vSphere Upgrade FAQ
Can we have an External PSC and an Embedded PSC topology deployed in vSphere 6.7?
- This type of PSC topology was deprecated in vSphere 6.5, please see KB2147672 (https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2147672) for more details. It is also important to note that you cannot mix Embedded and External PSCs within a vSphere SSO Domain.
Can I make my External PSC an Embedded with vSphere 6.5U2 or 6.7?
- Yes! 6.5 Update 2d and 6.7 Update 1 both include the vCenter Server Converge Tool CLI. In vSphere 6.7 Update 2 we now have a vCenter Server Converge Tool UI in the vSphere Client.
Does an Embedded Deployment support Enhanced Linked Mode?
- Beginning with vSphere 6.5 Update 2 and vSphere 6.7 we support Enhanced Linked Mode for Embedded Deployments. You can have a maximum of 15 Embedded vCenter Servers Linked in a SSO domain.
How difficult would it be to use the Windows vCenter Server 6.7 for now and then switch over to the vCenter Server Appliance later on?
- The migration tool is part of a vSphere upgrade but there is not currently a horizontal migration (this means a same version migration; 6.7 to 6.7) the VCSA. An upgrade is required at the same time of the migration to the VCSA. All new vCenter Server features are only being implemented in the VCSA since vSphere 6.5.
Is it possible to convert a 6.0 Windows vCenter Server to a 6.7 vCenter Server Appliance?
- Yes. This is accomplished by performing a vCenter Server migration from Windows to the VCSA. Migration tools are included in the vCenter Server installation ISO.
Instead of migrating our environment, can I build a new VCSA 6.5 and then connect our nodes to it and still get all the benefits?
- You can, but you may lose some data (Historical Perf and Task/Event Data) and also any Virtual Distributed Switch data. Also, all the UUID of the virtual machines will be updated so any system that relies on them IE: vRealize Operations will have duplicate data.
For migration purposes, can I vMotion my VMs from my ESXI 5.5 u3 to a ESXI 6.5 U1 host within the same cluster?
- Yes, that’s fully supported during the upgrade process, but once that’s done you’ll want your clusters to be as homogeneous as possible.
Will the migration tool also take folders and permissions with it?
- Correct. Everything that makes VC a VC is migrated.
For migration: if existing vCenters are in Enhanced linked mode, will it stay after migration in linked mode, or will the ELM be removed during the process?
- Yes, the topology will not change during a migration or upgrade. It is retained.
What is the best way to revert back if the upgrade from vCenter 6.0 on Windows to VCSA 6.5 fails?
- If the migration process fails, the source Windows VC is untouched. You just need to power back on the source Windows VC machine (delete the VCSA and then you may need to re- join it to AD).
Is there a rollback procedure for the migration?
- Yes. If the migration fails for any reason or the maintenance window is missed rollback is as easy as shutting down the vCenter Server Appliance and powering back on your windows machine. If it was joined to the domain you will need to rejoin it.
Can I upgrade from vSphere 5.5 to vSphere 6.7?
- Not directly. You would first need to upgrade to vSphere 6.0 or 6.5 first. We recommend upgrading to vSphere 6.5 once your vSphere 5.5 environment is vSphere 5.5 Update 3b at minimum.
When upgrading from vSphere 6.0 to 6.7, does the vCenter name & IP address stay in place?
- Yes. The vCenter Server’s UUID, FQDN, MoRef, and IP all stay the same.
If I upgrade a standalone 6.5 then can I use the HA functionality afterwards?
- Yes – VCHA can be enabled for all VCSA 6.5 deployment topologies.
When upgrading to 6.5 from 5.5 will it suggest the sizing required (tiny, small, etc) based on the existing 5.5 environment?
- Yes – the sizing will be auto-calculated and the best size will be offered. But you can always tweak to a bigger size during the upgrade.
When upgrading hosts to 6.5, can a cluster contain both 6.0 and 6.5 hosts and function properly?
- It is supported to have a cluster with both ESXi 6.0 and 6.5, but best practice is to maintain a cluster of the same version when possible.
Why would customers want to upgrade to vSphere 6.5?
- There are several reasons why customers should upgrade:
Customers need to be on vSphere 6.5 in order to experience the full benefits of our SDDC stack and Cloud Solutions (vSAN, NSX and VMware Cloud on AWS)
End of General Support for vSphere 5.5 ends on September 19th 2018.
vSphere 5.5 EOGS is on Sep 19, 2018. So, if a customer upgrades after Sep 19, do they need to pay an upgrade fee?
- vSphere 5.5 customers who are active on Support and Subscription (SnS) are entitled to future minor or major releases of vSphere. There is no upgrade fee. If the customer does not upgrade by the End of General Support (EOGS) date, they will not be eligible for general support until they upgrade to a supported version of vSphere or purchase Extended Support. The customer is eligible for technical guidance 2 years after the EOGS date for vSphere.
