Upgrade to vCenter Server 8.0

Background:

Now that vSphere 8.0 is GA, I have upgraded the Humbled Geeks lab for us to see the new features in action and familiarize ourselves with the new look!

I took screenshots along the way to share how the upgrade was done. Specifically, this post will detail the steps needed to upgrade our existing vCenter Server 7.0u3 appliance to vCenter Server 8.0, non-disruptively.

Disclaimer:

I am documenting the procedure of upgrading our lab for educational purposes. If you attempt to follow these procedures in your environment, ensure that you have backups of your existing appliance(s) and proceed with caution.

Getting Started:

Before you get started, I strongly recommend you check the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix to validate compatibility with other VMware products in your environment; i.e., VMware NSX-T.

To upgrade vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) from version 6.5 or older, you must first upgrade to version 6.7 or 7.0, and then upgrade to version 8.0. This may also be found on the Upgrade Path tab of the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix.

After validating our VMware products are compatible with vCenter Server 8.0, I was ready to get started!

Download VMware vCenter Binary:
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Login to VMware Customer Connect: Download VMware vSphere – VMware Customer Connect.
– Navigate to Products and Accounts > All Products.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Find VMware vSphere and click “View Download Components“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Select version “8.0“, from the Select Version drop-down.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Click “GO TO DOWNLOADS“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Download the “VMware vCenter Server Appliance” ISO image.
Click “Read More” to see file hashes.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Determine the file hash to use for comparison.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Get the file hash for the vCenter Server Appliance ISO.
– I used PowerShell’s Get-FileHash cmdlet.
Stage 1 – Upgrade vCenter Server Appliance to 8.0:
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Open the “VMware-VCSA-all-8.0.0-20519528.iso” to mount the ISO.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Open the “vcsa-ui-installer” folder.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Open the “win32” folder.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Open the “installer.exe” file.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Click “Upgrade“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Click “NEXT“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Select the “I accept the terms of the license agreement.” checkbox.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Enter the Existing VCSA FQDN and click “CONNECT TO SOURCE“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
The vCenter Server installer will connect to the existing vCenter Server.
– I will be connecting to the existing vCenter Server to allow for advanced features that will be demonstrating later in this post.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Enter information for Existing VCSA and the ESXi Host its on.
SSO credentials for the existing VCSA.
FQDN of Existing VCSA.
– Scroll down to continue.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Enter Existing VCSA credentials.
– Click “NEXT“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Click “YES“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Give the installer a moment to validate credentials.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Enter the Existing VCSA FQDN and credentials.
– Click “NEXT“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Click “YES“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Select the folder to place the new VCSA into.
– This is one of the advanced features that is only available when connecting to the an existing VCSA.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Select the ESXI Host to place the new VCSA onto.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Enter a Name and Root credentials for the new VCSA.
– I will be re-naming the new VCSA to the name currently used, and will temporarily append “.NEW” to the new VCSA.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Select the appropriate deployment size.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Select the Datastore to place the new VCSA onto.
– Check the “Enable Thin Disk Mode” checkbox.
– Click “NEXT“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Select the appropriate Virtual Machine Port Group for the new VCSA’s management network.
– This is another advanced feature made available when connecting to an existing VCSA. If you had vDS in your environment, you would be able to select that, otherwise you would have to create an “ephemeral” port group.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Enter a temporary IP address.
– Click “NEXT“.
– When I get to Stage 2 of the upgrade, I will take over the IP address of the existing VCSA.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Click “FINISH“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Stage 1 will start the deployment of the new VCSA.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
You will see both VCSAs in your existing VCSA’s inventory.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Once Stage 1 has completed, click “CONTINUE“.
Stage 2 – Upgrade vCenter Server Appliance to 8.0:

Note: Be sure that DRS is disabled.

vCenter 8 Upgrade
Click “NEXT“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
The Stage 2 installer will then run a Pre-Upgrade check on your existing VCSA.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Review the Pre-Upgrade check results.
– None of these items require resolution in our lab environment.
– Click “CLOSE“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Select what data the installer will migrate to the new VCSA.
– Since this is our lab environment, I am only selecting “Configuration and inventory“.
– Click “NEXT“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Ensure the “Join the VMware’s Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP)” checkbox is selected (recommended), or don’t.
– Click “NEXT“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Review the Stage 2 summary and check “I have backed up the source vCenter Server and all the required data from the database“.
– Click “FINISH“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Click “OK” to confirm the existing VCSA will be shutdown once the new VCSA takes over the network configuration.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
The Stage 2 installer will begin migrating data from the existing VCSA to the new VCSA.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
The existing VCSA is shutdown and I am logged into the new VCSA as the installer continues.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Notice the new VCSA will have both the temporary IP address and the former VCSA’s IP address.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Click “CLOSE“.
– Close out any browser sessions to the existing VCSA.
– Open a new browser session to login to the new VCSA.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
We now have vCenter Server 8.0 running in our lab environment.
Renaming New vCenter Server Appliance:

Since this is a lab environment and we have the existing VCSA backed up, I can safely delete the former VCSA. In a production environment, I may keep the former VCSA for a short period of time just in case.

Once the former VCSA has been deleted, I can rename the new VCSA to our naming standard and perform a Storage vMotion to update folder structure.

vCenter 8 Upgrade
Remove “.NEW” from the VCSA name.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Right-click the VCSA and click “Migrate…”.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Select “Change storage only“.
– Click “NEXT“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Select the datastore where the VCSA will move onto.
– Click “NEXT“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
Click “FINISH“.
vCenter 8 Upgrade
New VCSA now matches our naming standard.
Next Steps:

At this point, we can start upgrading our managed ESXi hosts. In our next blog post, we will be demonstrating how to use LifeCycle Manager to automate the ESXi upgrade of our hosts.

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