Being able to monitor our VMware vSphere successfully and proactively is key to maintaining a healthy VMware environment. VMware vRealize Operations Manager (vROps) is a great product that allows valuable insights into the health of the backend ESXi hosts, including compute, storage, and networking, as well as vCenter itself. Additionally, Endpoint agents can display information about guest operating systems (OSes), processes, and applications.
Recently, VMware announced the release of vROps 6.6, which has many new features and improvements, including native vSAN and vRealize Automation support as well as a major overhaul to the user interface (UI). This version of vROps incorporates a new HTML5 interface that mirrors the HTML5 "preview" we have in vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) 6.5. Upgrading to vROps 6.6 is a worthy step up.
Let's look at the process of upgrading vROps, and in this case, we will look at upgrading to the latest vROps 6.6.
Upgrading different versions ^
To upgrade to vROps 6.6, the requirements are as follows:
- vRealize 6.0.x or 6.1 must use a two-step upgrade, first upgrading to 6.3.1 and then to 6.6
- Versions 6.5, 6.4, 6.3.1, 6.3, 6.2.1, or 6.2 can upgrade directly to version 6.6
Upgrade process step 1: OS update ^
The first thing to do before running any upgrade process is to create a snapshot of the current vROps. A regular VMware snapshot is sufficient; however, a backup using a process aware of Changed Block Tracking (CBT) is fine as well.
The upgrade process involves us first downloading and applying the PAK file for the OS and then applying the PAK file for the appliance software. To obtain the PAK files for vROps, log in to your VMware portal and download the PAK files available for vROps 6.6. You can find these in the VMware vSphere with Operations Management tree under vSphere version 6.5, clearly designated by OS and application.
After downloading the upgrade PAK files, log in to the admin portal of vROps, available at https://<vropsserveraddress>/admin. Navigate to Software Update > Install a Software Update…
Using the Browse button, first navigate to and select the OS upgrade PAK file. After selecting it, click the Upload button.
This uploads the PAK file and validates the signature. Notice the Description is Upgrade vRealize Operations Manager Enterprise OS Update and the Version is 22.214.171.12407160.
The license agreement screen appears next. Check the box to accept it and move on.
The upgrade process with vROps will run some prechecks to make sure the workstation is a candidate for the upgrade. Note the status of Preapply Validated Candidate. After the prechecks, the installation of the OS upgrade starts.
You may see the following message notifying you that since the upgrade restarts software update services, the web portal may become unavailable. If so, simply keep refreshing the page until the portal is once again available.
Note: Don't be concerned if this process takes quite a while, as it is definitely not a quick upgrade.
Once the web portal becomes available again, you will see the Cluster status "going online" as the vROps server starts resources and brings everything back online. If you navigate to the Software Update area of the admin portal, you should see it updating the Steps completed. After it has applied and completed the update, you will see "The following software update has been installed" status and no tasks executing. As a side note here, after applying the OS update, you will still see the older Flash interface. There's no HTML5 yet; that comes with the appliance update.
Upgrade process step 2: software appliance update ^
After the OS update has been applied, we now move onto the software appliance update. The process is the same. We now click Browse and navigate out to our software appliance update PAK file. Click Upload.
This will validate the PAK file signature, and we should see the Description list Upgrade vRealize Operations Manager Enterprise. The version will mirror our OS upgrade: 126.96.36.19907160. We can choose to Reset out-of-the-box content if we want to return alerts, symptoms, recommendations, and policies back to the default configuration. This overwrites any user modifications.
Another license agreement acceptance screen appears.
After validating everything, installation begins.
Once the software appliance part of the vROps is complete, we notice a distinct different in the login UI. We now encounter the new HTML5 interface.
As with the OS upgrade portion, if we log back into the admin portal and navigate to the Software Update section, we will see the operations that may still be running. Below, the run sql db upgrade step is running.
After a few moments, we should see all steps completed and see the current version reflect the expected 188.8.131.5207160.
Our final task involves some housekeeping. Once we have ensured our vROps appliance seems to be working correctly (receiving data from vCenter, etc.), we can delete the snapshot we took prior to running the upgrade.
The new HTML5 interface looks amazing and is extremely snappy. This helps build anticipation for the new HTML5 interface for vCenter once it is fully functional!
VMware vRealize Operations Manager is a great platform to monitor and gain insight into the health of a VMware vSphere environment. The new vROps 6.6 release has many exciting enhancements, including the beautiful and fast-performing HTML5 interface and tighter integration with the VMware portfolio of products. The process of upgrading vROps as shown in the case of 6.6 is a two-step process that is fairly intuitive and painless. It does take some time, however, so be prepared for an appropriate maintenance window.