Caveats and backup plan before updating Windows VCenter OS ?

Hi,

I'm still running Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard for my VMware VCenter VM vCenter Server 5.1 Update 1 build 1064983 (2013-04-25)

Tomorrow I'd like to perform Windows Updates:

1x Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1
120+ other Windows Updates

This same VM is also running Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition (64-bit) (SP2) - 10.0.4000.0

What are the best way to update the above VCenter VM to make sure it is supported by Microsoft and VMware safely ?

Can I just clone the Windows VCenter VM online as VCenter-Backup and if something goes wrong, I can delete the original and then just start the VCenter-Backup VM as the roll back plan ?

I've noticed that without VCenter, snapshot and cloning is not available when you conenct to ESXi host directly.
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Can I just clone the Windows VCenter VM online as VCenter-Backup and if something goes wrong, I can delete the original and then just start the VCenter-Backup VM as the roll back plan ?

Yes, that's what we do, we also take a backup of the SQL database separate. using SQL Management studio.

vCenter Server can clone it self.

I've noticed that without VCenter, snapshot and cloning is not available when you conenct to ESXi host directly.

This is by design as as expected.
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Thanks Andrew I guess it's pretty much straight forward update and rollback plan as you confirmed above.
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Mr TorturSystem EngineerCommented:
Hi,
Just a few things to participate.
Clone is good for vcenter. And you can test your "backup plan" before doing your updates :
- make your clone
- shutdown your vcenter
- start the clone and see if everything is fine (especially vCenter DB and Update Manager DB)
- put your vcenter back in production by shutting the clone down and starting again the former one

But : you could use snapshot too for your operation.
Also it is not as good as a clone or backup, it takes less storage, it could be enough in this case and is meant for this : do the snaspshot, make your updates, and revert to snapshot if something goes wrong.


And at last :
I've noticed that without VCenter, snapshot and cloning is not available when you conenct to ESXi host directly.

This is by design as as expected.

Sorry but this is wrong : yes, clone depends on vCenter, but no, snapshot is a native ESXi feature and does not require a vCenter.
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