Table of Contents


In this process we will be upgrading vCenter server 6.7 Update 3a to vCenter server 7.0 update 2a. When upgrading major versions of vCenter it is required that we deploy a new appliance and we perform a data migration in order to complete the process.

VMware Documentation Regarding New Versions


  • Confirm the existing vCenter is working as expected and there are no errors or issues.
  • All hypervisors have to be running ESXi 6.5 or newer.
  • All VDS need to be at least 6.5.0
  • Make sure all of your hypervisors are connected to the vCenter. Any disconnected hypervisors or disabled hypervisors should be addressed prior to starting.
  • Create the following as part of the backout/rollback plan:
    • Create a manual backup of your vCenter through the VAMI.
    • Create a clone of vCenter VM.
    • Create a snapshot of the vCenter VM.
  • Upgrade all Distributed Virtual Switches to 6.5.0 or better. You can get the versions of DVS by running the command ‘Get-VDSwitch’ via PowerCLI.
  • If you are currently using the vCenter appliance, ensure you have cleared up as much space as possible. Running the commands ‘df -h’ and ‘du -x -d1 -h’ can generally tell you where there is large space being consumed at. You can also sort files via total file size by using ‘ls -Shal’. Frequently you will find lots of files that can be purged, including in /var/log/audit and /usr/lib/vmware-sca/wrapper/bin and /storage/core
  • If your root password of the appliance has not been recently changed then log in and confirm it has not expired. If it has then change it prior to starting the upgrade process. To do this log into the vCenter Appliance webpage at https://IP-Address:5480
  • vCenter License - will need to be upgraded.
  • Download locations:

Preparing vCenter for the upgrade

  • Update time server for vCenter Appliance to ‘host’.
    1. Log into vCenter VAMI.
    2. Click on ‘time’ and click ‘edit’ under time synchronization.
    3. If you currently have a timeserver listed then copy this information down.
    4. Change mode to ‘host’ and save.
  • Upgrade all Virtual Distributed Switches (VDS) to 6.5 (ESXi 6.5) or 6.6 (ESXi 6.7).
    1. Log into vCenter.
    2. Select ‘Networking’ and expand the first datacenter, selecting the first VDS.
    3. Right click on the VDS, select upgrade, upgrade distributed switch.
    4. Select the appropriate version and click ‘next’.
    5. Ensure compatibility is shown in green check marks and finish out the wizard.
    6. Repeat for all VDS in the vCenter.

      NOTE: Automating the Upgrade of the Virtual Distributed Switch

  • Upgrade lacp version on all VDS from singleLag to multipleLag. REF: KB2051311
    1. Log into vCenter.
    2. Select ‘Networking’ and expand the first datacenter, selecting the first VDS.
    3. Right click on the VDS, select upgrade, and Enhanced LACP support.
    4. Export your configuration for backup purposes and select ‘Next’.
    5. Ensure validate prerequisites passes and select ‘Next’.
    6. Review the information and select ‘Finish’.
    7. Repeat for all VDS with singleLag set in the vCenter.
  • Remove all old host profiles for 6.0 or older. This is also a great time to purge any that are not needed.
    1. Click on the primary menu button and select ‘Policies and Profiles’
    2. Select ‘Host Profiles’ on the left.
    3. Select all profiles that are older than ESXi 6.5 and delete them.
    4. You can also do this with PowerCLI command
get-vmhostprofile -name "Name Here" | remove-vmhostprofile -confirm:$false
  • Ensure there are no duplicate datastore names that exist between two data centers in vCenter. A datastore name has to be unique between all data centers, renaming should work so long as the underlying LUNs are different, however if the LUNs are from the same storage array with the same UUID (naa) then you will need to present a new LUN to one of the data centers, migrate VMs, and ‘detach’ the LUN from all hyps in that data center. Failure to do this will result in a failure when migrating to vCenter Server 7.

Updated vCenter to 6.7 Update 3j (

NOTE: There are a few versions of vCenter 6.7 that will not directly update to 7.0. I have confirmed that update 3j was successful in upgrading to 7.0.

