vRealize Operations Upgrade to 6.7

This post will guide you through the process of upgrading to the latest (at the time of writing) version of vRealize Operations (vROPs).

In our example upgrade scenario we will be starting with version 6.6.0 which has been configured for vCenter connectivity to a vSphere 6.5 platform.  The installation consists of 2 x small nodes (1 x master and 1 x replica) and 1 remote collector.

Pre-Requisites

Before you do an upgrade of any type of system it is important to understand a few basic things including:

  • What is the supported upgrade path?
  • What are the implications of upgrading?
  • Are there any integrations with other systems that will break, lose functionality or no longer be supported as a result of the upgrade?

We can use a number of resources and tools to help get the answers to the above questions.

Release Notes – The supported upgrade path can usually be found in the release notes of the version you are upgrading to.  Here is an excerpt from the 6.7 release notes.

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For our upgrade example it’s a straight upgrade path.  For other versions you may need to perform a 2 step upgrade which means increased downtime and therefore more planning.

Also within the release notes will be any known issues and other bits of useful information including KB articles etc.  People often overlook the release notes but they are really their to help you and should be used.

VMware Compatibility Guide – vROPs uses management packs to hook into external systems in order to collect and analyse their data.  A number of these management packs come pre-installed within vROPs however there are a significant number that are user installable from the VMware markeplace (https://marketplace.vmware.com).  Upgrading vROPs when one or more packs are not supported with the new version is a very bad idea.  To check for compatibility we can use the VMware Compatibility Checker as shown below.

vmware compatibility guide

If the management packs being used in your environment are not listed as supported by the target vROPs version then DO NOT UPGRADE!

Pre-Upgrade Assessment Tool – This will tell you the impact of performing an upgrade before you actually do it.  The tool (a software update for the vROPs cluster) can be found on the vROPs product downloads page.  We will cover its use later in this post.

vRealize Operations 6.7 Discontinued/Disabled Content and Replacement Recommendations – A very long title but contains valuable information that you can use in tandem with the assessment tool (see herehttp://partnerweb.vmware.com/programs/vrops/DeprecatedContent.html).  It shows the content that has been removed and the content that you can use to replace functionality with.

vrops deprecated content

Running a Pre-Upgrade Assessment

Assuming we have validated our management packs are supported with the version we are upgrading to the next thing we need to do is run a pre-upgrade assessment using the assessment tool from the vROPs download page.

The assessment tool is a software update that is applied to the cluster.  The act of installing the update will generate a support bundle that includes all the information we need to be aware of including metrics that we are currently using that will no longer be available in the new product version.  To start the install login to the admin url and go to the software install section.

vrops upgrade assessment tool install

Browse to the pak file for the assessment tool and DO NOT check the reset default content checkbox.

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Continue and accept the license agreement and other details.

vrops upgrade assessment tool install

The support bundle that is generated from the install will contain the details of any utilised metrics or configuration that will no longer work post upgrade.

vrops upgrade assessment bundle

Navigating through the support bundle structure will eventually lead you to the “report” directory in which the html report will reside.  In the case of our example, opening the html file shows we have 2 custom dashboards and neither of them will be affected by the 6.7 upgrade.

vrops upgrade assessment tool results

Before You Upgrade

A final precaution before upgrading is to snapshot the vROPs cluster so that you have a roll-back point should anything go wrong.  This should be done once you have taken the cluster offline via the admin url.

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With the cluster status “Offline” each cluster node (including remote collectors) should have a snapshot taken.  The snapshot should NOT include the virtual memory.  Once the snapshots have been created the cluster can be brought back online again.

As a final step prior to starting the upgrade you should create a clone of any alert definitions, symptom definitions and recommendations that have been updated/customised from their default values.  To benefit from the various product updates fully the content within vROPs needs to be overwritten so cloning the updated content is the best way to preserve it and not lose it in the update process.

The Upgrade

The process of performing the upgrade is in 2 parts as there are 2 pak files used.  The first part is the virtual appliance OS upgrade.

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The install progress can be tracked on the software update page.

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The second part of the upgrade is the virtual appliance upgrade, started by installing the second pak file.  This will restart the cluster nodes once completed.

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Once finished the cluster will be running at the target version.