vCenter “FLUP-grade” Part II: Upgrade vCSA 5.5 to 6.0 on VMware Workstation

The second part of my FLUP-grade was to use the tool for vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 to upgrade to 6.0! The issues for me were:

– I use VMware Workstation for a nested lab using AutoLabs.
– The tool relies on your vCSA being hosted on an ESXi Server.
– There are only a few blogs for deploying vCSA 6 on Workstation, that I found.

I’d love to have a proper lab with real equipment, but sadly that is not the case at this moment in time; one day perhaps! Given that my home machine is only so fast, I don’t like to run many nested VM’s on my already virtualized ESXi servers as things become a bit slow. On the the Workstation Layer I have:

– A Domain Controller & VUM Server
– 2-3 Virtual ESXi hosts
– vCSA 5.5
– Openfiler + FreeNas storage VM’s
– A Router

In the ESXi layer, I run small lightweight VM’s mainly for testing features and deployments.

Here is how I upgraded:

1) I downloaded and installed the latest vCSA v6 .ISO file from VMware and mounted it. From within that ISO, I installed the VMware Client Integration Plugin 6.0.0
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2) Next, I shutdown my existing 5.5 vCSA and exported it as an .OVA.

3) Whilst this was happening, I increased the Memory on my ESXi hosts to 12GB each and powered them on. I then used the vSphere client to connect to the hosts directly and imported the vCSA to my first host. I checked the networking of the VM and powered it on.
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4) After checking services, I disabled DRS temporarily because I didn’t want any VM’s to be moved. I then went back to the .ISO of vCSA 6 and opened the vcsa-setup.html file.
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5) At this stage, my browser (chrome) opened but I needed to enable the plugin that I had installed previously.
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6) Once the plugin was sorted, I selected Upgrade from the menu.
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7) Checked the warning prompt and confirmed that I was on 5.5 and therefore supported. I also fully read and accepted the EULA.
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8) Next I entered in the information of the host that I wanted to deploy the new vCSA 6 appliance on.
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9) After accepting the SSL certificate warning, I was able to select my lab information for deployment.CAP15

 

10) Another SSL and environment check,  a warning about Postgres username/ password and SSH port requirement.
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11) I then chose the smallest deployment type for obvious reasons. At this stage, if I hadn’t increased my hosts memory I wouldn’t have been able to proceed as a warning appears stating insufficient memory. The destination host must have more than 8GB for the VM to live! CAP17

 

12) Chose which storage the VM should temporarily live on.
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13) I then assigned a static IP address for the vCSA 6 to take on my network. As stated in the text, it’s only temporary and when the whole operation is complete the new vCSA assumes the identity of the existing vCSA!
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14) Reviewed the summary and took a screenshot for your pleasure, before commencing with the big “Finish” button.CAP21

 

15) The process took a while and goes through several stages; extracting/installing packages, migrating data, starting services, etc.
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16) Migration was complete, so I logged into my vCSA as if nothing had changed. Yep! All good!
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17) At this stage, it was time to shut down my new vCSA6 and then run an export back out of the nested virtual layer. (At this stage I felt like Cobb from Inception, only better looking!;))
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18) Getting close, I imported the vCSA6 .ovf file back into VMware Workstation.
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19) One final check of the network (my main hosts subnet) and I booted it up and crossed my fingers!
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It worked! It might not be the prettiest/recommended/sane method and is only for my home lab scenario, but I really wanted to upgrade from 5.5 to 6.0 vCSA using proper methods in case this is ever needed in Production (and it will be!).

So that ends the chapter of my vCenter FLUP-grade. A bit of a strange journey, but I got there in the end!

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