vCenter Server upgrades with the reduced downtime
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vCenter Server upgrades with the reduced downtime

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Article ID: 313288

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Updated On:

Products

VMware vCenter Server

Issue/Introduction

1. Description

Reduced Downtime Upgrade (RDU) is a new mechanism introduced for upgrading the self-managed vCenter Servers with decreased downtime. Self-managed vCenter Server is one that manages its own ESXi host and its own virtual machine. This does not require a jump host to mount the ISO but the vCenter ISO needs to be mounted on the CD-ROM device of the vCenter Server Virtual Machine. The Workflow is integrated inside the vCenter Server itself.


2. Supported upgrade paths

Source VersionTarget Version
8.0 GA8.0 U2 or later releases
8.0 U18.0 U2 or later releases
8.0 P028.0 U2 or later releases
8.0 U2Releases later than 8.0 U2


3. Known issues



Environment

VMware vCenter Server 8.0.2

Resolution

Workflow
 

1. Download and mount ISO

  1. The ISO needs to be downloaded in the Content Library/Datastore which is connected to the vCenter Virtual Machine or in the content library of the Managing vCenter.

  2. Go to the properties of the vCenter Server Virtual Machine.
    image 4.png

  1. Connect the VCSA ISO to CD-ROM by browsing the datastore/content library.

  2. Select the Connected checkbox and click OK.


2. Flow 1: Upgrade from version 8.0 GA, 8.0 U1, 8.0 P02 to 8.0 U2
  1. Set the target in VAMI (vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface) while using the offline custom repository. If online repository is used, make sure that the Default Repository URL is selected.
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  1. Go to Update Planner
update planner.png
 
  1. Select the Target 8.0 U2 version.
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  1. Ensure the backup of the vCenter Server has been taken, then Perform Update Plugin from the Upgrade Planner page.
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Note: An error might be encountered which says "Update 8.0.x.xxxxxx for component vlcm is not found". To remediate this error, follow Patching vCenter to 8.0U2 using Update Planner fails with error "Update 8.0.2.00000 for component vlcm is not found"

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Once the plugin is upgraded the page will refresh to load the new UI.
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  1. The new UI should reload with ISO options
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  1. There is a discard functionality in the workflow. This can be used to discard all information which has been currently entered in the workflow.
Note: This does not revert the "Upgrade Plugin"
 
  1. Mount the Target 8.0 U2 ISO on the vCenter. Please refer to Download and mount ISO for more information.
mount target.png
 
  1. On the Update planner page the ISO File gets updated with the current version, proceed to next
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  1. Ensure the backup is completed. 
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  1. No Update Plugin required and Prepare Target should be enabled
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  1. Please read and accept the License Agreement.
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  1. Join the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP)
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  1. Target location ( Deploy in same location as source) .
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  1. The configuration with which you can deploy the target vCenter which can be the same configuration as source or user can select the detailed configuration.
target deployment.png
 
  1. Select the datacenter or Virtual Machine Folder where the target vCenter Server needs to be deployed
target deployment_1.png
 
  1. Select the Compute Resource to deploy the target vCenter Server.
compute resource.png
 
  1. This contains the Virtual Machine name and temporary root password. However post upgrading the same root password as source will be applied.
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  1. The source machine deployment size is displayed here based on this the user can select the Deployment Size for the target.
Note: The Deployment size configuration can be same or greater than the source.
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  1. Select the target Datastore location where the vCenter Server will be deployed.
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  1. Network Settings
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  1. Review and proceed with Finish.
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  1. The configuration for the target (upgraded) vCenter server is now saved. Proceed to upgrade steps.
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Once the prepare target is complete, user can click on switchover. This operation will include downtime of around 10 mins.
 
upgrade.png
 
  1. There is an option to “Cancel upgrade” . Once clicked on this, the upgrade will be cancelled and can be triggered again.
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  1. Switchover: Do not close this window or else we would not see any progress of the upgrade. The switchover is the step where source vCenter Server configuration is applied to the target vCenter Server and the target vCenter Server starts all the services on it to start accepting requests.
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3. Flow 2: Upgrade from version 8.0 U2 to later than 8.0 U2

