Plugin Compatibility Validation in vCenter Upgrades

Recently a co-worker reached out to me asking if I had encountered any issues with upgrading VMware vCenter v7 to v8. More specifically, if I had seen any issues with 3rd party plugin integrations that we typically deal with (NetApp, Cisco, HPE etc.)

It just so happened that I was in the middle of upgrading my lab from vCenter v7 to v8 and noticed that both my NetApp Virtual Storage Conole and HPE VMware for vCenter plugins stopped working. My co-worker recommended that I write a blog post about it.

Upgrading your VMware vCenter environment from v7 to v8 is a significant step forward for any IT infrastructure. It promises enhanced performance, new features, and improved security. However, this upgrade can be a double-edged sword if not handled correctly, particularly when it comes to plugin compatibility.

In this post, I will explore why validating plugin compatibility with vCenter is crucial both before and after the upgrade process. I will also demonstrate by replacing my existing NetApp VSC to a VMware vCenter 8 supported plug-in.

The Risks of Ignoring Plugin Compatibility

Plugins extend the functionality of vCenter, providing essential tools for management, monitoring, and integration with third-party applications.

Ignoring their compatibility can lead to:

  • Operational Disruptions: Incompatible plugins may cause failures in routine operations, leading to downtime and business losses.
  • Security Vulnerabilities: Outdated plugins might expose your system to security risks, making it a target for cyber-attacks.
  • Data Integrity Issues: Inconsistencies between plugin data structures and the new vCenter version can result in data corruption or loss.

Pre-Upgrade Validation

Before upgrading to vCenter 8, it’s imperative to:

  • Review Plugin Documentation: Check the compatibility lists provided by plugin vendors to ensure they support vCenter 8.
  • Test in a Sandbox Environment: Deploy the new vCenter version in a controlled setting and test each plugin to identify potential issues.
  • Plan for Contingencies: Have a rollback plan in case a critical plugin is not yet compatible with the new version

Post-Upgrade Validation

Once the upgrade is complete, the validation process isn’t over. You should:

  • Monitor System Logs: Look for errors or warnings related to plugins that could indicate compatibility problems.
  • Verify Functionalities: Ensure that all plugin features work as expected in the new environment.
  • Update Policies and Procedures: Adjust your operational procedures to accommodate any changes in plugin behavior or features.

NetApp Virtual Storage Console (VSC) – Plugin Intergration

The deployed NetApp (VSC) VM no longer functions and needs to be upgraded or replaced.

After clicking on Inventory, you no longer can see the NetApp Plugin (I have already upgraded the HPE OneView for VMware vCenter)

Under Administration, you can see that the NetApp (VSC) has failed and needs to be replaced.

While you can perform and upgrade of your appliance, and since this is a lab; I decided to delete the VM and redeploy.

Login to NetApp Support go to Downloads and click on (v)

Click on Virtual Console for VMware vSphere

Click on the VSC download as see here

Accept and Continue

Click Continue

Click on the OVA file and download

Lets deploy a NEW OVF Template

Select the Local File radio button

Browse and select the downloaded image ova

I am using the same VM name ‘dc3-hst-vsc’ (This is a FQDN in Active Directory)

Review Details and Click Next

Accept EULA and click Next

Select a Datastore and Choose ‘Thin Provisioning’

Select the Network

Fill out the Customized Template, don’t forget the passwords.

Enter the vCenter Information

Validate and Click Next

Monitor the deployment of the OVA

Power on the VM

After the VM is powered on, wait for approximately 5 minutes and you will notice a blue bar at the top of the screen. Refresh your browser.

Now we see the Plugin being recognized by vCenter

Conclusion

Validating plugin compatibility is not just a best practice; it’s a necessity for a successful vCenter upgrade. By taking the time to ensure that your plugins will work seamlessly with vCenter 8, you safeguard your infrastructure against unnecessary risks and pave the way for a smooth transition.

Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Happy upgrading!

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