How To: Upgrade vCloud Director in Detail – Part 3

Upgrading the ESXi hosts is a standard documented process using VMware Update Manager and explained in detail in the vSphere Installation documentation. Specific to vCloud Director, there is nothing the system administrator needs to do, provided that the vSphere admin follows the proper steps.

Personnel Resources Needed

  • VMware vCenter Administrator
  • VMware ESX Administrator with Root credentials
  • VMware vCloud Director Administrator

Phase III Impact

This phase of the upgrade will cause downtime.

  • Mixed Host Environment – This will be the case during the upgrade and it is valid. However final changes to vCloud Director should not be made until ALL hosts are upgraded.
  • Cluster HA – You must ensure you have enough cluster capacity to support the HA configuration during upgrades.
  • Third-Party VIBs – In most cases these will need to be uninstalled when using Update Manager and new versions added in later
  • Nexus 1000v – It may be required to upgrade this first as during an upgrade they may be removed. This was not something readily available to test

Phase III Advantages

The following is a list of advantages to upgrading to vSphere ESXi 5, however at this phase not all will be available. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but the major items that customers have expressed as their reason to move to vSphere ESXi 5 with vCloud Director

  • New Distributed Switch
  • VMFS-5
  • Storage I/O control for NFS
  • VAAI Support for NFS (Not implemented with vCD however)
  • Hardware Version 8
  • Improved HA
  • Fast Provisioning

Upgrading ESXi Hosts

Using the current documentation and VMware Update Manager you will see that the hosts get upgraded pretty easily. While we noticed in our lab regarding errors with third-party VIBs, the vCloud Director one was not listed as an issue.

Figure 17 – ESX Upgrade Warning

The hosts will eventually reboot on their own; however, if you examine the console you will see the dialog shown in Figure 25. You can certainly speed up the process by clicking enter although it is not required.

Figure 18 – ESXi Reboot on Console

Basic Considerations Before Updating ESXi Hosts

  • Putting hosts in Maintenance mode will automatically disable them in vCloud Director and DRS should migrate virtual machines automatically, assuming DRS is set to fully automatic.
  • Distributed Switch configurations should be maintained after the upgrade but the vNetwork Distributed Switch should be upgraded to version 5 if you want to take advantage of the added features. There is no downside to upgrading at this time, however it is not “required”
  • There should be no reason to un-prepare the host the vCloud Director Agent VIB appears to migrate properly.
  • Once the host has been upgraded and removed from maintenance mode you can verify it by checking vCloud Director’s Host section
  • Each host post Upgrade will be in Evaluation Mode and vSphere 5 licenses need to be installed and assigned to these hosts.

Phase III Completion Verification Checklist

All ESX hosts in a cluster have been upgraded
Cluster HA is properly maintained
vCloud Director still sees all hosts as available and “Prepared”
Validate a new vApp can be deployed

About Chris Colotti

Chris is active on the VMUG and event speaking circuit and is available for many events if you want to reach out and ask. Previously to this he spent close to a decade working for VMware as a Principal Architect. Previous to his nine plus years at VMware, Chris was a System Administrator that evolved his career into a data center architect. Chris spends a lot of time mentoring co-workers and friends on the benefits of personal growth and professional development. Chris is also amongst the first VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX#37), and author of multiple white papers. In his spare time he helps his wife Julie run her promotional products as the accountant, book keeper, and IT Support. Chris also believes in both a healthy body and healthy mind, and has become heavily involved with fitness as a Diamond Team Beachbody Coach using P90X and other Beachbody Programs. Although Technology is his day job, Chris is passionate about fitness after losing 60 pounds himself in the last few years.

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