How to Upgrade from Windows vCenter 5.5 to VCSA 6.5 including SRM

In last couple of days, I heard this question many times for below scenario. Since 5.5 is about to expire this month, so IT admins are upgrading their environment to new version of vSphere. Though going directly to 6.7 is something that do not meet N-1 requirement for most of the environment. Hence most of the admin prefers to put environment on vSphere 6.5.

Very first question everyone think about is –

  • Does upgradation path from vCenter 5.5 to VCSA 6.5 is supported? Answer is YES.
  • Does upgradation path from VMware SRM 5.8.1 to 6.5 is supported? Answer is NO. You need to upgrade VMware SRM 5.8.1 to 6.0 or 6.1.2, and then upgrade SRM 6.0 to 6.5.

Here we have details of existing environment and requirement which need to meet.

Existing Environment: –

  • Windows based vCenter Server – Version 5.5
  • Site Recovery Manager – Version 5.8
  • Replication Type in SRM – vSphere Replication

Requirement: –

  • Appliance based vCenter Server (VCSA) – Version 6.5
  • Site Recovery Manager – Version 6.5
  • Replication Type in SRM – vSphere Replication

Sequence to upgrade Windows based vCenter 5.5 to VCSA 6.5: –

SRM

If you are planning to upgrade your vSphere environment, follow this order to upgrade vCenter server, SRM, and vSphere Replication.

Overview of Upgrade order: –

  • Since vCenter server 5.5 doesnt have PSC server, you need to make sure that you install PSC when prior to upgrade vCenter server.
  • Upgrade PSC and vCenter Server in Protected Site.
  • Upgrade vSphere Replication appliance in Protected Site.
  • Upgrade Site Recovery Manager in Protected Site.
  • Perform the same steps in Recovery Site.
  • If you are using array based replication in SRM, you need to upgrade SRA in both site.
  • Once up gradation sequence has been done, verify vCenter server and SRM sites status.
  • Upgrade ESXi host in both protected and recovery sites.

Step by Step Guide to Upgrade vSphere Environment: –

Prerequisites: –

  • Download vCenter Server Appliance ISO image, VMware SRM 6.5 setup, and vSphere Replication appliance from VMware download portal.
  • Ensure that you have a windows machine from where you will initiate the installation.
  • Ensure to get SSO credentials and VCDB and SRM DB database handy.
  • Note down the details of ESXi Host where you will deploy VCSA appliance.
  • If you want to use the same name of vCenter Server which you are using currently, you need to rename windows vCenter VM with alternate name.
  • If you are using VMware SRM 5.8.1, then you need to upgrade it to VMware SRM 6.0 and then you can upgrade it to Vmware SRM 6.5.

vCenter Server Upgrade: –

There are two stage process to upgrade vCenter Server.

  1. Deployment of VCSA
  2. Migration of Windows vCenter Data to newly deployed VCSA.

The-VCSA-6.5-Stages

Stage 1:

  • Now mount VCSA image ISO in any windows machine. Explore the ISO folder and navigate to VMware-Migration-Assistant.exe. Right click and click on Run as Administrator.
  • Follow the steps and provide SSO credentials.
  • Once you will get black screen with a message – Waiting for migration to Start, Switch to ISO folder again.
  • Go to vcsa-ui-installer/win32 folder and click on Installer and Run as administrator.
  • On windows screen, you will get four options.
    • Install
    • Upgrade
    • Migrate
    • Restore
  • Click on Migrate and follow the steps to complete the deployment of VCSA.

Stage 2:

  • Once deployment gets complete, you need to switch to stage 2. Here you need to migrate existing windows vCenter server data to VCSA.
  • During the data migration the Windows vCenter will be shutdown and the VCSA will be configured with its IP address.
  • Follow the steps and complete stage 2. Now you can access vCenter server using Web client.

 

Upgrade vSphere Replication Appliance: –

Download vSphere replication appliance and upgrade appliance by following below VMware document.

https://docs.vmware.com/en/vSphere-Replication/6.5/com.vmware.vsphere.replication-admin.doc/GUID-30083484-FB13-485E-AEC9-0695EADB7B3D.html

Upgrade VMware Site Recovery Manager: –

Follow below article to upgrade VMware Site Recovery Manager.

https://docs.vmware.com/en/Site-Recovery-Manager/6.5/com.vmware.srm.install_config.doc/GUID-4642FBA0-6D25-4B68-912A-1BDD8D02EF00.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

How vMotion Works ?

What is vMotion?

  • vMotion  enables live migration of a running virtual machine between ESXi Hosts
  • It is transparent to the Virtual Machine’s OS and applications.
  • Invaluable tool to admin to achieve the followings;
    • Avoid Server Downtime
    • Allow Troubleshooting
    • Provide Flexibility
  • Key enabler of DRS, DPM, and FT

vMotion works

What needs to be migrated?

  • Processor and devices state  – CPU, Network, SVGA
  • Disk – Use shared storage between source and destination
  • Memory – Pre copy memory while Virtual Machine is running

How vMotion Works?

