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Upgrade to vSphere 5.5 – Part 5 – Upgrading hosts with Update Manager and vCenter Server 5.5

czwartek, Grudzień 19th, 2013

1. Introduction
2. Upgrading a stand-alone host
3. Upgrading vCenter Server with Simple Install
4. Upgrading vCenter Server components manualy
5. Upgrading hosts with Update Manager and vCenter Server 5.5
6. Upgrading virtual machines

Upgrading ESXi host with Update Manager is pretty straight forward and easy too. Mind that you can make use of the Orchestrated Upgrade and upgrade the whole cluster with a few clicks while vSphere will take care about VM migration, upgrades, reboots order, etc. In the example below I upgrade one host only. Before you start the procedure make sure your vCenter Server and Upgrade Manager are already upgraded to version 5.5 and Update Manager plugin for vCenter Server enabled.

The first thing you need to do is to download ESXi 5.5 iso. You may want to grab a customized iso from your vendor to be sure al drivers are included. Connect to vCenter Server, select Update Manager and click on Admin View:

Select ESXi images tab. In the right, click on Import ESXi Image… and browse to search for the iso:

When the image is uploaded

create a new baseline and click Finish.

Go back to the Compliance View and right-click under attached Baselinse and select Attach… Choose your new baseline and it will get attached to the host.

Still in the Compliance View, in the right click on Scan…

In the Confirm Scan window uncheck Patches and Extensions and check Upgrades.

Wait for the scan to finish. The host will show as non compiliant:

Make sure your new baseline is selected and click on Remediate. Accept the license agreement, choose your options regarding third-party software removal during the upgrade and host maintenance options. During the upgrade the host will reboot.

VMware Update Manager Download Service to download them all…

piątek, Listopad 1st, 2013

Many times vCenter Server and Update Manager reside on the same server and for security reasons there is no access to internet from this machine. So what do you do to patch your ESXi hosts? You can download bundles from an other server and import them into Update Manager. You can try patching the hosts manually, without UM. Or you could try VMware Download Manager. This tool is little known but can save you a lot of trouble by downloading patches and creating a store Update Manager can use on a another server with access to the internet.

As vSphere 5.1 documentation says „VMware vSphere Update Manager Download Service (UMDS) is an optional module of Update Manager. UMDS downloads upgrades for virtual appliances, patch metadata, patch binaries, and notifications that would not otherwise be available to the Update Manager server.” So this is exactly what we need. First things first though so let’s have a look on Download Manager’s requirements:

  • it cannot share the same machine with Update Manager (otherwise, why would you need Download Manager in the first place?);
  • previous versions of UMDS must be uninstalled before you try to install it from vSphere 5.1 installation media;
  • server to install UMDS must be x64;
  • and last but not least – access to the internet on the server you intend to install DM to.

Ok, let’s start the installtion from vSphere 5.1 installation media \umds folder. It is pretty straight-forward. Go through the welcome screen, license agreement, etc.  If you don’t have MS SQL server it can install MS SQL 2008 R2 Express edition for you. If you do, you will need to create 32-bit ODBC as UMDS is 32-bit applications. You will be able to configure proxy as well. Now when the installation has finished, let’s have a look on the tool. First mind that it is purely CLI-based tool so there is no GUI. Secondly, there is only one binary to run and that is (by default located in Program Files x86\Vmware\Infrastructure\Update Manager):

vmware-umds.exe

Run it and you will see all possible switches. -D will start download:

vmware-umds.exe -D

but wait a minute. First, let’s configure what should be downloaded. To list supported platforms use:

vmware-umds.exe --list-host-platforms

and the outcome will be something similar to:

[2013-10-29 00:40:59:876 '' 2244 ALERT]  [logUtil, 265] Product = VMware Update
Manager, Version = 5.1.0, Build = 1022478
Supported ESX Host platforms:
embeddedEsx-4.0.0
embeddedEsx-4.1.0
embeddedEsx-5.0.0
embeddedEsx-5.1.0
esx-4.0.0
esx-4.1.0

To enable download for ESX 4.1 insert:

vmware-umds.exe -S -e esx4.0.0

Make sure that the configuration is ok:

vmware-umds.exe -G

To download the updates for host / VA versions you enabled:

vmware-umds.exe -D

And finaly to configure the store that will be used by Update Manager and export downloads to it:

vmware-umds.exe -E --export-store <path_to_the_store>

Simple as that. Now configure Update Manager to use that store and voila!. There is another tool that comes with UMDS and it is VMwareupdateManagerUtility.exe located in the same folder. It will allow you to change proxy and database settings later on if necessary.

Upgrade to vSphere 5.1 – Part 5 – Upgrading virtual machines

poniedziałek, Październik 15th, 2012

This is part 5 of the series Upgrading to vSphere 5.1. Make sure to check out the other parts as well.