Can vSphere 5.5 hosts be managed by a 6.7 vCenter Server Appliance?
- No. The 6.7 vCenter Server will not be able to manage vSphere 5.5 hosts.
Is it possible to move VMs from vSphere 6.0 to vSphere 6.5?
- Yes, it is. You can manage your ESXi 6 hosts with a vCenter 6.5 system. vMotion will be fully supported in that case, as long as you meet all of the other vMotion requirements.
Is there a limit of VMs you can classify with highest startup policy?
- No. Any VMs classified as HIGHEST will restart at the same time.
Is my server hardware compatible with vSphere 6.x?
Please check your hardware against the HCL to find out if the hardware is compatible and if any driver or firmware updates are needed.
Can I upgrade my vCenter Server and not my ESXi Hosts?
- Yes, this is fully supported. Just make sure the vCenter Server is compatible with your host version.
Does vSphere 6.7 Support VDP?
After a Migration. Can I change my vCenter Server FQDN?
Yes! Starting with vCenter Server 6.7 Update 3 you can change the PNID of your vCenter Server. See the following blog post for more detail
What are my options for management clients in vSphere 6.5 and 6.7?
- In vSphere 6.5, VMware introduced the HTML5 vSphere Client. This browser-based, cross-platform client is the future of vSphere management. There is also the vSphere Web Client which has been deprecated but still may be necessary for some functions while the transition to HTML5 is completed. A vCenter Server instance is required to use either the HTML5 vSphere Client or the vSphere Web Client. To manage an ESXi host directly, there is an HTML5 Host Client on each ESXi host accessed via https://<ESXi FQDN or IP Address>/ui.
In vSphere 6.7 U3 we have now announced the deprecation of the vSphere Web Client. The next major release of vSphere will have this client removed.
What method should I use to manage my vSphere environment?
- For vSphere 6.7 and later, we recommend you use the HTML5 vSphere Client and fall back to the vSphere Web Client when needed. For vSphere 6.5, we still recommend you use the HTML5 vSphere Client as much as possible, but you will likely still spend most of your time in the vSphere Web Client.
Does the HTML5 vSphere Client have full functionality in vSphere 6.7?
At launch of vSphere 6.7, 95% of workflows are available within the HTML5 vSphere Client. There are very few things left to implement. See more here: https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2018/05/fully-featured-html5-based-vsphere-client-coming-fall-2018.html
In vSphere 6.7 U1 we are now at 100% feature parity for vSphere. In future updates additional functionality and improvements have been added.
Can vCenter Server 6.7 manage ESXi 5.5 hosts?
No, hosts must be at least ESXi 6.0.
Do the vSphere Web Client (Flex) and vSphere Client (HTML5) have feature parity?
- In vSphere 6.5 in the latest release we are currently over 90%. With vSphere 6.7 Update 1 we are currently at 100% feature parity.
Is there a license cost for upgrading from vSphere 6.5 to vSphere 6.7?
- No, as long as you have an active VMware Support and Subscription contract.
I have vSphere Essential Plus. What am I limited to before or after my upgrade?
- Please review this vSphere version doc: https://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/vsphere/vmw-flyr-comparevsphereeditions-uslet.pdf
How can i Upgrade my vSphere 5.x license keys to vSphere 6.x?
- The following KB provides more detail on how to upgrade your vSphere licenses. https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2006974
Is VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) integrated in vCenter Server 6.7 or its still using a Windows server?
- Site Recovery Manager (SRM) will require a Windows server as it is not integrated into the 6.7 VCSA. However with the release of SRM 8.2 it can now be installed or migrated to an appliance version.
Will the vCenter Server migration tool bring over my Virtual Distributed Switches (vDS) during a migration to 6.7?
- Yes. The vDS settings are part of the migration of the vCenter Server.
How do I Update my Virtual Distributed Switch?
- Right click and choose upgrade, and select the version.
Where is Virtual Distributed Switch version 6.7?
- If using vCenter Server 6.7, VDS version 6.6 is the latest version.
Is the Virtual Distributed Switch upgrade to Version 6.6 disruptive?
- Not in all cases, but it can be. There are some known limitations which can cause a failure or issue. KB52621 has more information on the known issues.
How can I Upgrade from VMFS5 to VMFS6?
- There is no direct upgrade path, it does require deleting the datastore and recreating as VMFS6. The following KB has more information https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2147824
Am I required to update my ESXi hosts datastores to VMFS-6?
- This is optional, only upgrade your VMFS version if you would like to take advantage of the new features.
vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA)
With vCenter HA, do you need to pin the VCSA to a host or can DRS still move it?
DRS can move it and when deployed vCenter HA will enable DRS rules automatically to keep the nodes separated..
Is there a tool included to install certificates from our own (windows) CA?
- Yes, we have built-in tools to manage certificates. https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2111219
Platform Services Controller (PSC)
What changes are there between vSphere SSO Domains and PSC from 6.0 to 6.5?
