VMware vSphere 6.5 is scheduled to reach end of general support 15 October 2022, referenced in the VMware Lifecycle Matrix. See also How to Install vSphere 7.0. Upgrade to vSphere 7 can be achieved directly from vSphere 6.5.0 and above, whereas vSphere 6.0 requires an intermediate upgrade to 6.5 or 6.7 first. For more information see the VMware Upgrade Matrix. Finally, the Windows vCenter Server and external PSC deployment models are now depreciated and not available with vSphere 7.0.
This post will walk through how to update the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) from 6.5 to the first major update 6.5 U1. The new features in the latest release are listed here. The official VMware blog goes into further detail here, and of course the release notes cover the important technical information here.
Prior to updating vCenter ensure you have verified the compatibility of any third party products such as backups, anti-virus, monitoring, etc. Also cross-check the compatibility of other VMware products using the Product Interoperability Matrix. Since we are updating vCenter Server 6.5 to 6.5 U1 I am assuming the usual pre-requisites such as FQDN resolution, time synchronization, relevant ports open, etc. are already in place, and all hosts are running at least ESXi version 5.5. For more information on the requirements for vCenter Server 6.5, or if you are upgrading from an earlier version, the following posts may be of use:
- vCenter Appliance 6.5 Upgrade
- Windows vCenter 6.5 Upgrade
- Migrating Windows vCenter Server to VCSA 6.5
Before beginning the update process take a backup and snapshot of the vCenter Server Appliance. There is downtime during the update but this is minimal – around 10 mins to update and reboot using an ISO as an update source, when using the online repository the update time may vary depending on your internet connection.
The easiest way of updating the vCenter Server is through the VAMI (vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface). Browse to https://vCenter:5480, where vCenter is the FQDN or IP address of the vCenter Server. Log in as the root user.
Select the Update option from the navigator.
Click the Check Updates drop-down. If the VCSA has internet access then select Check Repository to pull the update direct from the VMware online repository.
If the VCSA does not have internet access, or you’d prefer to provide the patch manually then download the relevant patch from VMware here (in this case VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance-188.8.131.5200-5973321-patch-FP.iso) and attach the ISO to the CD/DVD drive of the VCSA in the virtual machine settings. Back in the VAMI update page select the Check Updates drop-down and click Check CDROM.
Details of the available update from either the online repository or attached ISO are displayed. Click Install Updates.
Accept the EULA and click Install to begin the installation.
When the update process has completed click OK. From an attached ISO the installation took around 5 minutes.
The updated version and release date should now be displayed in the current version details. Finally, to complete the upgrade reboot the vCenter Server Appliance. Select Summary from the navigator and click Reboot.
Alternatively the vCenter Server Appliance can be updated from the command line. Again, either using the online repository or by downloading the patch from VMware here (VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance-184.108.40.20600-5973321-patch-FP.iso or latest version) and attaching the ISO to the CD/DVD drive of the VCSA in the virtual machine settings. For more information on patching the vCenter Server Appliance using the appliance shell see this section of VMware docs.
Log in to the vCenter Server appliance as root. First stage the patches from your chosen source using either:
software-packages stage --iso --acceptEulasstages software packages from ISO and accepts EULA.
software-packages stage --url --acceptEulasstages software packages from the default VMware online repository and accepts EULA.
Next, review the staged packages, install the update, and reboot the VCSA.
software-packages list --stagedlists the details of the staged software package.
software-packages install --stagedinstalls the staged software package.
shutdown reboot -r updatereboots the VCSA where ‘update’ is the reboot reason. Use -d to add a delay.