How to easily update your VMware vCenter Server Appliance from 6.x to 6.7 (VCSA 6.7 Build 8217866)

Posted by Paul Braren on Apr 18 2018 (updated on May 7 2018) in
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • HowTo
  • HomeLab
  • This article is a work in progress, a bookmark if you will, for when the full process and video are available. As always, you need to upgrade VCSA to 6.7 before you upgrade your ESXi host(s) to 6.7, see also Eric Siebert's Important information to know before upgrading to vSphere 6.7 and Brandon Lee's VMware vSphere ESXi 6.7 New Features Installing and Upgrading.


    You'll want to read the following Release Notes in full before getting started:

    vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-67-release-notes
    • vSphere 6.7 Release Notes
      vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 | 17 APR 2018 | Build 8217866

      ...
      ESXi and vCenter Server Version Compatibility
      The VMware Product Interoperability Matrix provides details about the compatibility of current and earlier versions of VMware vSphere components, including ESXi, VMware vCenter Server, and optional VMware products. Check the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix also for information about supported management and backup agents before you install ESXi or vCenter Server.

      The vSphere Update Manager, vSphere Client, and vSphere Web Client are packaged with vCenter Server.

      Hardware Compatibility for ESXi
      To view a list of processors, storage devices, SAN arrays, and I/O devices that are compatible with vSphere 6.7, use the ESXi 6.7 information in the VMware Compatibility Guide.
      ...

    • Important information before upgrading to vSphere 6.7 (53704)

      ...
      For vSphere
      See the vSphere 6.7 GA Release Notes for information on unsupported CPU's in vSphere 6.7.
      Devices deprecated and unsupported in ESXi 6.7
      Windows 2003 and XP are no longer supported
      VMware Performance Impact for CVE-2017-5753, CVE-2017-5715, CVE-2017-5754 (aka Spectre and Meltdown)
      Windows 7 and 2008 virtual machines lose network connectivity on VMware Tools 10.2.0
      It is not possible to upgrade directly from vSphere 5.5 to vSphere 6.7.
      ...

    • Update sequence for vSphere 6.7 and its compatible VMware products (53710)

      Apr 18 2018 VMware KB
      Document Id
      53710
      Purpose
      VMware has made available certain releases to address critical issues and architectural changes for several products to allow for continued interoperability:

      • vRealize Automation (vRA)
      • vRealize Orchestrator (vRB)
      • vRealize Business for Cloud (vRBC)
      • vRealize Operations (vROps)
      • vRealize Operations Manager End-Point Operations Agent
      • vRealize Log Insight (vRLI)
      • vRealize Log Insight Agent
      • VMware vSphere Storage APIs – Data Protection (vADP)-based Backup Solution
      • NSX for vSphere (NSX-v)
      • Platform Services Controller External (PSC)
      • vCenter Server
      • vSphere Update Manager (VUM)
      • vSphere Replication (VR)
      • Site Recovery Manager (SRM)
      • ESXi
      • vSAN
      • Virtual Hardware
      • VMware Tools
        ...

    There are different paths to get to VCSA 6.7. Emad Younis has a wealth of information for you, see:

    You'll also need to carefully read VMware Docs vCenter Server Upgrade.

    I'm still working on what will be available via VAMI CD ROM ISO mounting and/or URL download methods, stay tuned.

    Install

    VCSA ISO file's Win/Mac/Linux installer

    VAMI-6-7-Install

    This is a fresh install, where no VCSA existed before. That type of install is out of scope for this easy update article.

    Upgrade using VAMI

    For environments with any VCSA 6.0 or VCSA 6.5 version, and a functioning connection to the internet. I don't yet have video of an upgrade to 6.7 prepared, meanwhile, you can see 6.5 VAMI update video below.

    As of Apr 27 2018, if you try to update 6.5 via VAMI updates, you get this error:

    Available Updates
    Update Status
    Latest updates already installed on vCSA, nothing to stage/install

    VCSA-6.5U1g-VAMI-Check-Repository-option-result-on-2018-04-27-2018--TinkerTry
    On Apr 27 2018, trying to get from 6.5 to 6.7 directly from VAMI's updater doesn't work, it seems you'll need to use the ISO/installer method instead.
    TinkerTry-5-step-VCSA-update-65U1
    For 6.5 to later patches, you simply clicked on 'Update' along the left edge of DCUI, then clicked on 'Check Updates', then 'Check Repository', then under Available Updates, clicked on 'Install Updates' then choose 'Install All Updates', accept the EULA, and when it's done downloading and upgrading, you were prompted to reboot the VCSA appliance.

    Upgrade using VCSA ISO file's Win/Mac/Linux installer

    VAMI-6-7-Upgrade

    When moving from 6.0 or 6.5 to 6.7, my understanding is that the wizard will essentially be replacing your VCSA under the covers, migrating all your data over, then removing the old VCSA only if the migration succeeds. When moving from 6.0 to 6.5 or 6.7, it's a move form SuSE to Photon OS, which is much more svelte, reboots a lot faster, and is now even faster on 6.7 than it was on 6.5, see Introducing VMware vSphere 6.7!

    Moreover, with vSphere 6.7 vCSA delivers phenomenal performance improvements (all metrics compared at cluster scale limits, versus vSphere 6.5):

    2X faster performance in vCenter operations per second
    3X reduction in memory usage
    3X faster DRS-related operations (e.g. power-on virtual machine)

    This is how the first screen looks when you mount/open your VCSA 6.5 ISO file
    VMware-VCSA-all-6.7.0-8217866.iso
    then explore that mounted drive to find your way to the installer. Here's the path to the Windows installer, but note that there are Mac and Linux versions too!
    \vcsa-ui-installer\win32\installer.exe

    I'm still working on testing this upgrade method, basically you walk through the wizard and answer the questions, which tends to be straight-forward if you have proper DNS including FQDN and reverse lookups.

