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: –


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.


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.

Upgrade VMware Site Recovery Manager: –

Follow below article to upgrade VMware Site Recovery Manager.







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: –

Learn SRM – Part 10 – Create Placeholder Datastore in VMware SRM 6.5

Welcome back to the new article on VMware SRM. This topic will cover how to Create Placeholder Datastore in VMware SRM. I am using VMware SRM 6.5.

For every virtual machine in a protection group, Site Recovery Manager creates a placeholder virtual machine at the recovery site. You must identify a datastore on the recovery site in which Site Recovery Manager can store the placeholder virtual machines.

After you select the datastore to contain the placeholder virtual machines, Site Recovery Manager reserves a place for protected virtual machines in the inventory on the recovery site. Site Recovery Manager creates a set of virtual machine files on the specified datastore at the recovery site and uses that subset to register the placeholder virtual machine with vCenter Server on the recovery site.

Step by Step: –

  • To create Placeholder Datastore at both site, you need to login to VMware SRM console.
  • Select Protected Site and go to Placeholder datastores tab.
  • Click on Box icon under placeholder datastores tab.

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  • Go to Sites > Manage and Click on Placeholder Datastore. Click on OK. Make sure that you have already created this datastore in Protected Site’s Virtual Center.

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  • Perform the same step for Recovery Site. Select Recovery Site under Sites.
  • Go to Placeholder datastores. Click on Box icon.

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  • Select Placeholder datastore for Recovery Site. Make sure that you have already created this datastore in recovery Site’s Virtual Center.

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Placeholder datastores have been created in both site.

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That’s all from this article. We are moving to next article which is to Configure Protected Group in VMware SRM. Stay Connected.

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

Learn SRM – Part 9 – Configure Inventory Mapping in VMware SRM 6.5

Welcome back to new topic of VMware Site Recovery Manager. In last article, we saw how to Configure Array Manager. Here we are going to configure Resource Mapping which is one of important point to know for every VMware admin who is using SRM. If you configure site-wide inventory mappings before you create protection groups, you do not have to configure protection individually on each virtual machine when you create a protection group. Site Recovery Manager applies the site-wide mappings to all virtual machines in an array-based replication protection group at the moment that you create the protection group.

During a Disaster Recovery or Test Drill, when virtual machines start on the recovery site, the virtual machines use the resources on the recovery site that you specify in the mappings.

There are numerous kind of inventory mapping such as Network Mappings, Folder Mappings, Resource Mappings, Storage Policy Mappings. Here in this article we are going to perform mapping of Network, Folder, and Resource Mapping. We are not using Storage Policy Protection in this lab so we are not going to configure that. When you use storage policy protection, Site Recovery Manager applies inventory mappings at the moment that a recovery plan runs. You cannot configure protection individually on the virtual machines in a storage policy protection group. As a consequence, you must configure site-wide inventory mappings if you use storage policy protection.

Let’s jump to the Step by Step Guide to Configure Inventory Mapping in VMware SRM 6.5: –

  • Login to SRM Console using vCenter Server.
  • Go to Sites and Click on Manage Tab.

Configure Network Mapping

  • Click on Network Mappings.

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  • Select option “Automatically prepare mappings for networks with matching names” and Click on Next.

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  • Map networks on the protected site to networks on the recovery site. Select Networks in Site to Site pairing and Click on Add mappings.

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  • Select test networks to be used instead of the recovery networks while running tests. Click on Next. When you initiate a test DR, all VMs will be mapped to this test network in recovery site and create a isolated network form Production environment. Which you generally know as bubble network.

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  • Prepare reverse mapping  from Recovery Site to Protected Site.

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  • Network mapping has been done. You can review the same from Network Mapping option under Manage tab.

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Folder Mapping

  • Go to SRM Console > Sites > Manage
  • Click on Folder Mappings.

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  • Select “Automatically prepare mappings for folders with matching names.” Click on Next.

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  • Map datacenters or virtual machine folders on the protected site to datacenters or virtual machine folders on the recovery site. Select Folders from Protected Site and recovery Site and Click on Add Mappings. You need to select both side. I missed
  • Click on Next.

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  • Select Configured mappings and Click on Next.

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  • Review the configuration of Folder Mappings under Sites > Manage tab.

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Resource Mapping

  • Login to SRM Console. Go to Sites > Manage.
  • Click on Resource Mappings.

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  • Map resource pools, standalone hosts, vApps, or clusters on the protected site to resource pools, standalone hosts, vApps, or clusters on the recovery site. You can map any type of resource on one site to any type of resource on the other site. Here I have selected Cluster Resource of Protected to recovery Site.
  • Click on Next.

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  • Select configured mappings for which to automatically create reverse mappings from Recovery Site to Protected Site. Click on Finish.

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That’s all from this topic. Now moving to next topic which is Create Placeholder Datastore in VMware SRM sites. Stay tuned.

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