all!  Exciting news!  VMware quietly released version 6.5 of both vCenter and ESXi today!  An announcement had come out regarding the availability for downloads sometime in Q4 2016… and here it is!

As mentioned in a previous post, this is a pretty significant upgrade/release.  There are many changes in this release that I feel will lend significant value to end users.

One of the biggest pushes VMware has going on right now is to move everyone to the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) and away from Microsoft Windows-based vCenter servers.  One of the biggest items keeping from people from cutting over is that VMware Update Manager requires a Windows machine so it is convenient in smaller installations to run both vCenter and VUM from the same server.  Now, however, VUM has been integrated into the VCSA!  So, with that inclusion, people are anxious now more than ever to migrate and upgrade.

Upgrading VCSA 6.0 U2 to 6.5 via GUI

The cliff notes for this process are:

  • Mount/extract/etc. the ISO
  • On the old VCSA, turn ssh on
  • Run installer.exe
  • Point to an existing vCenter/ESXi in order to provision the new VCSA instance (read more below)
  • Specify what data will be migrated
  • Power-off the old VCSA
  • Import the data defined earlier
  • Enjoy VCSA 6.5 GA

It is important to note that during this process the original VCSA is powered off but is not deleted.  You will need to delete the appliance yourself.  VMware is kind enough to let you do this at your own leisure in case anything goes whacky during the process.

Now, let’s get started!

Download the VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 ISO from https://my.vmware.com and either mount it or burn it to DVD.  Once mounted, you can run the installer in [CD]:\vcsa-ui-installer\win32\installer.exe and will be presented with the following window.  For this effort we’re going to choose “Upgrade” from the menu below:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

The following screen introduces the product and process:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

You have to accept the usual terms and conditions:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

The “Deploy appliance” screen is a little confusing since we’ve chosen to upgrade our existing VCSA.  However, what the upgrade does is actually deploy a new VCSA and migrate settings and database over to the new appliance.  Sneaky, VMware, sneaky!

Enter your existing appliance FQDN or IP along with your SSO username and password, then specify a vCenter or host that manages the existing appliance:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

Accept the certificates from both the vCenter and host:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

The next screen allows you to specify where the new appliance is deployed.  Specify the FQDN or IP of your host or vCenter server along with credentials necessary:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

Again, accept the certificate for the ESXi host or vCenter server you’re using as a target:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

Provide the VM name of your new vCenter server.  Again, we’re going to end up with a new appliance, so name it in accordance to whatever your standard is.  Obviously, you cannot use the same VM name as the existing VCSA:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

If you’re experienced with deploying VCSA 6.0 then you might recognize that the resources changed a bit in the next screen shot.  I am going to use a “Tiny” deployment, but this size used to require 2 vCPU and 8GB of RAM.  Now, it looks like it requires 10GB of RAM:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

As usual, pick your storage and choose whether or not you want to deploy the VCSA thick or thin:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

Next up is the network configuration page.  Specify your temporary IP address – this is the IP address that the new upgraded VCSA will be stood up with, but will ultimately be redefined with the IP of the original appliance:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

Review your configuration and click finish to begin the actual deployment:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

The actual deployment kicks off:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

Very soon thereafter, you’re done!

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

Well, hold on a second – we’re done Stage 1.  There’s more to this.  You can see the message in the above window stating that you can visit https://[IP of new VCSA]:5480 to continue the upgrade if you get disconnected.  Or, you can hit continue.  Once you continue, you’ll the following screen explaining that we’re now going to move data (taking a snapshot on the original VCSA may not be a bad idea at this point).  Click next to continue:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

Next, we… oh no!

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

Well jeez – would have been nice to know that we need to connect to the existing VCSA via ssh!  So, we’ll go enable ssh on the existing VCSA and click close, then back, and retry the pre-upgrade checks (you can enable ssh by going to https://[IP of original VCSA]:5480 and turning on ssh from the Access tab).  If you have any firewalls between the new instance and old instance of your VCSA then you’ll need to make sure TCP port 22 is open.

Once we retry the pre-checks, we pass but with warnings:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

The warnings above simply state to turn off fully automated DRS during the upgrade while also letting us know that the vSphere Replication extension that I have in use may not be compatible with the new vCenter server.  Onward!

