Skip to main content

End of Life vSphere 6.0 - My upgrade plan

vSphere 6.0 will be end of life/general support on 12th March 2020 which is just under two months away and most people would of started or completed their journey to upgrade to vSphere 6.5 or 6.7. I have provided some of the high level steps/consideration that I have taken when I was doing my planning.

As vSphere 6.5 and 6.7 both have an end of life date of 15th November 2021 I decided to look at both version for my upgrade plan with the mind of moving to 6.7 as my first choice. The reason I looked at both was in case there was issues with hardware or software that was not supported on a particular version. Throughout my planning I also put into consideration whether it is better to do fresh installs of vCenter/ESXi or an upgrade as a fresh install might be easier. For a small environment with not much integration it might be easier to just do a fresh install but that is my opinion and you would need to weight up what is better for you. 

First thing first is to make sure your current server model/hardware, more specifically the CPU works on vSphere 6.5 and/or 6.7 as if it doesn’t work on the version that you want to move to then you need to quickly get funding for new kit or move to the version that is supported for now. Hardware Compatibility Guide

Once you got the all clear that the server model/CPU hardware is good and compatible to the version you are looking to upgrade to then you need check the hardware vendor to ensure that your local hardware components like array controllers, network card etc are compatible as you may need to replace them or upgrade the firmware on them.

As the virtual infrastructure is built with other hardware components such as network switches and storage arrays you would want to check with those vendors to make sure that you don’t need to do any upgrades or replacements to those as well. For example Pure Storage has information here to tell you some of the best practice settings you should apply. and I usually raise a support case with them to double check. As vSphere 6.5/6.7 has been out for a while now most vendor would have published best practice guides to help you on how to configure their products to work with VMware nicely together.

We talked about the hardware but the next step is to look at some of the third party software (backup, monitoring, plugins etc) that you might have integrated with VMware to see if your current version is compatible with vSphere 6.5/6.7. Again you might need to do upgrades or purchase a new version if you don't have a valid support agreement. You don’t want to do an upgrade and then afterwards realise you can’t do any VM backups or have caveats with the backup method which breaks your SLA.

Next step is to check if there are any other VMware product/s that you are currently using that will come to end of life at the same time as vSphere 6.0. Lifecycle matrix

The following products below have the same end of life so you would need to start reading on their update process and ensure you include them too in your plan.

  • vCenter Server 6.0
  • vCenter Update Manager 6.0
  • ESXi 6.0
  • Site Recovery Manager 6.0 and 6.1
  • vSAN 6.0, 6.1 and 6.2
  • vSphere Data Protection 6.0 and 6.1
  • vSphere Replication 6.0 and 6.1

At this stage you would of worked out which version of vSphere you are upgrading too. We now need to see if the version of 6.0 that has been deployed in your environment is just a single step upgrade to the version you want to go to or a multi step upgrade. Using this Upgrade Path page you can check what version you can upgrade to.

As you can see from the example there are some big red cross for some version. For example if you was on 6.0 U3 and you wanted to go to 6.5.o then it is a big no no. If you hover across the box you will see an information box pop up explaining the reason.

If you have other products above then also use the tool to check against them too.

On the same web page there is a "Solution/Database interoperability" tab which you might need if you decide that you don't want to use VMware Postgres database with the appliance. On the tab select "VMware vCenter Server" as the solution and then the version of vCenter you are looking to move to and see which database version is supported.

On the same page the first tab "interoperability" lets you compare two solutions to make sure that the upgraded version will work with the other VMware solution that you have running

As you can see I have selected vCenter 6.5 U3 and 6.7 U3 and my solution was SRM. You can see that with vSphere 6.5 U3 I can run SRM version 6 and 8 but for vSphere 6.7 U3 I can only run version 8.1.2 and 8.2.