    Migrate

    Using VCSA ISO file's Win/Mac/Linux installer

    VAMI-6-7-Migrate

    These type of upgrades or updates are out of scope for this easy update article, see also Emad Younis' excellent work at vCenter Server 6.7 What’s New Rundown and Introducing vCenter Server 6.7.

    Validation

    Once you've finished the upgrade, your VAMI UI will show you're at 6.7.0.10000 Build Number 8217866.

    VCSA-VAMI-new-Clarity-UI-for-6-7-TinkerTry
    Isn't it lovely? This is the new VCSA VAMI look-and-feel, courtesy of VMware adopting the Clarity UI.

    Video

    How to easily update your VMware vCenter Server Appliance from 6.5.x to 6.5 Update 1g [VCSA 6.5 U1g]. This same exact process isn't available for 6.7 yet, still investigating.

    Apr 22 2018 Update

    Here's a summary of update related errors I've noticed when I was attempting to perform a VCSA update. I was using VCSA 6.7's VAMI interface for vCenter Server Appliance maintenance, then clicking on the Update area along the left, then the CHECK UPDATES and the CHECK CDROM + URL option, and the similar procedure in 6.5U1g too, here's the results I found on Apr 17, and replicated on Apr 22 2018:

    VCSA 6.5 Update 1g

    (Build 8024368)

    Available Updates
    Update Status
    Download Failed.

    VCSA-6.5U1g-VAMI-Check-Repository-option-result-2018-04-17--TinkerTry
    Back on Tue Apr 17 2018, I received this error when trying to Check Updates.
    VCSA-6.5U1g-VAMI-Check-Repository-option-result-on-2018-04-22-2018--TinkerTry
    The error is now appropriate, there are no updates to install for 6.5.0.15000 Build Number 8024368, when checking for updates again on Sun Apr 22 2018. Note that it does not offer 6.7.

    VCSA 6.7

    GA (Build 8217866)

    Check the URL and try again.
    No applicable update found.

    VCSA-6.7-VAMI-CHECK-CDROM-URL-errors-result-2018-04-22--TinkerTry

    Upon more careful inspection of the vSphere 6.7 Release Notes, there's a key sentence in there for those attempting to upgrade, using the VAMI Update:

    vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 displays an error message in the Available Update section of the vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface (VAMI)
    The Available Update section of the vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) displays the following error message:

    Check the URL and try again.

    This message is generated when the vCenter Server Appliance searches for and fails to find a patch or update. No functionality is impacted by this issue. This issue will be resolved with the release of the first patch for vSphere 6.7.

    Workaround: None. No functionality is impacted by this issue.

    vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-67-release-notes-VAMI-issue

    I'm not finding the 6.5 "Download Failed." error documented, and I realize many folks have the TLDR attitude and will go ahead and try the update button anyway. I also noticed that the 6.7 "No applicable update found." error is missing from the 6.7 release notes, so I've added it here as well.

    I have also reported these warnings internally at VMware, as have others. Despite these odd warnings, it appears you can proceed with the Upgrade using VCSA ISO file's Win/Mac/Linux installer featuring a friendly wizard, so these current online update issues are not show-stoppers.


    Apr 22 2018 Update 2

    I'm no longer getting errors when running Check Updates on VCSA 6.5 Update 1g, and it no longer shows Update version 6.7.0 10000 Build Number 8217866. Instead, it says:

    Update version - 6.5.0.15000 Build Number 8024368
    Update Status - Latest updates already installed on vCSA, nothing to stage/install

    I've updated the article above accordingly.


    May 07 2018

    With VCSA 6.5 Update 2 (6.5U2, aka 6.5.0U2, aka 6.5.0.200000 Build Number 8307201) now released, running Check Updates on VCSA 6.5 Update 1g gets this response:

    Current version details
    Vendor - VMware, Inc.
    Appliance name - VMware vCenter Server Appliance
    Update version - 6.5.0.15000 Build Number 8024368
    Description - vCenter Server with an embedded Platform Services Controller
    Release date - March 20, 2018

    Available Updates
    Update Status - Update source: URL. Only product updates are available.
    Reboot Required - Yes
    Update last checked at - 5/7/2018, 1:10:38 PM
    Update version - 6.5.0.20000 Build Number 8307201

    Clicking on More Details gets this response:

    More Details
    Appliance name - VMware vCenter Server Appliance
    Description - VC-6.5.0U2-Appliance-FP
    Release date - May 03, 2018
    Severity - Critical
    Category - Bugfix
    Summary - Update for VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.5.0
    Knowledge base - http://kb.vmware.com/kb/000051550

    2018-05-07_9-15-46

    So it would seem that the easy update mechanism is for keeping a given major release current, such as keeping 6.5 patched/updated or 6.7 patched/updated. It does not seem to be for updating from 6.5 to 6.7, but gladly, that's not too hard either, for folks who have access to the VCSA download through either my.vmware.com VCSA ISO with trial or full license keys, and/or for VMUG Advantage EVALExperience subscribers.


    See also at TinkerTry

    vmug-advantage-has-esxi-and-vcsa-6-7-with-365-day-keys

    easy-update-to-esxi-67

    how-to-get-rid-of-vsphere-browser-certificate-warnings-in-windows

    easy-update-to-esxi-65u1-201803001

    how-to-replace-your-windows-10-certificate-so-browser-security-warnings-go-away-after-replacing-your-vmware-vcsa

    meltdown-and-spectre-info

    vmware-storage-and-availability-technical-documents

    product-latest-version