8 Replies Latest reply on Jun 12, 2018 11:17 AM by tractng

    Moving from 5.5 to 6.7

    tractng Hot Shot



      We are currently on VMware/(vCenter) 5.5 and looking at potentially moving to the latest VMware version this summer.  Can somebody stir me to the right path.  My thought process of migrating to the latest version below (of course I will try to test the upgrade first from a lab first once I have some information here).


      Current environment with VMware/vCenter 5.5

      -5 Dell hosts (R820) with 256 GM memory on each host.

      -2 shared storages (Tegile) with a few iSCSI (VMFS5) and NFS datastores.  Also a Linux server serving NFS for a few VMs

      -VSA appliance (vCenter), resides on one of the VMware hosts

      - around 120 VMs.


      Process of migration


      1) take one VMware host off the cluster (move all VMs off this host and place it in maintenance mode, shutdown).

           - delete host from cluster

           - install latest VMware on same hardware of host taken down (lets called newHost1)

           - bring newHost1 online as standalone, won't be part of the cluster at this stage.  Add datastores from the shared storage (shutdown some VMs and re-add them to newly built newHost1)


      2) Repeat step 1 for all the 5 hosts


      2a) Turn off HA/DRS after 2 hosts are taken down.


      3) Delete old VSA (vCenter) when down to the last VMware host and build new VSA (vCenter).  Re-add all newly built hosts to new vCenter and apply license keys, etc


      Please note we will be reusing all hardware.  We are expected to get new shared storage next July 2019.  The Dell servers are optional if we want to stay with the current R820 or buy new ones. So the question is it worth the migration now or just wait until we buy new hardware next summer and do a complete new build? Have 2 sets of VMware running concurrently and move the VMs over? I know version 5.5 support ends September of this year.


      Thanks ahead.


        • 1. Re: Moving from 5.5 to 6.7
          a.p. Guru
          User ModeratorsvExpertCommunity Warriors

          At this time, neither vSphere 6.5 Update2, nor vSphere 6.7 are supported by most 3rd party backup applications, so please take this - along with other apps you may be using - into consideration. According to the VMware HCL, the R820 hosts are also not supported for ESXi 6.7.

          Due to the End of general support date that you've mentioned, I'd consider to upgrade the environment to vSphere 6.5 Update 1, which should't even require downtime if you have vMotion in place. Some downtime will be required, if you plan to combine the host upgrades with a firmware/microcode upgrade due to the required power cycle for the VMs to get the new CPU features presented.


          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Moving from 5.5 to 6.7
            tractng Hot Shot

            Thank you for the response.  Yes I am aware of the backup since we haven't upgraded our Veeam for a while (deciding factor).  We want to make sure the backup version will support whatever VMware version we decide.


            We are currently using VMware 5.5 1892794.  Can you provide the link for the upgrade procedure?  Version 6.5 is a good suggestion (not too thrill about running the latest version and chasing the bugs).


            Thanks again.


            • 3. Re: Moving from 5.5 to 6.7
              tractng Hot Shot

              I am assuming vCenter 6.5 U2 is compatible with ESXi 6.5 U1?

              • 4. Re: Moving from 5.5 to 6.7
                Andeeh Lurker

                Yep, according to this:  VMware Product Interoperability Matrices

                • 5. Re: Moving from 5.5 to 6.7
                  a.p. Guru
                  User ModeratorsvExpertCommunity Warriors

                  I am assuming vCenter 6.5 U2 is compatible with ESXi 6.5 U1?

                  From a VMware perspective this is supported. However, maybe not (yet) from third party applications (backup etc.).


                  • 6. Re: Moving from 5.5 to 6.7
                    tractng Hot Shot

                    I am starting to read the KB regarding the upgrade and if you can confirm my understanding of the sequence.


                    1) Upgrade our single vCenter (VSA) first.  During the deployment, a new instance of 6.5 VSA with a temporary IP address is needed  (old IP address will be reclaimed after the upgrade).


                    2) Upgrade each ESXi host (this can be done over several days period?)





                    • 7. Re: Moving from 5.5 to 6.7
                      a.p. Guru
                      User ModeratorsCommunity WarriorsvExpert

                      Yes, that's basically the way to do it.

                      Please double check that the vCSA's has both, a forward, and reverse DNS entry, i.e. is resolvable by FQDN, and IP address. Otherwise the upgrade might fail.

                      If you are going to upgrade the host's firmware (microcode) too, consider to enable EVC for the cluster prior to upgrading the first host. If you don't do this, you may not be able to migrate/vMotion VMs which are powered on on an already upgraded host to a non upgraded one.

                      Once all hosts are upgraded, open the EVC settings again, and click the OK button, so that the new CPU features will be passed to newly powered on VMs.



                      • 8. Re: Moving from 5.5 to 6.7
                        tractng Hot Shot

                        In the case you had mentioned reverse DNS entries must be present for an upgrade from VMware 5.5 to 6.5, in our environment we have our VSA on RFC-1918 IP address space.  In this case reverse DNS becomes a bit more difficult.  In our environment the same RFC-1918 /25 subnet contains all of our physical ESXi server hosts in addition to our VSA, so everything is on a flat IP subnet.  Would one still require reverse DNS if this sort of topology is present?