VMware upgrade question


Do I need access to the vcenter server if i'm upgrading a host?
Technical InformationAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Simple Answer No!

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Technical InformationAuthor Commented:
Great thanks, and If the vcenter is 6, the host has to be also?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You always want to maintain that vCenter Server is at the same or higher release than the host!
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Andrew is correct.

Although I don't believe you need vCenter to upgrade a host, if you DO plan on upgrading a host from say, 6.0 to 6.5, and you DON'T upgrade vCenter 6.0 first, you won't be able to manage the 6.5 host. However, if you upgrade vCenter from 6.0 to 6.5, then you would have no problem upgrading and managing your host.

Such was a question posted to vcenter forum; https://communities.vmware.com/thread/547412
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
vCenter Server is just a management server it is not required to update a host! Many organisations have the FREE ESXi version with no vCenter Server and can upgrade hosts easily!

and many ESXi hosts are single hosts and standalone.
Yes, Andrew. I got ahead of myself - update vs upgrade. But using vCenter allows me to live-migrate my running VMs from one host to the other.

But also just following VMware own's recommended practice.

Upgrade vCenter first, upgrade Hosts second, upgrade VMs, etc.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
vCenter Server lets you do lots of things..... but only if you have Shared Storage and the Licenses!

No requirement to upgrade VMs, or VMware tools unless you need the newer features!

and you don't need to upgrade vCenter Server, and 50% of upgrades fail, you can just install a new vCenter Server.
Ah! This is true. thank you.
Sebastian TalmonSystem Engineer Datacenter SolutionsCommented:
You do not need access to vCenter for upgrading a host.

If the host is managed through vCenter, it is best practice to put the host in maintenance mode in vCenter.

If you want to maintain compatibility with the vCenter, you should check the compatibility of your upgrade version with your vCenter version:

- vCenter has to be on the same or newer version (with excemptions, and sometimes higher version numbers are not newer versions, for example 6.5U2 is newer then 6.7)

You can check your planned versions in the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix at https://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/sim/interop_matrix.php
and the upgrade paths (on the same page)

The update sequence for VMware products is documented at https://kb.vmware.com/kb/2147289 (vSphere 6.5) and https://kb.vmware.com/kb/53710 (vSphere 6.7)

A nice FAQ for some upgrade topics is located at https://vspherecentral.vmware.com/faq/vsphere-upgrade-faq

You can also look at the vSphere Upgrade eBook http://www.vmw.re/vsphere-upgrade-ebook
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