vSphere 6 Lab Upgrade – Overview

vsphere logoI tested vSphere 6 quite intensively when it was in beta, but I didn’t ever upgrade my lab – basically because I need a stable environment to work on and I wasn’t sure that I could maintain that with the beta.

Now 6 has been GA a while and I have a little bit of time, I have begun the lab upgrade process. You can see a bit more about my lab hardware over on my lab page.

I will be upgrading

  • vCenter Server Appliance – currently 5.5 update 1
  • vSphere Update Manager – currently 5.5 update 1
  • 3 HP N54L resource hosts
  • 1 Intel NUC management host

In my lab I run various VMware software suites listed below, although I typically run them in nested environments to keep my lab install relatively clean.

  • vCloud Director
  • vRealize Automation
  • vRealize Orchestrator
  • NSX

Other considerations:

  • VSAN – I currently run VSAN 5.5 and will need to upgrade to 6.0
  • Update Manager – I’d prefer to update my hosts using Update Manager where possible
  • Certificates – I currently use a Microsoft CA, I’d like to move to the VMCA as a subordinate CA
  • Drivers – VMware changed the drivers supported in ESXi, some consumer grade drivers are blacklisted
  • Backup – I use the excellent Veeam Backup and Replication to protect key lab machines, and I know that it doesn’t yet support vSphere 6. That’s a hit I can take in my lab.

To upgrade I need to first verify everything is compatible using the VMware Product Interoperability Matrixes.

High level plan

Having read a lot of vSphere 6 docs, my upgrade plan is as follows:

  1. Upgrade vCenter Server Appliance
  2. Upgrade vSphere Update Manager
  3. Upgrade ESXi
  4. Upgrade VSAN
  5. Upgrade nested labs and other software suites