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Category: vCenter/vCSA

How To: Upgrade vCSA 6.0 to vCSA 6.5

Today marks the release of vSphere 6.5 and with that, a new vCenter Server Appliance that is worth paying attention to. Beyond the traditional boost of configuration maximums and security, this version comes loaded with features that have been requested over the past few years. Some highlights include:

  • Built-in migration tool to go from vCenter Server 5.5 or 6.0 to vCSA 6.5
  • Built-in VMware Update Manager
  • Native HA support deployed in Active-Passive-Witness architecture
  • No Client Integration Browser Plug-in
  • Adobe Flex AND HTML5 web clients
  • API Explorer via vCSA portal page for your automation needs
  • Tons of other little enhancements that you can read about here
  • This post will be a guide on getting you from vCSA 6 to 6.5 with setting up vCSA HA at a later date.

    Crack open the ISO in your preferred flavor of OS and run the vCenter Server Appliance Installer. You’ll be greeted by this step1

    Hit next, accept the EULA, and fill out your environmental info. FQDN/IP of 6.0 vCSA, SSO details, and the ESXi host info that is currently housing your 6.0 vCSA. step2

    Now, if you are running VUM on a Windows server in your environment, you will see the following error: Unable to retrieve the migration assistant extension on source vCenter Server. Make sure migration assistant is running on the VUM server. Copy the ‘migration-assistant’ folder to the VUM server and run ‘VMware-Migration-Assistant.exe’, type in the password for the VUM service account and return back to the vCSA 6.5 Installer. step4

    The next few pages are choosing your cluster resources, folder organization, and general deployment information. Since this was done in my lab, I chose to stick with the ‘tiny’ vCenter deployment since I do not expect to ever need anything larger than that… hopefully. step7step8step9step10step11

    Once all that is done and dusted, you will get to the confirmation page to verify you didn’t fat finger any settings. If they all look good, click Finish. step12

    Assuming everything was chosen properly, you will see this lovely screen step16
    Congrats, you now have 2 vCSA’s running… but that’s not what we are here for. We want to decommission the 6.0 in favor of 6.5 with all of our lovely settings. So let’s get that crackin’


    Hit next and fill in your vCSA 6.0 info as well as the host that is running your 6.0 vCSA. You may get a warning about DRS being enabled on the cluster so feel free to change that setting depending on if your settings are set too aggressively.

    Next you will choose what data you wish to migrate from your old 6.0 to your new 6.5. I wanted all that lovely historical data so I went with the longer, last option. step19

    After that, you should be good to go! You will see some progress bars and then greeted with links to your shiny, new 6.5 vCSA. *Hint* It’s the same info as your 6.0, thanks migrations!


    After you login, check out your About vSphere menu and you should see vSphere 6.5 listed as current build. You will also notice that your original 6.0 VM is powered off and can be decommissioned to your liking. step23

    From there, you can hop into the Update Manager tab and upgrade your hosts to 6.5 automatically as well! Happy trails, friends and enjoy all the new awesomeness that vCSA 6.5 has dropped into your lap.

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    vSphere Thick Client? I don’t need no stinkin’ thick client!

    Quick post about an awesome, new VMware Fling that was released somewhat recently. I’m a little late to the party but I haven’t needed to deploy a new host since its release until today.

    If you haven’t heard, VMware Flings are small applications built by the VMware engineers that aren’t officially supported immediately but can still prove very powerful for your environment. Recently, they addressed something that bugged me from the day VMware announced that the web client was the future and the C# thick client was going bye-bye. Long story short, if you wanted to directly interface with an ESXi host without vCenter middle-manning, you were left with either PowerCLI, SSH, or the bloated C# client.

    This new fling is called the ESXi Embedded Host Client, a lightweight web client installed on your hosts that gives you a familiar vCenter web client experience. It takes about a minute to install via a one line esxcli command.

    SSH into your host(s) and execute this command:

    That will pull down the latest version of the Fling from VMware’s servers and auto-install. From that point on, you can use your favorite flavor of browser and point to the DNS/IP of your host and interface with it as you please.

    If you find you love this Fling and want to deploy it your datacenter, Brian Graf wrote a nice pCLI script to automate the whole ordeal which you find here.

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    Upgrading vCSA 6.0 to 6.0U1 without VAMI

    Quick post here on updating your vCSA 6.0 in what I believe to be the fastest way to update your vCSA installation. The VAMI that comes with vCSA is a great little tool but I find it to be hit or miss at times so I wanted to find a more reliable and visible way to upgrade. Behold the baked in software-packages tool via SSH!

    1) Go to and search for the latest VC patches and download
    2) Upload to a datastore visible by your vCSA
    3) Attach *.iso to the vCSA VM
    4) SSH into the vCSA with your root credentials
    5) Run software-packages install –iso –acceptEulas and wait for the update to finish, it should look like:

    6) Reboot vCSA via shutdown reboot -r updating and rejoice!

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    vCSA 6.0 CLI Install

    It is the week following VMworld 2015 so that marks my annual homelab wipe. I normally do this after every VMworld due to the renewed urge to test out all the new tricks I learned over the course of the week. In doing this, I decided to dunk the new vCSA6 web installer in lieu of the CLI. I work in environments where browsers are typically locked down to the point of supreme frustration so below you’ll find a faster, in my opinion, way of deploying the vCSA using JSON.

    Note: This is simply a fully embedded vCSA install using the vPostGres database and localized SSO.

    First, mount the vCSA ISO to your system (or extract the ISO if that is your preference), fire up command prompt/terminal, and change directories to the “vcsa-cli-installer” folder. As you can see, there are tools for OS X, Windows, and Linux so you can pull this off on any system you prefer.

    The tool which is utilized is vcsa-deploy. This application can accept direct parameters or reference a JSON file, which is what this article will concentrate on. Simply run

    and away you go.

    Below you will find the JSON file I created for my install.

    As you can see, it’s pretty self explanatory so just adjust the settings that fit your environment and fire! You can also check out /vcsa-cli-installer/templates/full_conf.json for more settings if you are curious.

    Assuming your JSON is formatted properly, you should see output similar to this:

    And there you have it, a fresh vCSA 6.0 install without having to use the web installer.

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