Architecturally, PSC is the same across 6.x releases. In vSphere 6.0 the limit was 4 vCenter Servers per PSC. This limit imposed some design constraints and could cause some additional complexity. However, there is no longer a maximum number of vCenter Servers per PSC. In 6.5 the maximum number of vCenter Servers within a single vSphere SSO Domain (currently 10) can be supported by a single PSC. This simplifies the architecture and enables you to deploy a pair of PSCs in each physical site to support up to the maximum number of vCenter Servers in a vSphere SSO Domain. You could also choose a topology where each vCenter Server has its own external PSC. This means there would be 10 vCenter Servers and 10 external PSCs. More than 10 PSCs is not supported in a single vSphere SSO Domain.
PSCs are now also deployed with 4 GB of RAM by default (6.0 U3+ and 6.5 GA+) whereas in 6.0 U2 and prior they only had 2 GB. This could cause excessive swapping. 4 GB should be enough for most circumstances and it should not be changed unless advised to do so by VMware.
What is the latency requirement between PSCs and vCenter Servers for Enhanced Linked Mode?
We require a maximum latency of 100 ms RTT between nodes. There is a noticeable drop off in performance once the latency goes above 100 ms RTT. This will affect login times, inventory searches, and UI latency when managing objects in remote vCenter Servers.
When should I use an Embedded PSC vs External PSC?
Previously in vSphere 6.0 and prior to 6.5 Update 2, if you want/need Enhanced Linked Mode (e.g. multiple vCenter Servers in the same vSphere SSO Domain) you have to use an external PSC. As of 6.5 Update 2 and 6.7 we now support Enhanced Linked Mode with Embedded PSC's.
Is there a reason to use an External PSC even if I'm not going to use Enhanced Linked Mode?
No. vSphere 6.7 will be the final release that supports the External PSC. There are no benefit's to using the External PSC unless you were using a vSphere version that required the External PSC for Enhanced Linked Mode.
Do I really have to use a Load Balancer if I'm using vCenter HA with an External PSC?
Yes. First, why would you want a single point of failure (PSC) to be used as a dependency for a highly available vCenter Server? Second, it just won't work without the load balancer. Repointing the Active node of a VCHA cluster to a different PSC is unsupported.
Is there any other reason to use a Load Balancer for my external PSCs?
If you have external solutions, for example SRM and/or NSX, a load balancer will reduce the disruption if a PSC fails. Not only you have to repoint vCenter Server to another PSC within the same SSO Site (6.5 only) but they would also have to reconfigure those external solutions to point to the other PSC as well. So, while it does take some extra work to deploy and configure, it may be better in the long run and less disruptive to more than just vCenter Server in the event of a PSC failure.
What is the current status of operations involving SSO Domains such as repointing, merge/consolidation, and moving vCenter Servers between vSphere SSO Domains?
Repointing Across Sites – In vSphere 6.5 there is a limitation where a vCenter Server cannot be repointed to a PSC in a different SSO Site. We are evaluating changes to this behavior based on feedback received from customers.
SSO Domain Consolidation - In 6.7 we now provide a method to consolidate SSO domains using cmsso-util domain repoint. This is availble for External PSC's in 6.7 GA and for Embedded PSC's in 6.7 Update 1.
Moving between vSphere SSO Domains - In 6.7 we now provide a method to migrate between SSO domains using cmsso-util domain repoint. This is availble for External PSC's in 6.7 GA and for Embedded PSC's in 6.7 Update 1.
What is the upgrade order when upgrading or patching vCenter Server and PSCs?
PSCs always need to be upgraded/updated/patched first prior to performing the same on a vCenter Server. All PSCs in the vSphere SSO Domain must be updated and should be updated as close to each other as possible (within the same maintenance window). Once all PSCs are updated then the vCenter Servers can be updated. For example, when patching from 6.5 GA to 6.5.0a you need to patch all PSCs in the vSphere SSO Domain prior to patching any of the vCenter Servers. For more information about what happens when you have vCenter Servers with mixed versions such as some on 6.5 and some on 6.0 please see this blog post: https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2017/09/understanding-the-impacts-of-mixed-version-vcenter-server-deployments.html
If I'm going to upgrade to vSphere 6.5 and I want to migrate to an external PSC for Enhanced Linked Mode, should I do that before or after the upgrade?
If you are currently running multiple embedded SSO instances (5.5) or embedded PSCs (6.0) in a single vSphere SSO Domain, you need to move to an external SSO/PSC model first. Embedded PSC replication in 6.5 is not supported so, in order to make sure you are completely supported throughout the upgrade process, our recommendation is to move to an external SSO/PSC first and then upgrade.
If there are only standalone vCenter Servers with embedded SSO/PSC then you can upgrade first and then reconfigure to an external PSC once the vSphere 6.5 upgrade is complete.
How should I plan to manage SSL certificates in my vSphere 6.x environment?
Please review this blog post: http://vmware.com/go/hybridvmca