This is the cool part – we get to pick whether we want to import just the configuration, the configuration with events and tasks, or the configuration, events, tasks, and performance metrics.  I am going to choose the third option – Configuration, events, tasks, and performance metrics.  You may choose another option if your environment has significant data and migrating it is unreasonable or you just don’t care:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

The next screen is the typical Customer Experience Improvement Program opt-in which I am choosing to defer:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

One more review screen – this screen shows you again that you’ll have a temporary IP on the new instance as well as the FQDN of the new instance once the migration is complete.  Of course we’re going to check the box “I backed up the source vCenter Server“, right?  Click finish!

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

The following screenshots so the next few screens you’ll click through:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

If you have the vSphere client open directly to your host, you can open the console of your existing VCSA 6.0 and watch it shutdown, etc.  VMware is so nice – I would have just yanked the power 🙂

After some more waiting, the Active Directory configuration is setup, the VMware Identity Management services are started, Postgres is setup, all sorts of cool data is imported (like the Content Library!), etc.  Finally, we’re done:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

Everything was successful as noted by the message beneath the completion bar.  Perfect!

When we access the new vCenter via the browser it’s apparent that 6.0 authentication plugin is not working.  So, we need to click the link for the Enhanced Authentication Plugin:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

While I did install the Enhanced Authentication Plugin, I was not able to check the “Use Windows session authentication” on the page.  I was, however, able to login with my AD credentials:

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

 

Everything is looking good!  One thing worth mentioning is that when visiting https://[VCSA].domain.local/ you’ll find that there is a vSphere client with flash and without, but that the client without is listed as “partial functionality” at this time.  Sad face.

VCSA 6.5 Upgrade

Still, everything works well!  Thanks for following along.  I’ll report back with any other findings.  I’ll also be making a video for those who prefer that.

Thanks again and please remember to comment and subscribe!

Author: Jon

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26 Comments

  1. I must say you have very interesting posts here. Your posts can go viral.
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    Post a Reply
  2. Hello,
    When i get to step 7 i can only select X-Large, The other deployment options are not visible.
    Do you know how i can make a Tiny one?
    Thank you

    Post a Reply
  3. Excellent article!

    Heads up to those using Distributed Switches: The migration process doesn’t support vDS, you won’t be able to select any vDS portgroup for the new appliance.

    Workaround is to create a standard vSwitch with access to the old appliance’s network and use it during the migration. After all done, the new VCSA NIC can be remapped to the distributed switch portgroup.

    Post a Reply
  4. I got an error on 50% of coping source vCSA and after shutdown source vCSA 6

    error saying Invalid IP Adress/Prefix provided 192.168.0.114/24/255.255.255.0

    Failed to set network

    This IP was for the source seems an issue happend when set target vCSA network with source vCSA IP after shut it down !!!!

    Any advise .

    Thank you

    Post a Reply
    • Can you check your source VCSA if there is a gateway provided? Try populate the gateway in your source VCSA and try again. Hope this helps… I have done almost 100 upgrades for this issue and bang my head hundred over times… damm buggy product….

      Post a Reply
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        Post a Reply
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        Post a Reply
  5. My upgrade failed on Stage 2 after source appliance shutdown with Error
    Error setting DNS configuration. Details : Operation Failed.. Code: com.vmware.applmgmt.err_operation_failed
    Failed to set DNS

    I tried several times, even without domain names, only ip address, but no luck:(

    Post a Reply
    • Solved!
      After a lot of unsuccessful upgrades found an issue. I using dual stack, and upgrade process failed setting IPv6 DNS server. I reconfigured it from source VCSA but the issue still was there. Then i completely removed IPv6 config from source VCSA and my DNS. Upgrade was successful! After upgrade i configured IPv6 again with no problem.
      But now i cannot change timezone in VCSA… and my chrome session ends immediately after login to VAMI console. Firefox working good.

      Post a Reply
      • Log into vcsa bash shell using ssh and delete /etc/localtime (# unlink /etc/localtime). You will be able to change timezone again.

        Post a Reply
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        Post a Reply
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        Post a Reply
  6. Hello Jon

    i get the following failure every time.