If you have more that one VMware product that you need to upgrade as part of this project then you would need to check the update sequence to ensure that you are upgrading them in the right order. VMware has produced a nice chart to help you see which order you would need to update in if you use more than one VMware product. vSphere 6.5 KB 2147289 vSphere 6.7 KB53710

By now you would roughly know what you need to do as part of the process to upgrade from vSphere 6.0 to 6.5 or 6.7. A step sometimes I forget to do it is to check if I actually have capacity to deploy these products. For example you may require addition storage, network bandwidth, compute if you was doing a vCenter side by side upgrade so make sure you reserve some for this upgrade.

VMware has stated that they have deprecated the architecture of having an external Platform Service Controller and moving to embedded to simplify the architecture. So if you haven't fully started to use VMware appliance then this is a good time to move to fully using just the appliance. The next major version of vSphere won’t have a windows option which was announced back in August 2017 Bye Bye Windows

The following article KB60229 provides you with workarounds and supported methods of Platform Service Controller. The article also has links to upgrade guide to 6.5/6.7 which covers pretty much all possibly scenario of platform service controller architecture that you might have now and what options you have when you upgrade to 6.5 or 6.7. Its a bit of a read but do spend time on it.

Next step is to plan what testing you want to carry out after your upgrades;
  • backup and restore process of vCenter
  • Powershell scripts that you might normally run
  • vCenter alerts ensuring they do fire out
  • host failure to check that HA works
  • Move VMs between host to ensure vMotion works and especailly different ESXi versions
These are just some of the examples and your list could be much longer

So these are the steps I have taken to help me plan my upgrade which in the end was 6.7. I have listed some of the resources I used along the journey of mine which I hope will have some use for you. Good luck


Popular posts from this blog

Rolling back a version of ESXi

There is an option in VMware where after you have performed an major upgrade of ESXi you can roll back to your previous version. The benefit of this is that you would not need to reinstall your ESXi and its configuration if you had issues with the new software. I had to do this on one occassion in my lab where I upgraded from 6.5 to 6.7 and my VMs would not run because the CPU was not supported in 6.7. Please remember if you are using ISO method to upgrade ESXi please ensure you select "Upgrade ESXi, preserve VMFS datastore". Selecting "Install ESXi, preserve VMFS datastore" does not mean preserving datastore means retaining ESXi as it will still do a clean install of ESXi. This method does not work for vSphere 7.0 as there are changes to the partitions on the boot device. Below are the steps to roll back to a previous version which is quite straight forward. As always perform an backup of your host configuration before you upgrade or rollback ( KB2042141 ). I have

Configuring ESXi 6 host to send logs to Syslog Server

In my previous post I talked about configuring VMware Syslog server for Windows which is installed and enabled by default on installation of vCenter 6 for Windows. I will now describe the basic configuration that is required on an ESXi 6 host to be able to send logs out to a syslog server using my vCenter as the example. 1) Navigate to your ESXi host within vCenter. Go to "Manage" tab and select "Settings" followed by "Advanced System Settings". Look for the settings "" and highlight this settings. Click the pencil icon to edit the configuration for this setting. 2) You can now add the host name or ip address of your syslog server/s. You can enter just hostname or IP address, use udp://hostname:514 or ssl://hostname:1514 to be more specific on the port and protocol to be used. If you have multiple hosts then you use the comma (,) to separate each server i.e. udp://,udp:// 3)We n

Custom ESXi Image - ISO using PowerCLI

There comes a time when you have purchased a new hardware to run your ESXi software and discover that the installable base media provided by VMware does not include the drivers or the drivers are out of date. In the world of Windows (Plug and Play) it would discover the hardware and prompt you to provide the drivers so that Windows would install/update the drivers for the hardware. For ESXi if the drivers are not present during load time then the hardware will possibly not work. VMware uses VIB (vSphere Installation Bundle) as a way for vendors to distribute their drivers. To install these VIBs you can either use Update Manager or command line (esxcli). Now this is all good but it does mean you have to first install the base ESXi then use one of the steps above to install/update the drivers.   Some people might feel that it is OK to update the drivers using the above methods but what if it was the network card that was the new hardware and you needed new drivers. Without the net