Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7

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No doubt many of you are excited to see the VMware vSphere 7 GA download available. Everyone is ready to get their “upgrade on” to get lab and test environments upgraded to start playing around with the software hands on. In this post, we will take a look at the first part of most standard vSphere upgrades, upgrading the vCenter Server. Let’s take a closer look at how to upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7.

vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7 Upgrade Considerations

As excited as most are to start taking advantage of the new functionality offered in vSphere 7, there are several things that you want to consider first before taking the plunge and just blindly attempting upgrades across the board.

There are the normal things that you need to consider before upgrading a production environment with vSphere 7. You want to ensure that you have compatibility across the products that you are using that either integrate with or “talk” to vSphere to ensure these will continue to work after upgrading your vSphere infrastructure.

A great place to start with any upgrade of VMware products is the VMware Compatibility Guide. This provides a great interface to select a particular version of a product and display the other products and their compatibility with that particular version.

An additional consideration that always comes into play is your data protection solution. It seems there is always a race from the backup vendors to get a supported version of their software that works with the latest version of VMware vSphere.

This will certainly be the case with VMware vSphere 7. I have not seen any vendors as of yet at the time of this writing who are offering support for vSphere 7. This is always a deal breaker when thinking of upgrading production environments.

Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7

In most standard environments that only have vCenter Server and ESXi hosts, you upgrade your vCenter Server first. Once vCenter is upgraded, then you can run through the upgrade on your ESXi hosts.

The same is true with VMware vSphere 7. So the first thing you want to do is upgrade vCenter VCSA appliance. It is always a good idea to make sure you are running the latest build of VCSA. To do that, login to your VAMI interface Update > Check Updates. Make sure you install the patches and updates on your current 6.7 release. This helps to minimize issues with the upgrade.

Update-your-vCenter-VCSA-6.7-appliance-to-the-latest-version-1 Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7
Update your vCenter VCSA 6.7 appliance to the latest version

Now that you have your vCenter 6.7 VCSA appliance updated to the latest version, Download and use the vCenter Server Installer for upgrading to VCSA 7.

You will note, the vCenter Server Installer looks identical for the most part to the previous vCenter Server Installers.

Upgrade Stage 1 – Deploy vCenter Server

Run the utility and choose Upgrade.

Choose-the-upgrade-option-on-the-vCenter-Server-installer-1 Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7

The introduction gives a good overview of the process to upgrade your VCSA 6.7 appliance. This is a two Stage process. In Stage 1, you are deploying a new VCSA 7 appliance. This appliance will be used to copy over your data and then will be cut over to after the data copy is complete.

Ready-to-begin-Stage-1-of-the-upgrade-process-1 Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7
Ready to begin Stage 1 of the upgrade process

Accept the EULA.

Accept-the-EULA-for-the-VCSA-7-upgrade Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7
Accept the EULA for the VCSA 7 upgrade

Connect to your source appliance. This is the appliance that you want to upgrade. Click the Connect to Source button.

Connect-to-your-source-VCSA-6.7-appliance-to-ugprade-to-VCSA-7-1 Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7
Connect to your source VCSA 6.7 appliance to ugprade to VCSA 7

Enter in the connection and authentication information for your source appliance and also the vCenter or ESXi server that manages the source appliance.

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Enter connection information to connect to source VCSA 6.7 appliance

Click Yes on the certificate warning.

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Accept the certificate warning presented when connecting to the source appliance

Configure your deployment target. This will be the vCenter Server or ESXi host that will manage the VCSA 7 appliance.

Enter-your-deployment-target-information-for-the-new-VCSA-7-appliance-1 Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7
Enter your deployment target information for the new VCSA 7 appliance

Accept the certificate warning on the deployment target.

Accept-the-certificate-warning-from-the-deployment-target-1 Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7
Accept the certificate warning from the deployment target

Setup your target vCenter Server VM. Choose a name that will be used in the vSphere inventory for the new appliance as well as the root password.

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Setup your vCenter VM name in the vSphere inventory

Select the deployment size options. The installer makes this much easier by displaying the values for each selection that will be configured.

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Select the deployment size for the new VCSA 7 appliance

Select your target datastore and disk mode.

Select-the-target-datastore-for-the-VCSA-7-appliance-and-disk-provisioning-mode-1 Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7

Select the vSwitch you want to use and the IP provisioning for the temporary network configuration of the deployed appliance. Keep in mind, the end result will be the new VCSA 7 appliance will assume the IP that is configured on the source appliance. So, this configuration at this stage will be temporary. In my case, I am just selecting DHCP for this.

Configure-your-network-settings-for-the-resulting-VCSA-7-appliance-1 Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7
Configure your network settings for the resulting VCSA 7 appliance

Confirm your configuration choices here and then select Finish.

Ready-to-complete-Stage-1-and-deploy-the-VCSA-7-appliance Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7
Ready to complete Stage 1 and deploy the VCSA 7 appliance

Deployment of the appliance begins.

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Deploying of the VCSA appliance begins

After bit, the new VCSA 7 appliance should be deployed and ready to continue to Stage 2.

Stage-1-of-the-VCSA-6.7-upgrade-to-VCSA-7-completes-successfully Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7
Stage 1 of the VCSA 6.7 upgrade to VCSA 7 completes successfully

Upgrade Stage 2 – vCenter Server

Stage 2 of the upgrade process begins. The second stage completes the upgrade process by copying data from the source appliance to the deployed vCenter Server. You will want to back up your source appliance before starting with the upgrade process. At this point, I like to take a snapshot to easily roll back to in case something happens.

Beginning-Stage-2-of-the-Upgrade-vCenter-Server-process Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7
Beginning Stage 2 of the Upgrade vCenter Server process

Connect to your source vCenter Server and environment that manages the source appliance. Click Next.

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Connect to source vCenter Server during Stage 2

With Stage 2, it will run a Pre-upgrade check that will list out any potential issues.

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Preupgrade check results to take note of

Select the data you want to upgrade.

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Select upgrade data for the VCSA 7 upgrade

Make your choice for CEIP.

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Make your choice for the CEIP program

Finally, confirm your selections and check the box and make sure you have a backup of your source appliance. Click Finish.

Ready-to-complete-the-Stage-2-configuration-and-backup-check Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7
Ready to complete the Stage 2 configuration and backup check

You will see the warning that your source VCSA appliance will be shutdown as part of the process.

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Shutdown warning at the end of Stage 2

The process begins.

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Data transfer and setup of the VCSA 7 appliance begins

Finally, the process will complete. You will see a couple of informational notes regarding TLS as well as Auto Deploy.

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Information items at the end of the Stage 2 process

Stage 2 is officially complete.

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VCSA 7 upgrade Stage 2 completes successfully

You should now be able to login to your newly upgraded VCSA 7 appliance!

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vCenter Server 7 now running

Wrapping Up

As major of an update as vSphere 7 is, it is great to see the process to upgrade is familiar and works as expected. I had no issues in the process to Upgrade vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 to VCSA 7 in my lab environment. Next up, we will look at upgrading our ESXi 6.7 hosts to ESXi 7.0. Stay tuned!

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