  • Quiesce Virtual Machine on source machine.
  • Transfer memory and device state(checkpoint) from source to destination.
  • Resume Virtual Machine on Destination
  • Copy remainder of memory from source to destination
  • Free Virtual Machine resources on source machine.

vMotion Step by Step

Other Interesting Facts, Problems, and Troubleshooting: –

  • Virtual  Machine remains suspended during memory transfer
  • Copying Virtual Machine with large memory size may problematic.
  • 64 GB Virtual Machine requires around 57 seconds on 10 GbE NIC.
  • VMotion will check the remote system to make sure there is enough RAM and CPU before it begins the process.

Troubleshooting: –

  • Migration ID is same on source and destination.
    • Go to VMkernel log (/var/log/vmkernel.log)
    • Grep the migration ID for all vMotion related timing and statistics.

That’s it from here. Stay connected.

 

Learn SRM – Part 14 – Perform Cleanup Activity in VMware SRM 6.5

Once our Testing has been completed, we need to run cleanup of the environment. Site Recovery Manager performs several cleanup operations after a test.

  • Powers off the recovered virtual machines.
  • Replaces recovered virtual machines with placeholders, preserving their identity and configuration information.
  • Cleans up replicated storage snapshots that the recovered virtual machines used during the test.

Step by Step: –

  • Login to VMware Site Recovery Manager Console.
  • Go to Monitor Tab and Click on icon highlighted in Red box.

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  • Ready the Informational message. you may also choose Force Cleanup option if normal cleanup doesn’t work properly.
  • Click on Next

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  • Cleanup Activity is ready to complete. Click on Finish to start the activity.

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  • Monitor the Status of Cleanup Activity.

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  • Cleanup has been done. Status is again in Ready State now. You can see the Green Run icon has been highlighted.

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That’s all about Cleaning up our environment after Test Disaster Recovery. I will also add one more article which will show you how to Perform Recovery during Real Disaster. Stay Tuned to next article.

Take a look in below topics, explore and learn Site Recovery Manager: –

Learn SRM – Part 13 – Perform Test Drill using VMware SRM 6.5

In earlier posts, we have gone through with the Installation and Configuration of Vmware Site Recovery Manager. We explored both version 8.1 as well as 6.5.

We are no on final stage of our planning. SRM is ready for your environment. You can now plan Disaster Recovery Test to check the functionality. Here we are going to perform the same. We have the recovery plan configured according to our requirement, now let’s initiate the test drill. Remember that when you test a recovery plan, SRM uses the test network to test the VMs and keep Recovered Virtual machines in a bubble network. During test drill, your production Virtual machines will remain powered on and there is no impact on Production environment. Testing a Recovery Plan creates a snapshot on the recovery site of all the disk files of the virtual machines in the plan.

Let’s move to the Step by Step Guide to Perform a Test Drill: –

  • Login to Site Recovery Manager Console.
  • Go to Recovery Plans and Click on Recovery Plan you want to initiate. You can group your virtual machines in Protection Groups and later can add those protection groups to the recovery group. Now you will have choice which Virtual Machines you want to test.

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  • Go to Monitor tab and Click on Green Run Icon.

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  • Select Replicate Recent changes to recovery site. Click Next.

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  • Test is ready to start. Click on Finish.

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  • You can check the status from here. There are multiple steps which it will perform. Make sure that it give a success message to all steps. In case you get any failure message, you need to verify and rectify that issue again.

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  • You can also go to Objects tab under Recovery Plan and Check the overall status of testing.

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  • Recovery still in progress but moved to different stage now. Keep an eye on this.

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This is all about Test Recovery or you can say Test Drill of Disaster Recovery. Next we are moving to Cleanup Activity.

Take a look in below topics, explore and learn Site Recovery Manager: –

Learn SRM – Part 12 – Configure Recovery Plans in VMware SRM 6.5

In this article, we are going to cover Recovery Plan. We will see how you can create a Recovery plan. A recovery plan specifies how Site Recovery Manager recovers the virtual machines in the protection groups that it contains. You can include one or more protection groups in a recovery plan.

Step by Step Guide: –

  • Login to Site Recovery Manager Console. To do so, go to Web Client and Open vCenter Server. Go to Home Page and Click on Site Recovery.
  • Under Site Recovery Console, Click on Recovery Plans. You will get Objects tab there. Click on Create Recovery Plans.

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  • Enter a name for Recovery Plan and Select a location for this recovery plan. Click on Next.

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  • Select the site to which the VMs in this plan will recover. Here I have choosed my Recovery Site. Click on Next.

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  • Select Protection Group you want to add to this Recovery Plan. You can add more than one Protection Groups in a Recovery Plan. Click on Next.

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  • Select the test networks and Click on Next.

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  • Recovery Plan is Ready to Complete. Click on Finish.

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  • Review the Recovery Plan under Recovery Plan tab.

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That’s all from Site Recovery Manager Configuration part. SRM is ready to execute DR. Now in next article, we will see how to execute test and Disaster Recovery. Stay Tuned.

Take a look in below topics, explore and learn Site Recovery Manager: –