DefinIT

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

vSphere 6 Lab Upgrade – Upgrading ESXi 5.5

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.

Checking for driver compatibility

In vSphere 5.5, VMware dropped the drivers for quite a few consumer grade NICs – in 6 they’ve gone a step further and actually blocked quite a few of these using a VIB package. For more information, see this excellent article by Andreas Peetz.

To list the NIC drivers you’re using on your ESXi hosts, use the following command:

esxcli network nic list | awk ‘{print $1}’|grep [0-9]|while read a;do ethtool -i $a;done

image

As you can see from the results, my HP N54Ls are running 3 NICs, a Broadcom onboard and two Intel PCI NICs. Fortunately the Broadcom chip is supported and the e1000e driver I’m using is compatible with vSphere 6 and is in fact superseded by a native driver package. (more…)

vSphere 6 Lab Upgrade – vCenter Server Appliance

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.

(more…)

Upgrading to ESXi 5.0 Update 1 using VMware Update Manager

VMwareI’m currently updating a very small 4-host cluster built for a specific application within our datacentre, the hosts are IBM HS22 blades. Since we have the VMware Update Manager infrastructure in place already, I downloaded the IBM ESXi 5.0 Update 2 ISO and imported it into Update Manager, created a baseline and then applied it to the cluster. I scanned the cluster with the baseline and was issued this warning for each host:

HS22 Upgrade Error 1

That’s fine – there is anĀ option to remove those modules when you remediate the host. (more…)