It was fun to see this morning that the vSphere 6.0 Update 2 bits dropped last night. This is a big release – particularly vCenter. Quite a few new things but also a lot of fixes, and really a lot of things to watch out for. The release notes is a serious read! I am particularly happy about the ESXi Host Client (EHC) being part of this release but also two factor authentication is big for customer segments I know of. Here is a nice article about all of the releases and details on key stuff.
I should mention that if you have the current lab fling (0.0.6)of the EHC – which I do, you will have no problem with getting the new version as part of this upgrade. However, if you have an older version of the EHC that is an issue. I suggest you use my VUM method to update it as seen in this article or remove it. Instructions for both are in that article.
I should also mention that when I logged into the appliance to start the upgrade it had a status of red. I wrote about that here. That does turn green a short time after the upgrade is successfully complete.
The order of operations is always something to think about. Generally speaking you do vCenter, before you do hosts. As part of that generally you do the PSC before vCenter. I also like to have some of my tools like VMware Infrastructure Navigator, Log Insight, and vRealize Operations all upgraded before the infrastructure (which means vCenter and hosts). A great KB article that talks in detail of the order is available. In my home lab, I have currently only Log Insight and it was upgraded recently. So I don’t have to worry about upgrading VIN and vR Ops but I will install them new – when I can find 5.8.5 – only 5.8.4 is available in the Trial downloads – remember I am depending on vExpert for licenses and bits come from trial downloads.
Also, I specifically use update in this article to mean install patches, or doing an U2 update. I use upgrade to mean moving from v5 to v6.
Lets get this done!
I am using the vCenter appliance and since this article is abut updating my lab both the info on updating the appliance and hosts is below.
Current Version Info
appliance version – 18.104.22.16800 build 334022
vCenter version – 6.0 3339084
Update 2 Version Info
appliance version – 22.214.171.12400 Build 3634791
vCenter – 6.0 3634794.
Things to have ready
You can find the bits, docs, and release notes. The fact is due to the appliance model and that this is an update and not an upgrade we have the bits handy and are ready to go. Check out the release notes, but be prepared to put some time aside. They are very long and a lot of detail is covered.
There is an outage as part of this update. The outage for the appliance is short – like five minutes, but the outage for the vSphere Web Client is longer like maybe 10 minutes. This is not an issue in my small lab, but it is something to think about – so many things use the vCenter API now it is important to understand what an outage of vCenter can do. This short outage will generate an email from Log Insight about a vC outage if you have that configured.
- We need to access the VAMI at https://fqdn:5480.
- Now we change to the Update page.
- We can see there are patches outstanding. It suggests there is both product and third party patches. I have asked around what third party patches are and someone guessed Java. But I checked the release notes and saw nothing.
- There is a KB article reference on this page – seen just out of the screenshot above, and it has very little info. In fact it talks about doing the upgrade using ISO but not the VAMI and nothing of what is in the update. I would like to suggest a link to the release notes would be handy instead.
- Use the Install Updates button to install all patches.
- It will start and we can see some status of the update.
- The appliance will need to be restarted at the end. Reboot is on the Summary screen.
- The appliance will come back fast. Log in and check for the new version – should be 126.96.36.19900 Build 3634791.
- It will take the vSphere Web Client longer to be back but when it does it will look different.
- While I knew there was smart card and two factor authentication in this release I did not think I would see them on the login screen unless I was going to use them. I also thought if there was no logon notice there would not be the I agree to option. Update: browser cache can fix this issue, or enable / disable of banner.
- When you can log in and check the vCenter version. It should be 6.0 build 3634794.
We have successfully upgraded my VCSA. Time to move along.
Updating ESXi hosts
You can update the hosts in a variety of ways including esxcli, PowerCLI , ESXi Host Client and even using the ISO. But, I prefer in most cases to use VUM. Even with VUM there is a couple of ways to update hosts. You can apply all outstanding Critical and Non-Critical patches and you will have an updated host. However, a number of the customers I know who read my blog like to have a baseline for the update so I am going to show that today.
It should be noted that while there will be no customer or end user impact to the update of the hosts the hosts will be restarted. This may cause alerts to be generated and if that is an issue remember to manage that – in some tools I know you could put all your hosts in a maintenance window so no alerts would be generated.
Current version Info
My hosts were at 3568940 but there was a few critical / non-critical patches outstanding.
Update 2 version Info
My hosts were at 3620759 after the update 2 update. Then I had one outstanding non-critical patch outstanding and applied it. It did not seem to need a reboot, nor changed the build number, and yet all are now green and showing as Compliant.
Things to have ready
- We need to be working in VUM.
- Now we need to change to the proper work-space.
- Once you hit the green arrow (number four above) we get the start of the wizard to create a baseline.
- Next we we select the type of baseline. We want Fixed of course so it doesn’t change on us.
- Now we need to find the right patch.
- Notice how I filtered on Complete? See the VMware ESXi 6.0 Complete Update 2?
- We select it and Next.
