Upgrade to VCF 3.10.1 on VxRail

This post provides a high-level walk-through of the upgrade sequence and timings from VCF 3.10.0.1 on VxRail to VCF 3.10.1 on VxRail.

A customer had questions recently about what the upgrade to VCF 3.10.1 on VxRail looked like in terms of sequence and timings, so I thought I would put this together as a general reference.

The primary reason for upgrading from VCF 3.10.0.1 to VCF 3.10.1 on VxRail is updates to the Bill of Materials (BOM) with new product versions and associated fixes. It’s primarily platform updates, with no vRealize Suite updates included in this release. Related details are available in the official Release Notes.

The entire upgrade process is non-disruptive, with operations continuing while each component is upgraded in the background.

The following is what our VCF 3.10.0.1 starting point looked like in SDDC Manager in terms of the running versions in the VCF Management Domain such as SDDC Mgr, vCenter/PSC, vRLI, vROps, vRSLCM, NSX-V components, VxRail and ESXi Hosts.

As per the VMware Cloud Foundation Upgrade Guide, the order of components in the VCF Mgmt Domain to be upgraded is as follows:

  1. SDDC Manager and Cloud Foundation services
  2. NSX for vSphere
  3. vCenter Server and Platform Services Controllers
  4. ESXi

Note that any upgrade/LCM of the vRealize components is managed separately by vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager (vRSLCM).

While all of the relevant bundles (including NSX-T if used in VI WLD) can be downloaded and staged in the SDDC Mgr Repository in advance of the upgrade sequence, the overall upgrade sequence of operations is controlled by SDDC Mgr, by means of only allowing the user to upgrade one bundle at a time, and in order as permitted by SDDC Mgr.

Note how bundles in the Repository are denoted as Available or Future as shown below:


About this environment

The details presented in this post are based upon a lab environment deployed as per the VCF on VxRail Standard Architecture, consisting of a 4-node Mgmt WLD and a 4-node VI WLD.

The Mgmt WLD is backed by NSX-V, while the VI WLD is backed by NSX-T.

This post will first run through details of the upgrade of the VCF Mgmt WLD, before then covering the upgrade of the single VI WLD.


VCF Management Domain Upgrade

Step 1 – SDDC Manager and Cloud Foundation services

By navigating to Inventory > Workload Domains > MGMT > Update/Patches the user is presented with the initial Update/Patch bundle available to apply

A successful Precheck must first be run, before the available Update can be initiated. This process takes approx 1min. A successful Precheck looks something the following:

With a successful Precheck in place, the user can proceed to either Schedule Update or run it immediately by clicking Update Now.

This VMware Cloud Foundation Update 3.10.1 update bundle is 10GB in size, and as we can see from the image below, took 15mins 50secs to complete, during which SDDC Manager was upgraded from v3.10.0.1-16419449 to v3.10.1.0-16808643.

Once we click Finish, and the UI returns to the main dashboard, we return to Inventory > Workload Domains > MGMT > Update/Patches in order to see the next Update bundle available to apply.


Step 2 – NSX for vSphere

As per the expected sequence, the next update is for NSX-V.

Note that at this stage we can also see an Update available for the VI WLD for NSX-T, but we will leave this until all of the Mgmt updates have been completed.

Before initiating the NSX-V update for the Mgmt cluster, we again need to complete a successful pre-check, before hitting Update Now.

This NSX-V 6.4.8 update bundle is 2GB in size, and as we can see from the image below, took 52mins 56secs to complete, during which NSX-V Manager, Controllers and Edge Devices were upgraded from v6.4.6-14819921 to v6.4.8-16724220.

Once we click Exit Status, we are presented with the next available Update, which is for vCenter Server.


Step 3 – vCenter Server and Platform Services Controllers

Before initiating the vCenter Server update for the VCF Mgmt cluster, we again need to complete a successful pre-check, before hitting Update Now. Note that this will only update the vCenter Server responsible for managing the Mgmt cluster.

