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You should not upgrade if your hardware isn't certified compatible with vSphere 7 or if your backup software vendor hasn't released an upgrade for your backup software. Also, please consider all of your dependencies, such as monitoring or other data recovery (DR) or replication software you might be running, and which of these the upgrade to the latest vSphere 7 might affect.
|vSphere 5.5 and 6.0||vSphere 7||Not supported|
|vSphere 6.5 and 6.7||vSphere 7||Supported|
Note: If you are running vSphere 6.0, please note that end of general support (EOGS) for vSphere 6.0 has been effective since March 12, 2020.
vSphere 7 update sequence ^
If you want a more detailed overview on the sequence of how you need to upgrade, here's a quick list of the different software components and additions that might be present in your environment.
If you're running these solutions, you should upgrade them before you upgrade to vSphere 7:
- vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager
- vRealize Log Insight
- vRealize Network Insight
- vRealize Automation
- vStorage API for Data Protection (vADP) backup solution (or any backup program you're using to back up your VMs)
- vSphere Replication
- VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM)
- vCenter Server
- VMware Tools
- Virtual hardware
- Virtual Storage Area Network (VSAN)/Virtual Machine File System (VMFS)
Steps to do before the upgrade ^
- Create a backup of your VCSA 6.7 via your regular backup software.
- Create a snapshot of your VCSA 6.7 VM via vSphere Client.
- Create a file-level backup via the administration interface of your VCSA by connecting to the vCenter Appliance Management Infrastructure (VAMI) user interface at https://ip_of_VCSA:5480.
- Do the same for all of your vCenter Servers and Platform Services Controllers (PSCs) if any.
You might consider these steps a bit too cautious, but things can go wrong, and we all knows Murphy's law, don't we? If you have a large vSphere environment with multiple vCenter Servers linked with multiple sites, it might take a while, but it allows you to go back and restore if something goes wrong.
When upgrading your vCenter Server from version 6.5 or 6.7 to 7.0, the installer can detect external PSCs. This allows merging these two processes for a simple method of upgrading and consolidating deprecated single sign-on SSO topologies.
The vCenter Server 6.7 to 7.0 upgrade steps ^
I assume you have vCenter Server 6.5 or 6.7 up and running and that it is a vCenter Server on Linux (VCSA).
First, mount the ISO within Windows Explorer if you're running the upgrade from a Windows workstation or laptop. You can also use Linux or Mac as operating systems to launch the upgrade.
The VCSA 7.0 ISO has this subfolder:
Here you can find the installer.exe you'll need to launch.
This will launch the assistant.
The process has two phases:
- Phase 1 deploys a new vCenter Server (creates a new VM) to the target ESXi host or a compute resource on the target vCenter Server.
- Phase 2 copies data from the source appliance to the newly deployed vCenter Server.
vSphere 7 upgrade: connect to the source VCSA 6.7
After accepting the VMware end-user license agreement (EULA), we can connect to the source appliance and the source vCenter Server or ESXi host.
In the next window, you'll see a pop-up window. This is the prompt to accept the certificate. Click OK to accept the certificate.
Note: During the upgrade process, you will be able to merge any external PSCs that might be present in your environment. The system will automatically merge these into vSphere 7 as embedded PSCs. This has been the case since the 6.7 recommended architecture and because vSphere 7 the only way of going forward. It is no longer possible to deploy external PSCs from within the VCSA ISO.
We need to specify a folder for the VM's location at the destination.
Also, as we do not have our Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) active, we need to select the host where the VM will be running.
The next step is to specify the name of the VCSA VM, which the vSphere Client UI will show.
The deployment size lets you define which size of your environment the vCenter Server will be responsible for. With this, the VM will have the correct number of virtual CPUs (vCPUs) and enough virtual RAM (vRAM) to function correctly.
One of the last steps is to specify the datastore for the VM disk files. Note the option for thin disks lets us save some datastore space.
The network settings for the temporary execution during the upgrade must be different from the original vCenter Server settings. The upgrade process will shut down the source vCenter, and the new vCenter Server will receive the network configuration of the old vCenter.
That's it. We can now see the recapitulation window with all the details.
Click the Finish button to start the assistant
We can now start the upgrade process.
After the first stage, the assistant will launch the second stage (configuration).
We can specify what we want to copy. In our case we don't need the Tasks, Events, or Performance Metrics.
We can join the VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) for free, but it is not a mandatory step.
After clicking the Next button, we can see the assistant will shut down the source vCenter Server and apply the new configuration.
Note the checkbox to back up the vCenter Server. This one is mandatory.
We can follow the progress through the web-based window.
At the end, an information window tells us that vSphere 7.0 disables TLS 1.0 and 1.1; however, we have no errors.
Then we have the final screen.
We're done. Now we can connect to the same URL as usual, and we now have vSphere 7 as a view.
After we have upgraded our vCenter Server to version 7.0, we can now upgrade our hosts and clusters to ESXi 7.0, but this is outside of scope of this post. There are several ways to upgrade individual ESXi hosts, but the preferred way is via vSphere Update Manager (VUM). This is now called Lifecycle Manager and is responsible for installing and upgrading or patching hosts to the latest release.
Final words ^
VMware has greatly polished and simplified the migration process. While the upgrade to vSphere 6.7 still had some manual conversion steps for external PSCs, the vSphere 7 upgrade process has integrated this workflow to provide a seamless experience.
The upgrade process is quite simple, and preparing for the upgrade takes more time than the actual upgrade. You must make sure all of your installed solutions are compatible and upgrade them first.
The post-upgrade tasks consist of upgrading some of your VMs to virtual hardware 17 perhaps (not mandatory) and updating VMware Tools on all of your VMs.