- We can see that we have a baseline now and we need to use it to upgrade out hosts.
- We need to change to the Hosts and Clusters view first.
- We need to move to the Cluster, Manage, Update Manager area, and use the Attach Baseline button.
- We will be prompted to select a baseline – so we should select the one we just created, and continue.
- We now want to remediate – meaning to apply the baseline we just attached to the cluster.
- Once you push the Remediate button a wizard starts.
- On the next screen you will see a list of hosts that are in the cluster that was previously selected.
- I normally select all of them.
- On the next screen I normally execute this action now.
- Next we deal with Host Remediation options.
- The options seen above selected are my default, and recommended.
- Again, the options seen selected above are my default, and recommended.
- On the next screen is a summary and a Finish button.
- During the remediation we can watch Recent Tasks for status.
- Approximately 50 minutes later we see the following in Recent Tasks.
- Now we need to check on a host(s) Summary tab for the Configuration widget that will show the version info. We should see 3620759.
We have now fully updated our hosts. So both vCenter and hosts are now at vSphere 6.0 Update 2.
We have done some basic testing already. We have confirmed that we can log into vCenter – which actually is a pretty good test. It tests vSphere Web Client, our AD connection, permissions and a lot more. We have confirmed versions everywhere too. But what else should we check?
Here is my list:
- Is Log Insight (3.3) still getting events from vCenter? Yes.
- is Log Insight (3.3) still getting syslog from the hosts? Yes.
- Does View (6.2) still work? Yes – can connect and select desktops fine. Tested again after updating VMware Tools. Still good.
- Does Veeam (9.0) still work? Yes, triggered a small backup job and it worked perfect. Tried again after updating VMware Tools and still good.
- Does the VMRC (v8) still work on a Mac? Yes. Tested again after upgrading VMware Tools and still good.
- Does the ESX Host Client still work? Yes. Is it the new GA version or the pre – existing flings version? It is not the flings .6.0 but rather the 1.0 however it is seen as build 3530266 and of the release build type. If you check via the CLI you will see it is 1.0.5-3530266 so we are good.
What is next?
Cleaning Up the Login Screen, or using the Login Banner
As you saw above after the VCSA upgrade, the login screen looks messy. You can fix that by enabling, and then disabling the login banner (or by clearing the browser cache). You can find out how to do that, and more info on using the login screen in this article.
This critical piece of software needs to be updated in all of your VM. I say your VMs as likely you have a bunch of virtual machines that are appliances and thus they manage their own – such as Log Insight or RecoverPoint. This article will not cover off creating a VMware Tools locker and distributing the VMware Tools from it, nor about using the VMware Tools you can download separately. In here we will talk about updating using the built-in VMware Tools.
I should add that it is very important to keep your VMware Tools current. VMware Tools versions can impact things like failover time with Site Recovery Manager, or feature availability. So make sure you have VMware Tools everywhere and current.
VMware Update Manager
This is one way you can update a lot of VMs, and you already have a baseline to help with that. This is also a way you can update Virtual Hardware too. I don’t think that a virtual hardware update is part of Update 2 so you can forget that.
Depending on your environment this may be an easy choice but it may not be too. You can get granularity at the folder level if that helps.
You can configure a VM to update the tools each time it boots. This can be handy for a variety of different types of virtual machines.
You can see above for this virtual machine it is configured to update the VMware tools at each power on. I believe that it needs to be done like a cold boot as compared to warm.
Sort of manual
You can see on the Summary tab of a VM that it needs to have its VMware Tools updated and even a link to do it. You can use that option to update them quite easily. Remember if it requires a restart it will restart.
This may be one of the better methods in that it gives you great granularity but also you get the ability to impact many VMs, and all with great control. You could update half of your DNS / DHCP infrastructure, then the next half, then X, followed by y. So pretty powerful I think. Here is one example.
Client Integration Plug-in (CIP)
In theory I think, we should be prompted to update this the first time we are logged in. But I have heard from others it did not happen for them, nor did it happen for me. So access Help \ About VMware vSphere and there is a prompt there to download it. While on a PC this allows easy log in, and that doesn’t work on a Mac, this is important for things like upload files to datastores or deploying OVA. So pretty important. Once you have installed, and started up Chrome again, you will see see the download prompt when you connect to the vC. However, if you go again to the Help \ About vSphere dialog you will either see a problem or the version of the CIP. Hopefully you see the version which means it is installed correctly.
- 3/23/16 – added the bit how clearing Browser cache could also clear the creed from the log in screen.
- 3/17/16 – fixed some spelling errors.
- 3/16/16 – added the info about cleaning up the login screen. Important actually.
- 3/16/16 – added this note about This Applies to. No, you do not normally have to select it to log in successfully.
I have upgraded my lab and I am happy it is done. I love the fact the the EHC is now part of ESXi and there is a lot of bug fixes in this release to. So glad it is done. I also tested things nicely so I am pretty happy.
Thanks for reading, and as always I appreciate questions or comments.
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