Part 1 – Upgrading a stand-alone host
Part 2 – Prerequisites for upgrading with Update Manager 1/2
Part 3 – Prerequisites for upgrading with Update Manager 2/2
Part 4 – Upgrading the hosts with Update Manager
Part 5 – Upgrading virtual machines
Part 6 – Upgrading datastores

VMware documentation on the upgrade can be found here.

In this part I will describe how to update virtual machine hardware and VMware Tools on your virtual machines individually and automatically with Update Manager.

VM hardware version 8 was introduced in vSphere 5.0 and provides a lot of benefits like 32 vCPUs per VM, 1TB of vRAM per VM, better performance and more. Version 9 came with vSphere 5.1 and offers 64 vCPUs, support for 3D acceletation in View, etc.

You should upgrade VMware Tools on your VMs as a part of regular maintenance in order to provide your VMs with best performance and out of bugs and security holes.

1. Manual upgrade

After your all hosts are upgraded to 5.x you can upgrade you virtual machines hardware version to 8 or 9. You can upgrade several machines at time by selecting them all with presses Ctrl key. Just right-click on a machine and select Upgrade Virtual Hardware…

Upgrading VM(s) manually from vsphere client

Upgrading VM(s) manually from vsphere client

You should not do it however if you’re planning to run these machines on 4.x hosts. Click Yes to continue

Check if the VMs that are to be updated will not have to run on 4.x in the future

Check if the VMs that are to be updated will not have to run on 4.x in the future

and wait for the upgrade to finish.

Upgrade completed

Upgrade completed

VM reporting hardware version 9

Manual upgrade of VMware Tools is also very simple. Select one ore more VM as before, right-click and select Guest > Install / Upgrade VMware Tools.

Upgrading VMware Tools manually

Upgrading VMware Tools manually

Mind that in order to complete the upgrade your VM will need to be rebooted. However, if you are upgrading VMware Tools on ESXi 5.1 this will be the last reboot necessary when upgrading VMware Tools – all other upgrades in the future will not require VM reboot.

2. Upgrade with Update Manager

To use Update Manager on virtual machinnes change the view to Inventory > VMs and Templates. Click on Update Manager tab.

Update Manager tab

Update Manager tab

If you have not created any baseline for VMs before, the window will be empty.

No baselines

No baselines

In the upper-right corner click on Admin View… Click on View Baselines for VMs/VAs button.

Showing existing baselines for VMs / VAs

Showing existing baselines for VMs / VAs

As you can see there are three predefined baselines and at this moment we are interested in two of them:

VMware Tools Upgrade to Match Host (will upgrade VMware Tools the the highest level available on the host your VM is located on)
VM Hardware Upgrade to Match Host (the same but for virtual machine hardware, if the hosts are 5.1 that will be version 9)

Go back to Inventory > VMs and Templates to Update Manager tab. In the left listig select a VM / folder / datacenter with VMs you’d like to upgrade. Right click and attach one or both baselines mentioned above.

Attaching the baselines

Attaching the baselines

In the example below I use a VM with Windows 7 created on ESXi 5.0 using version 7 of virtual machine hardware and VMware tools from ESXi 5.0.

When the baselines are attached, click on Scan… and confirm what you’d like to scan for.

Scanning for VMware Tools and VM hardware version

Scanning for VMware Tools and VM hardware version

As one can see, the VM’s VMware tools and virtual machine hardware version are up-to-date.

The VM is compliant with both baselines

The VM is compliant with both baselines

Then I moved the VM to a 5.1 host, attached again the baselines and scanned the machine.

On 5.1 the same VM reports non-compliant / incompatible

The machine is incompatible for the virtual machine hardware part just because VMware Tools are not updated. I will apply VMware Tools baseline to the machine.

VMware Tools are not up-to-date on this host

VMware Tools are not up-to-date on this host

On the schedule page you can see an interesting setting called Upgrade VMware Tools on power cycle that does basically what it says – upgrades the Tools when the machine reboots or powers off.

Delay VMware Tools upgrade till power cycle

Delay VMware Tools upgrade till power cycle

You can also set different schedules for VMs in different states:

Schedule your upgrade or run immediately

Schedule your upgrade or run immediately

It is also possible to take a snapshot of VMs before remediation. When you start the upgrade process and connect to the VM you will see that the upgrade is really in progress. When done, the guest will be shut down and restarted.

Automatic snapshot creation

Automatic snapshot creation

VMware upgrader process running

VMware upgrader process running

VM will be restarted

VM was restarted

When the remediation process is completed you will see that gues is compliant with the VMware Tools baseline.

VMware Tools were updated

VMware Tools were updated

Let’s scan it again for VM hardware. Incompatible changes to non-compliant. The remediation process for VM hardware is almost identical except for the fact that there is nothing to be installed on the guest OS level and the guest will be shut down at once. After a while this is the result:

The VM is fully up-to-date and compliant

The summary tab of the VM reports the same:

Hardware version 9 and current VMware Tools

Hardware version 9 and current VMware Tools

Resources

Overview of VMware Tools