vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade Series – PSC VCSA Upgrade

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  • vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade Series – PSC VCSA Upgrade

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

Welcome to my blog and thanks for checking it out.  As the title implies I’ll be stepping you through upgrading an existing vSphere 6.5 GA or above environment to vSphere 6.5 U1.  The process is incredibly simple depending on how many hosts you have it doesn’t take that much time at all.   This will be broken into three articles, one for the PSC upgrade, one for the vCenter upgrade and one to demonstrate using Update Manager to upgrade hosts.  If you haven’t upgraded to vSphere 6.5 yet check out my vSphere 6.5 Series.

PSC VCSA Upgrade

We’ve been using vSphere 6.5 for a while now and it’s really good.  It’s taken some getting used to switching to the HTML5 or the Flash Web Client.  Really a combination of both for me.  The Flash client unfortunately still has Update Manager and many other advanced features all to itself so we still have to use it.  Thankfully not daily if you’re the typical administrator though.    Up until now there have been several minor patches but now we have the first major update of course called vSphere 6.5 Update 1 (U1).

There’s really not a lot of new features or functionality in this release.  Between vSphere 6.5 RTM, vSphere 6.5.0a and vSphere 6.5 U1 it’s mostly bug fixes, patches and driver updates.  Here’s the release notes for the two updates:

vSphere 6.5.0a Release Notes

vSphere 6.5 U1 Release Notes

My intent with this series is to demonstrate how easy it now is to upgrade your vSphere environment if you’re using the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA).  As you may or may not know there’s a specific order to this upgrade process.  While very simple in most environments, it could be very complex depending on whether you have additional components or features in use or not.  If you’re using NSX, Horizon View, vROPs, SRM or vSAN among many others you need to perform the upgrade in order or you will cause yourself some major issues.  Thankfully VMware has a KB article detailing the order in which the various components need to be upgraded in.

My lab environment is deployed with one external Platform Services Controller (PSC) VCSA and one vCenter Server (VCSA).  We will first upgrade the PSC in this article.  I’ll upgrade the vCenter in the next article.  Finally I will upgrade the ESXi hosts using Update Manager in the third article.  We start by going to the HTML5 client and taking a look at the cluster.

We open our browser of choice and navigate to the FQDN of the vCenter Server “https://<vCenter FQDN>/ui” to get to the HTML5 client.  Once you login we get to see the shiny new client that most users are raving about.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

Taking a quick look here at my PSC VCSA appliance I find my IP address and FQDN.  If you deployed the PSC VCSA properly then you have the FQDN created in DNS. From here we need to open another browser tab and navigate to the FQDN of the PSC VCSA like so “https://<PSC VCSA FQDN>/psc”.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

If you logged into the vCenter Server like I mentioned in the first step you won’t be prompted for credentials logging into the PSC here.  Once logged in we go to the Appliance Settings section on the left.  The Appliance Settings tab has a link to the VMware Platform Services Appliance page. Click the link or we could also open yet another tab and navigate to “https://<PSC VCSA FQDN>:5480″.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

We need to login since this is the internal Appliance Management page and it requires the root account which is the only defined account on this appliance.  I enter the root credentials and click Login.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

Once logged in Click the Update section on the left.  Notice the current Update Version.  I’m  a few Express Patches beyond the GA release version on my deployment.  To find out where you are VMware has a handy article to correlate your build number and versions of vCenter Server.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

Normally you won’t have to check the Settings but we’re going to here just to look at the options.  Click the Settings button.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

By default the PSC VCSA appliance is set to Use default repository.  This goes to the pre-defined VMware Update Repository.  Here we could set the appliance to Check for updates automatically or to Use specified repository to download updates from.  Click OK or Cancel if you made no changes.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

Click the Check Updates drop down and then click Check Repository.  If your servers or in this case appliances do not have direct access to the internet you could also burn the updates to a CD/DVD and use Check CDROM to find them there.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

After clicking Check Repository it goes out to the VMware Update Repository and checks for any updates beyond the version you’re currently on.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

In my case I have vSphere 6.5 U1 available to install.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

Click the Install Updates drop down and then the Install All Updates option.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

Like we always do, take your time and read the EULA…  When you’re ready to sign your life away click I accept the terms of the license agreement.   Then click the Install button.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

Here’s a few screenshots detailing the progress of the update.  Once the update is complete click OK to continue.

Back on the Update section we now have a different Update Version.  The Status indicates the  Update was successfully installed but that we need to reboot to apply it.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

Click the Summary section on the left and then click Reboot to apply the update.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

Click Yes to indicate you really do want to reboot the PSC VCSA appliance.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

The System Reboot dialog displays for a few seconds and then logs you out.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

Once the appliance has finished rebooting and you’ve logged back in go back to the Update section on the left.  Under Current version details we no longer have a Status and the update has successfully been applied.  But wait!  There’s more!  We click Check Updates and Check Repository again to find there is an additional update package available to bring us to vSphere 6.5 U1a.  Some updates must be done sequentially and in this case that is true.  At the time of this writing there’s even another update package available to vSphere 6.5 U1b.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

We of course want to be on the latest and greatest, right?  Click Install Updates and Install All Updates just like the first time.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

After you’re through reading the EULA again click Accept to continue.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

We have the option here to join the VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program.  If you don’t want your appliance sending information to VMware then uncheck the Join the VMware’s Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) box and click Install to continue.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

This looks familiar I hope.  Once the update is installed click OK to continue.

Navigate to the Summary section on the left and click Reboot and Yes to reboot the PSC VCSA appliance.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

The PSC VCSA appliance reboots again.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

We log back in to the PSC VCSA appliance and go back to the Update section.  The Update version should now read the latest version available.

vSphere 6.5 U1 Upgrade

In Conclusion

Hats off to VMware!  They could have made this easier somehow, but honestly, short of the appliance updating itself or putting a big update button directly in the vSphere Web Client, I don’t know how.   A couple of clicks and you’re on the latest release of vSphere 6.5.  This is the first step in updating to vSphere 6.5 U1 since we now need to update our vCenter VCSA appliance.  Check back for my next article where I’ll step through a very similar procedure to update the vCenter VCSA appliance.  Thanks for reading!

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