vSphere/vCenter V6.7 is here, so why not?


Ok, if you were part of VMware’s spring vForum, then you know that yesterday’s event was all about the release of vSphere/vCenter V6.7 and how it is integrated into things like vSAN, NSX and vRealize Automation.  I don’t want to dive into what new and groovy features are available, so here are the Launch Announcement and Feature Set Links to provide you with that info.

My focus is how do I get exposed to these features?  And what better way to get introduced to V6.7 then to spin it up in the Lab!

But before we start, at the unveiling VMware seemed to allude to the fact in the Q&A that V6.7 was an “update” of the existing vCSA Appliance.  But it seems that after mounting the ISO to the appliance and trying to deploy it through the VUM, it really is an “upgrade” involving a migration to a new appliance.  Makes sense to me!

Having already done one of those for V6.5, I figured; oh so easy, let’s do it again!  So let’s get started.

Step #1 – Preparation

When I did my V6.5 upgrade I took great care to get the Firmware of my Dell R710 Hosts updated fully.  This is always the place to start in any VMware vSphere (ESXi) upgrade!  For this upgrade, I went back through OpenManage Essentials and verified my platforms were still current.

Now that being said, you should also consult the VMware Compatibility Guide found here.  My R710’s are only qualified up to V6.0U3 for ESXi, so I’m on thin ice here.  But I’ve been running for 6 months on V6.5 so what the heck, it’s a lab after all!

Next, make sure you snap your appliance and back up the Host Configurations prior to performing the upgrade.  As I always say; “If you’re not breaking anything, you’re not doing anything!  But if you break it, you better know how to fix it!

The last part of the preparation is to take the vCenter Cluster out of HA/DRS.

Step #2 – Roll out the new vCSA Appliance

Once you have downloaded the ISO from the VMware site (you can register for a 60 day trial for free), you can then open that up to begin the process.  I mount it on my Win10 Desktop Client and go to the “vcsa-ui-installer” folder and run the installer as shown:

Now this where you begin the process for deploying a new Appliance.  Beware that you are NOT migrating from a Windows platform, you are upgrading an existing Appliance!

Once you have accepted the EULA, you will now be ready to connect to the Source Appliance (Existing V6.5 vCSA):

And once connected you will be asked for the authentication information:

Once you click NEXT you will have a security warning for the Certificates which you can accept at this point and subsequently:

Next it will ask you for the deployment target which I made the same Host:

And what you want to name your new appliance

Now what is interesting is when it came to deployment size, I selected Tiny, but I couldn’t change the Storage Size.  I left it X-Large and used Thin Provisioning.  The interesting thing is that in the end, the VM Appliance was assigned 12Gb for its drive, so not sure how this works per say.

Next you have to configure the Temporary Network:

And then you are ready to go!

After about 10-15 minutes you will have this… Success!

Step #3 – Migration of the existing vCSA data.

Now that we have two vCSA’s (one V6.5 and the other V6.7) we can begin the process of migrating the data.

Now it’s going to warn me about a few things.  We took care of DRS, but I also have some extensions it isn’t happy about.  I will address those after the upgrade.

After connecting to the existing vCenter Server, I selected to just migrate the Configuration data.

And I’m ready to roll!

After about 30mins I was done with the migration and the new vCSA was online.

Thoughts and Next Steps

At this point I haven’t gotten too deep into the interface.  The “Flash-based Web Client” seems very similar to V6.5 but snappier.  This is accessible via the URL https://vCSA_FQDN/vsphere-client.

Of real interest is the new HTML5 Interface at https://vCSA_FQDN/ui.  Be informed that as the original vCenter Client was deprecated in V6.0, the Flash-based Web Interface is deprecated in V6.7.  So the HTML5 interface is the wave of the future.

This looks slick and is very snappy as well, but I found it has a subtle difference that will take some getting settled in with.

Well, I’ll work with this for a while and come back with the ESXi Host Upgrades and my thoughts on what the overall environment looks and feels like.

So far vSphere V6.7 seems like a painless upgrade and is an evolutionary rather than revolutionary next step in the vCenter journey!

Stay tuned and stay focused!