Statistically speaking, the most popular version of vSphere in production environments is vSphere 6.x. Since VMware has officially ended support for both vSphere 6.5 and 6.7, customers need to upgrade to vSphere 7 or 8 to maintain a supported environment. However, there are also a few things to consider.
Avatar
  • You cannot upgrade directly from vCenter Server 6.5 to vCenter Server 8. Instead, you will need to upgrade to vCenter 6.7 or 7.x and then upgrade to vCenter Server 8.
  • Certain VIBs may be blocked when upgrading from ESXi 6.x to 8.0.
  • USB and SD cards have been deprecated for ESXi installation in version 8.0.
  • ESXi needs 8 GB of memory to boot.
  • Upgrades and installations are disallowed for some CPUs that are now unsupported.
  • vSphere 8 is not compatible with NSX-V.

To get started, download the vCenter Server 8 ISO image from VMware. Mount the ISO image and run the vCenter Server Installer, located under the vcsa-ui-installer\win32 folder of your mounted ISO. Since we want to upgrade from a previous version of vCenter Server, we choose the Upgrade option. We will be upgrading from a vCenter Server 6.7 appliance.

Stage 1—Start the upgrade process

Launching the vCenter 8 Server Installer

Launching the vCenter 8 Server Installer

The vCenter Server Installer will start with an introduction to the upgrade process, describing the phases. Then accept the EULA for the installation of vCenter Server 8.

Next, you will enter the source vCenter Server you want to upgrade. Click Connect to Source.

Connect to the source vCenter Server

Connect to the source vCenter Server

Enter the credentials for the source appliance and the ESXi or vCenter that manages the vCenter Server you are upgrading.

Connect to the source vCenter Server and the host or server that manages it

Connect to the source vCenter Server and the host or server that manages it

Accept the certificate warning and continue to configure the vCenter Server deployment target. Enter the username and password to connect to the target environment.

Specify the vCenter Server deployment target

Specify the vCenter Server deployment target

Accept the certificate warning for the target environment. Next, select the vSphere inventory folder to house the new vCenter Server 8 appliance.

Select the destination folder in the target vCenter Server

Select the destination folder in the target vCenter Server

Select the ESXi host that will provide resources for your new vCenter Server 8 appliance.

Select the compute resource for the vCenter Server 8 appliance

Select the compute resource for the vCenter Server 8 appliance

Name your vCenter Server 8 appliance virtual machine. The name will be used to list the vCenter Server 8 appliance in the inventory.

Next, select the deployment size for the new vCenter Server 8 appliance.

Select the deployment size

Select the deployment size

Select the storage for the vCenter Server 8 deployment. You can choose whether you want to Enable Thin Disk Mode.

Select the target datastore

Select the target datastore

Next, configure your network settings for the new vCenter Server 8 appliance. It may be confusing that you are setting a new IP address configuration. However, the new vCenter Server 8 appliance needs a temporary network to copy over the configuration from the existing appliance.

Configure temporary network settings for the new appliance

Configure temporary network settings for the new appliance

Finally, we are ready to complete Stage 1. Click Finish.

Ready to complete Stage 1 of the vCenter Server 8 deployment

Ready to complete Stage 1 of the vCenter Server 8 deployment

After Stage 1 completes, you will see a message to begin Stage 2.

Stage 2—Deploy vCenter Server 8

The Stage 2 process begins with an overview page. The wizard will launch pre-upgrade checks on the source vCenter Server.

Pre upgrade checks begin in Stage 2

Pre upgrade checks begin in Stage 2

After a couple of minutes, the results of the pre-upgrade checks will be shown.

Pre upgrade check results

Pre upgrade check results

Select the data you want to copy from your source vCenter Server appliance. These options range from configuration and inventory only to configuration, tasks, events, and performance metrics to capture all historical data.

Select upgrade data you want to migrate

Select upgrade data you want to migrate

Next, choose whether you want to participate in the customer experience improvement program (CEIP).

Finally, the Stage 2 wizard is ready to complete. To begin this stage of the upgrade process, click Finish.

Ready to complete the Stage 2 upgrade wizard

Ready to complete the Stage 2 upgrade wizard

The upgrade wizard will display a warning that your source vCenter Server will be shut down as the new appliance assumes the identity of the source vCenter Server.

The Stage 2 upgrade process begins. It will copy data from the source vCenter Server and set up the new vCenter Server 8 appliance with the data copied over from the source appliance.

The Stage 2 process begins to copy over data and set up the target vCenter Server

The Stage 2 process begins to copy over data and set up the target vCenter Server

After the Stage 2 wizard completes, it will display information messages regarding the behavior changes with the new vCenter Server versions.

Post Stage 2 deployment messages

Post Stage 2 deployment messages

After closing the message box, the Upgrade – Stage 2 wizard is complete. You can now click the hyperlink in the dialog box to browse to the new vCenter Server appliance.

After the Stage 2 upgrade completes, we can successfully log into the new vCenter Server 8 appliance. Note that your vCenter Server appliance will need a new license key.

Logging into the new vCenter Server 8 appliance

Logging into the new vCenter Server 8 appliance

Wrapping up

The vCenter Server upgrade process follows suit with the procedure from previous vSphere releases. You will need to remember a few things before running the upgrade to vCenter Server 8.

Subscribe to 4sysops newsletter!

Upgrades straight from vCenter Server 6.5 to 8.0 are not supported. You will first need to upgrade to vCenter Server 6.7 or 7.x to upgrade to vCenter Server 8.0. Read through the vCenter Server 8 release notes for additional guidance for the upgrade process. You can find the release notes here: VMware vSphere 8.0 Release Notes.

avatar
2 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Valerio 12 months ago

    Thanks for your good guide, but one of the most important key factor in this upgrade is the compatibility check about existing hosts.
    What is your most simple procedure or tips for check and confirm compatibility of different hosts included in a Esxi 6.5 cluster?
    Is it possible to test an upgrade , for example installing on USB boot storage, without touch existing production site?
    Thanks a lot for your good works.

  2. Avatar
    Richard 8 months ago

    Something that I’m wondering and haven’t seen a clear answer, can vCenter 8 manage ESXi 6.7? Or once the vCenter is upgraded would the hosts not be managed anymore and have to be independently updated?

    Prior versions had a list of ESXi versions that it could manage (IE 6.7 can manage 6.7, 6.5, and 6.0, but not any older than 6.0, and 7.0 can manage 7.0, 6.7, and 6.5 but not 6.0 or older.)

    If 8.0 can manage ESXi down to 6.7 that would IMO be good.

Leave a reply

Please enclose code in pre tags: <pre></pre>

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

© 4sysops 2006 - 2023

CONTACT US

Please ask IT administration questions in the forums. Any other messages are welcome.

Sending

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account