The Process to patch vCenter Server Appliance’s is pretty straight forward and the below procedure shows the high level Steps involved using CLI to patch to 6.0U3a. For GUI, we can directly login to 5480 and use either check URL (Internet connectivity required, I would only recommended this for HomeLab) or CD-ROM check option(Have to mount patch ISO).
- Always the most important, validate the patch/Upgrade against VMware Product Interoperability Matrices like vRA, vRO ,vRNI ,vRIN.
- Validate last backups for the appliances and take new snapshots before the upgrade.
- Patch ISO version is validated and downloaded(In my case its “VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance-126.96.36.199100-5202501-patch-FP.iso”)
- Note the ESXi Hosts in which the vCenter appliances are running(This is not required, but I feel is a good approach).
- Always first patch the PSC’s and then the vcenter Server.
- Login to 5480 management portal of appliances (PSC’s, vCenter Server) and patch using URL /CD-ROM method.
- Download the required patch from https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/patch#search
- Login to ESXi host running secondary PSC and Mount the Patch-ISO.
- Login to ESXi hosts SSH session for Secondary PSC(Vmware doesn’t really mention which external PSC to patch first, but based on the community guidance, its best to start with the secondary PSC).
- Make sure you are running the native Shell for the appliance which is not always default. ( Type “Appliancesh” once in putty to get the “command>” prompt)
- Now Run
"software-packages stage --iso --acceptEulas"
- Once the above command completed succesfully, run
"software-packages install --staged"
- The install may take some time depending on the patch content but would be quick for PSC’s. After the installation completed, Reboot the appliance if prompted by the installation.(Once the appliance rebooted, we can now see the appliance version being changed in console, and also in Mgmt portal from port 5480)
- Once validated the secondary PSC patched as expected, Proceed with Primary PSC using same steps from 3 to 7.
- Now once both PSC’s patched, online and validated, proceed with the steps 3-7 for the vCenter Appliance. The Appliance will take a little longer than PSC’s and we can see the progress in the putty/Console session.
- Reboot and validate the vCenter Appliance, Login to Services and make sure all services are healthy.
- Monitor the vCenter server for next 24-48 hours for any surprises and delete the snapshots.
- One more caveat here is, the patch ISO i have downloaded only contains modules for the appliances. But for the VUM, in order to make sure we are at same patch level, we have to download the Windows Update module ISO from the normal download page (Ex:- VMware vCenter Server 6.0 Update 3a and modules for Windows) and run the VUM executable, which will detect the existing VUM and will prompt for an upgrade. I found this is really wired being we have to use two different ISO’s for a complete patch of all vCenter Server components.
Screenshot’s:- PSC’s and vCenter Appliance
One final interesting info , As per VMware, the PSC’s running 6.0-U3 update should have min RAM >=4GB. For new installations it is default and being an upgrade, it is recommended to manually increase the RAM for PSC’s after the patch on each PSC.