Solved

Upgrade VMWare Hosts from 5.1 to 5.5 when using High Availabilty

Posted on 2014-10-17
6
390 Views
Last Modified: 2014-10-17
We have a VM 5.1 environment with 2 hosts configured with HA.  We need to upgrade to 5.5 to address some PSOD issues that are known by VM and supposedly resolved with 5.5.  VM Tech Support has advised it as better to upgrade than to workaround.  We have successfully upgraded vCenter to version 5.5 but are hard pressed to find any upgrade guidelines pertaining to HA and how to upgrade with HA in mind.  Since this is a small 2 host environment we would like to do an Interactive Upgrade with CD/USB iso instead of using Update Manager.

Is there guidelines/best practices documentation out there or can anyone give guidance who has done an upgrade when HA is active?  Is it as simple as one of these procedures?

1. Do we just shutdown VM Guests, putting both servers into Maintenance mode and upgrade them?
2. Do we remove HA then upgrade as if a normal 2 host environment?
3. Does the upgrade utility recognize HA and deal with it automatically?
4. Do both VM Hosts have to be upgraded before they are both brought back online or can we all HA to fail all Guests over to one, upgrade the other and then failover to upgrade the 2nd?

As you can see there are many things that come into play with HA, which is why it surprises me that there is no reference to it in the upgrade docs.
0
Comment
Question by:Beratung
[X]
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 3
  • 3
6 Comments
 
LVL 120

Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 40387138
VMware HA *ONLY* comes into play on an un-controlled shutdown.

When you turn off/restart a Host with HA Active, that's controlled!

Enter Maintenance Mode on the Host to be Upgraded, and that's not an un-controlled shutdown, or failure, so HA will do nothing.

1. Do we just shutdown VM Guests, putting both servers into Maintenance mode and upgrade them?

No, I would not do it like, that - Select a Host put it into Maintenance Mode, and Upgrade, I'll show you how quickly later.

2. Do we remove HA then upgrade as if a normal 2 host environment?

I'm afraid, also no, I would leave HA in place, the Agent will be upgraded, when it's connected back to vCenter Server, on restart of Host, e.g. you have to do nothing!

3. Does the upgrade utility recognize HA and deal with it automatically?

Yes, see 2 (infact vCenter deploys the Agent, based on version of Host!)

4. Do both VM Hosts have to be upgraded before they are both brought back online or can we all HA to fail all Guests over to one, upgrade the other and then failover to upgrade the 2nd?

No, both will work together with different host versions, in vCenter 5.5. Yes that's how you simply do it!

As you can see there are many things that come into play with HA, which is why it surprises me that there is no reference to it in the upgrade docs.

It's so simply.....

A. Pick A Host
B. Enter Maintenance Mode
C. Oh, Read My (Andy's) EE Article....
(don't both with USB/ISO CDROM!)

HOW TO: Upgrade from VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.1 to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.5 for FREE

I estimate you'll be done in less than 60 minutes!
0
 

Author Comment

by:Beratung
ID: 40387165
Andy,

So if I understand you correctly I can or should:

1. Focus on one host at a time
2. Go to Host 1 and shutdown all VM's under that host
3. Put Host 1 into Maintenance mode
4. Restart and boot from 5.5 ISO
5. Run migration/upgrade
6. Bring Host 1 back up and out of Maintenance Mode
7. Start up VM's under Host 1
2. Go to Host 2 and shutdown all VM's under that host
3. Put Host 2 into Maintenance mode
4. Restart and boot from 5.5 ISO
5. Run migration/upgrade
6. Bring Host 2 back up and out of Maintenance Mode
7. Start up VM's under Host 2
8. Verify HA is healthy

That cover it from a high level?  Do you suggest backing anything up on the host itself prior to the upgrade?
0
 
LVL 120
ID: 40387223
2. Go to Host 1 and shutdown all VM's under that host

Shutdown or Move to other hosts (vMotion), but you cannot update with live VMs!

4. Restart and boot from 5.5 ISO

Did you not see my EE Article ?

No need for CDROM, Booting Server, just apply the update to the host.

That cover it from a high level?  Do you suggest backing anything up on the host itself prior to the upgrade?

If you organisation or you have Good IT Practices, you should ensure *YOU ALWAYS* have backups before doing any work on Production Systems!
0
Easy, flexible multimedia distribution & control

Coming soon!  Ideal for large-scale A/V applications, ATEN's VM3200 Modular Matrix Switch is an all-in-one solution that simplifies video wall integration. Easily customize display layouts to see what you want, how you want it in 4k.

 

Author Comment

by:Beratung
ID: 40387235
Thanks.  Final questions:

1. Why are you against the ISO approach to upgrade?  With Dell iDrac you can mount network shares as media to the hardware and boot from it.  Very easy and the process in the past on single host upgrades ran very fast.  It is what I am use to and I kind of error on doing what I know if it is not objectionable.
2. Yes I agree with your Good IT Practices and we have backups of all of the VM Guests, but my question was specific to the Host OS/Configuration.  Should we back up anything up specific to that or is that not necessary considering this is HA?  Or should we back up something to preserve the HA setup?  In my experience HA is removable and restorable on its own fairly easily.  If we should back up the Host config what is the best way to do that in this case?  I saw your "easy backup" of VM Guests, which we don't need since we are doing full backups of the VM Guests.  Anything specific to the Host itself?
0
 
LVL 120
ID: 40387274
1. Slow, and on occasions users make mistakes and WIPE their OS, and re-install a new version! Upgrades can fail using ISO. Also get into the habit of applying patches/updates/upgrades this way, because NOT all patches ship on a CDROM.

2. You don't backup your host config, at least on a weekly basis!

see here

VMware KB: Backing up and restoring ESXi configuration ...
0
 

Author Comment

by:Beratung
ID: 40387309
1. Makes sense.  Will pursue that approach.
2. I wasn't 100% clear.  I meant specific to HA.  

I just got off the phone with VMware TS and they confirm that although HA resides and lives on the host, vCenter handles all of the upgrading and backups of vCenter would handle the HA restoration if there was a problem.  That is what I suspected since vCenter handles configuration and initialization of HA but none of that seems to be documented anywhere.

Thanks for you help.
0

Featured Post

Free Tool: Site Down Detector

Helpful to verify reports of your own downtime, or to double check a downed website you are trying to access.

One of a set of tools we are providing to everyone as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

If your vDisk VHD file gets deleted from the image store accidentally or on purpose, you won't be able to remove the vDisk from the PVS console. There is a known workaround that is solid.
This article outlines why you need to choose a backup solution that protects your entire environment – including your VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization hosts – not just your virtual machines.
Teach the user how to edit .vmx files to add advanced configuration options Open vSphere Web Client: Edit Settings for a VM: Choose VM Options -> Advanced: Add Configuration Parameters:
This tutorial will walk an individual through the steps necessary to enable the VMware\Hyper-V licensed feature of Backup Exec 2012. In addition, how to add a VMware server and configure a backup job. The first step is to acquire the necessary licen…

730 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question