  1. Go to Update Planner, The new UI should load with the ISO options
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  1. Continue to Backup, Update Plugin steps
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  1. Mount the Target 8.0 U2 ISO on the VC. Please refer to ISO downloading and mounting for more information.
mount target.png
  1. Update the Plugin to the version later than 8.0 U2 from the ISO, page gets refreshed post this.
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  1. Prepare Target should be enabled
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  1. Please read and accept the license agreement.
 image.png
  1. Join the Customer Experience Improvement Program
 image.png
  1. Target Location
 image.png
  1. The configuration with which you can deploy the target vCenter which can be the same configuration as source or user can select the detailed configuration.
target deployment_2.png
  1. Select the datacenter or Virtual Machine Folder where the target vCenter Server needs to be deployed
 
 image.png
  1. Select the Compute Resource to deploy the target vCenter Server.
target deployment_3.png
  1. This contains the Virtual Machine name and temporary root password. However post upgrading the same root password as source will be applied.
image.png
 
  1. The source machine deployment size is displayed here based on this the user can select the Deployment Size for the target.

    Note: The Deployment size configuration can be same or greater than the source.
 image.png
  1. Select the target Datastore location where the vCenter Server will be deployed.
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  1. Network Settings
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Note: Mac Changes is set to 'Reject' on portgroups VM Network used by the vCenter. Forged Transmits is set to 'Reject' on portgroups VM Network used by the vCenter. This could prevent from a successful upgrade.
  1. Review and confirm the data
review config_1.png
  1. The configuration for the target (upgraded) vCenter server is now saved. Proceed to upgrade steps
image new 21.png

Once the prepare target is complete, user can click on switchover. This operation will include downtime of around 10 mins.
upgrade.png
  1. There is an option “Cancel upgrade” as well. Once clicked on this, the upgrade will be cancelled and can be triggered again.
image new 23.png
  1. Switchover: Do not close this window or else we would not see any progress of the upgrade. The switchover is the step where source vCenter Server configuration is applied to the target vCenter Server and the target vCenter Server starts all the services on it to start accepting requests.
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  1. Cancellation

After failed upgrade

  • If the upgrade fails, the upgrade will automatically revert to the source machine and bring it to the state it was in before the upgrade. There is no action required from the user.
  • The logs should be collected using Collecting diagnostic information for VMware vCenter Server 4.x, 5.x, 6.x and 7.0 and send to VMware Support to open a ticket.

After successful upgrade

  • It is important to note that upon canceling the upgrade, the target vCenter Server machine which is deployed, is automatically deleted.
  • If for any reason, the user wants to revert to the source machine, they will need to power on the source machine, this will trigger the cancelation on the source machine and will delete the target machine.

Miscellanous

  1. Important

Disconnect the network adapter of the source VCSA VM after the successful upgrade. This is required because of the current functionality of the source VM that if powered on, deleted the target VM.
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  1. Unsupported topologies

    TopologySource VersionTarget VersionUser Visible
    Behavior
    Support ETA
    VCHA8.0, 8.0u18.0 u2image.pngFuture Patch Release.
    Uber Managed8.0, 8.0u18.0 u2image.pngFuture Patch Release.
    ELM8.0, 8.0u18.0 u2image.pngFuture Patch Release.
    DUAL IP Stack8.0, 8.0u1, 8.0u2 image.pngFuture Patch Release.
    Deploy on ESXi8.0, 8.0u1, 8.0u28.0u2 and 8.0 u2+image.pngFuture Patch Release.
  2. Disclaimers

i. Users should not be using multiple lifecycle operations at the same time. for example, they should not use Reduced downtime upgrade and VAMi at the same time. This may interfere in already running lifecycle event and may lead to corrupt vCenter Server.

ii. If the ISO is mounted from the Reduced downtime upgrade workflow, VAMI (vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface) should not be used to upgrade the vCenter Server as it is not patch iso which is used to update the vCenter Server to the minor version update.

iii. Only single administrator should be performing the Reduced downtime upgrade workflow at any given point in time
 
 
 
 

Additional Information

Patching vCenter to 8.0U2 using Update Planner fails with error "Update 8.0.2.00000 for component vlcm is not found"