    The Setup is at “Start VMware Identity Management Service …” at 5%

    The setup stops working. This is the protocol:

    Failure

    An internal error occurred. Traceback (most recent call last): File “/usr/lib/vmidentity/firstboot/vmidentity-firstboot.py”, line 2018, in main vmidentityFB.boot() File “/usr/lib/vmidentity/firstboot/vmidentity-firstboot.py”, line 349, in boot self.configureSTS(self.__stsRetryCount, self.__stsRetryInterval) File “/usr/lib/vmidentity/firstboot/vmidentity-firstboot.py”, line 1479, in configureSTS self.startSTSService() File “/usr/lib/vmidentity/firstboot/vmidentity-firstboot.py”, line 1141, in startSTSService returnCode = self.startService(self.__sts_service_name, self.__stsRetryCount * self.__stsRetryInterval) File “/usr/lib/vmidentity/firstboot/vmidentity-firstboot.py”, line 88, in startService return service_start(svc_name, wait_time) File “/usr/lib/vmware/site-packages/cis/utils.py”, line 784, in service_start raise ServiceStartException(svc_name) ServiceStartException: { “resolution”: null, “detail”: [ { “args”: [ “vmware-stsd” ], “id”: “install.ciscommon.service.failstart”, “localized”: “An error occurred while starting service ‘vmware-stsd'”, “translatable”: “An error occurred while starting service ‘%(0)s'” } ], “componentKey”: null, “problemId”: null }

    Solution

    This is an unrecoverable error. Repeat the installation. If this error occurs again, collect a support package and open a support request.

    Markus

    Post a Reply
    • Have you found a solution. I’m facing the same issue.

      Post a Reply
  7. Thanks for the post, I too am receiving a vix error code as well:

    2016-11-16T17:56:43.927Z – debug: initiateFileTransferFromGuest error: ServerFaultCode: A general system error occurred: vix error codes = (1, 4294967288).

    2016-11-16T17:56:43.928Z – debug: Failed to get fileTransferInfo:ServerFaultCode: A general system error occurred: vix error codes = (1, 4294967288).

    2016-11-16T17:56:43.928Z – debug: Failed to get url of file in guest vm:ServerFaultCode: A general system error occurred: vix error codes = (1, 4294967288).

    2016-11-16T17:56:43.928Z – error: Error in getting fileData for nodeType. Error: ServerFaultCode: A general system error occurred: vix error codes = (1, 4294967288).

    2016-11-16T17:56:43.929Z – error: Failed to read the nodetype, Error: A general system error occurred: vix error codes = (1, 4294967288).

    2016-11-16T17:56:43.929Z – error: sourcePrecheck: error in getting source Info: ServerFaultCode: A general system error occurred: vix error codes = (1, 4294967288).

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  8. Hello, Jon!
    I found a problem with the update at the first stage, step 3 (connect to source appliance). After the certificate error message “A problem occurred while getting data from the source vCenter Server.” Because of what it could be?
    On install.log text of error:
    “2016-11-16T14:47:19.281Z – debug: initiateFileTransferFromGuest error: ServerFaultCode: A general system error occurred: vix error codes = (1, 4294967258).
    2016-11-16T14:47:19.283Z – debug: Failed to get fileTransferInfo:ServerFaultCode: A general system error occurred: vix error codes = (1, 4294967258).
    2016-11-16T14:47:19.283Z – debug: Failed to get url of file in guest vm:ServerFaultCode: A general system error occurred: vix error codes = (1, 4294967258).
    2016-11-16T14:47:19.283Z – error: Error in getting fileData for nodeType. Error: ServerFaultCode: A general system error occurred: vix error codes = (1, 4294967258).
    2016-11-16T14:47:19.284Z – error: Failed to read the nodetype, Error: A general system error occurred: vix error codes = (1, 4294967258).
    2016-11-16T14:47:19.284Z – error: sourcePrecheck: error in getting source Info: ServerFaultCode: A general system error occurred: vix error codes = (1, 4294967258).”

    Post a Reply
      • Hi, Can you help me with this error

        Unable to retrieve the migration assistant extension on source vCenter Server. Make sure migration assistant is running on the VUM server.

        I downloaded iso file and mount my local PC and run application.

        Post a Reply
      • Hi Jon, Can you help me with this error
        “Unable to retrieve the migration assistant extension on source vCenter Server. Make sure migration assistant is running on the VUM server.”

        I downloaded iso file and mount my local PC and run install application.

        Post a Reply
        • You need to check in the migration-assistant folder and run that on the server that’s got VUM installed on it, leave it running until the migration completes.

          Post a Reply
  9. Hello Jon and thank you for the post.
    The one difference i found in my home lab is when upgrading from VCSA 6.0.020000 to 6.5. On stage 1 i had to launch VMware-Migration-Assistant.exe from ISO/migration-assistant. All the rest went smoothly!

    BR/Nikita

    Post a Reply
    • While doing the upgrade getting folloing error in log initiateFileTransferFromGuest error: ServerFaultCode: The guest operations agent is out of date. any help is appreciated.

      Post a Reply
  10. Yes good point – during the upgrade you need to specify a standard switch

    Post a Reply

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