This vCenter 6.7 Update 3j update bundle is 2GB in size, and as we can see from the image below, took 32mins 37secs to complete, during which the vCenter Server and both PSCs were upgraded from v6.7.0-16275304 to v6.7.0-16708996.

Once we click Exit Status, we are presented with the next available Update, which is for the VxRail.


Step 4 – VxRail

This will be the longest of the upgrade steps in terms of time required to complete. This is a 4-node VxRail so times may vary depending on number of cluster nodes.

The target for this upgrade is VxRail 4.7.515-26640584.

Once the precheck is successful, proceed with Update Now. In our environment we are only upgrading a single cluster (Mgmt) so we just clicked Next through the available Cluster Selection and Sequential Upgrade options when presented.

Due to a known error when initiating the VxRail upgrade from SDDC Mgr, the SDDC Mgr UI may throw an error and appear as if the VxRail upgrade has not started. In this case simply go to the vCenter UI from where the upgrade can be monitored. Once the upgrade is complete, the SDDC Mgr UI will detect and update accordingly.

This VxRail update bundle is 5GB in size, and as we can see from the image below, took 3hrs 39mins 55secs to complete, during which the VxRail was upgraded from 4.7.511 to 4.7.515-26640584.


In total, for the VCF Management Domain, the upgrade of the platform took approx 5hrs 21mins

BundleSize (GB)Duration (hh:mm:ss)
SDDC Mgr1000:15:50
NSX-V200:52:56
vCenter Server200:32:37
VxRail503:39:55

vRealize Suite Upgrade

There are no updates for vRealize components when upgrading from VCF 3.10.0.1 to 3.10.1.


VI WLD Upgrade

The SDDC Mgr Repository continues to displays the Available and Future bundles, and the next updates are specific to the VI WLD(s). These updates are as follows:

  1. NSX-T
    1. Update Co-Ordinator and NSX-T Cluster
    2. NSX-T Manager
  2. vCenter Server
  3. VxRail

As before, SDDC Mgr controls the sequence in which the bundles can be applied for the upgrade of the VI WLD.


Step 1 – NSX-T

Navigate to Inventory > Workload Domains > VI WLD > Update/Patches to be presented with the first available upgrade bundle, which is NSX-T.

There are 2 upgrade bundles to be applied for NSX-T. Once the first is complete, you will be prompted to install the second bundle. These bundles are as follows:

  1. NSX-T Upgrade Co-Ordinator and NSX-T Cluster
  2. NSX-T Manager

The pre-check for VI WLDs is similar, but has a little less scope than for the Mgmt, and looks as follows:

The first NSX-T update bundle is for the NSX-T Upgrade Co-Ordinator and the NSX-T Cluster. This is a 10GB bundle and completed in 36 min 12 secs.

The next available update is for the NSX-T Manager itself.

This update bundle is 10GB and completed in 25 min 03 secs


Step 2 – vCenter Server

Next up is to upgrade the vCenter Server for the VI WLD (note that this VM resides in the VCF Mgmt Cluster).

This is a 2GB update bundle and took approx 23 mins 13 secs to complete.


Step 3 – VxRail

And finally, we get to the upgrade of the VxRail supporting the VI WLD.

This is a 5GB update bundle, and for this 4-node VxRail cluster, completed in 3 hrs 31 mins.


In total, for the VCF VI Domain, the upgrade of the platform took approx 4hrs 55mins

BundleSize (GB)Duration (hh:mm:ss)
NSX-T (1)1000:36:12
NSX-T (2)1000:25:03
vCenter Server200:23:13
VxRail503:31:00

The final BOM for VCF 3.10.1 on VxRail, for the respective VCF Mgmt and VI WLDs, looks like the following:

Upon completion, we now have the entire VCF on VxRail platform upgraded to VCF 3.10.1. Overall it took just over 10hrs across 2 clusters to upgrade the entire VCF on VxRail platform, all online, without any interruption to operations.

That’s it for this post, hopefully those timings help set some expectations!

Steve

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