  1. Create an additional snapshot at this time.
  2. Log into the vCenter VAMI.
  3. Click on the ‘Update’ link.
  4. If you have internet connectivity then you should already have the builds listed. If you do not have internet connection then follow these steps.
    1. Download the vCenter update 3j from the link above.
    2. Attach the iso to the vCenter appliance in vCenter itself.
    3. Back in the VAMI click on the ‘check updates’ and select ‘Check CD ROM’.
  5. Click on ‘stage and install’ link.
  6. When prompted agree to the TOS and select ‘next’.
  7. When prompted select that you have backed up vCenter services and finish out of the wizard.

    NOTE: If you receive the error “Timeout happens while sending message to microservice upgrade” then this article KB70963 from VMware shows you how to resolve it.

  8. Test vCenter is working as expected and everything is displaying properly. The vCenter must be fully up and confirmed before proceeding!
  9. Create another snapshot of your vCenter 6.7 VM once the upgrade is complete.

Deploy vCenter Server 7.0 appliance

  1. In a windows machine mount the VMware VCSA iso disc.
  2. Navigate to the CD-Rom and go into vcsa-ui-installer\win32\ and start the ‘installer’ application.
  3. Click on the ‘Upgrade’ link.
  4. On the Introduction page
    1. click on ‘next’.
  5. On the End User License Agreement page
    1. click ‘I accept the terms’
    2. click ‘next’
  6. On the Connect To Source Appliance page
    1. Enter the IP address (or FQDN) of the existing source vCenter appliance
    2. Update https port (if required)
    3. Click on ‘connect to source’
    4. Enter an administrator account and password for the source vCenter
    5. Enter existing appliance root password
    6. IP or FQDN of the vCenter or ESXi host that currently manages the source appliance
    7. Update https port (if required)
    8. Enter an administrator account and password for vCenter or ESXi host
    9. Click ‘next’ and if prompted accept the certificate warning
  7. Allow the ‘validating’ process to complete. If there are any issues found then resolve them before moving on.
  8. On the vCenter Server Deployment Target page
    1. Enter the IP address (or FDQN) of the target where the new appliance will be created at, this can be a target vCenter or an ESXi host
    2. Enter the administrator username and password for the target vCenter/Host
    3. Click ‘next’ and if prompted accept the certificate warning
  9. Allow the ‘validating’ process to complete. If there are any issues found then resolve them before moving on.
  10. On the Set Up Target vCenter Server VM page
    1. Enter the name of the new target VM, it is highly recommend to use a FDQN to make lookups easier.
    2. Set the new root password for the appliance. This will be used to manage the VAMI and console of the new appliance VM.
  11. On the Select Deployment Size page
    1. Select the appropriate deployment size for your configuration
    2. Select the appropriate storage size for your configuration
    3. Click ‘next’
  12. On the Select Datastore page
    1. Select the appropriate datastore for your configuration.
    2. Select if you want to enable thin disk mode on your new appliance itself. This will only affect how this new appliance is deployed and does not affect any existing VMs or future VM deploys within vCenter.
    3. Click ‘next’
  13. On the Configure Network Settings page
    1. From the drop-down select the appropriate network for your new appliance.
    2. Enter a temporary IP address
    3. Enter subnet mask or prefix length
    4. Enter default gateway
    5. Enter DNS servers
    6. Click ‘next’

      NOTE: The IP address settings on this page are temporary in nature. However, it is vital the new appliance and the old vCenter are able to talk to one another on this network.

  14. On the Ready To Complete Stage 1 page
    1. Review all of the information and ensure it is showing correct
    2. Click ‘finish’
  15. Allow the wizard to deploy the new appliance and complete. At this time it will just deploy a fresh/clean appliance, nothing further is performed at the moment.
  16. Upgrade - Stage 1: Deploy vCenter Server should display that ‘you have successfully deployed vCenter server’, if it does click ‘Continue’. If there was a problem with the deploy the investigate and resolve the underlying issue.

Upgrade to vCenter 7.0

  1. On the Introduction page
    1. Click on ‘next’.
    2. Wait for the pre-upgrade checks to run.
  2. On the Pre-Upgrade Check Result page
    1. Any ‘alerts’ will have to be addressed before you can continue.
    2. Any ‘warnings’ should be reviewed. These are not a hard-stop and most are information in nature. If there are any that are concerning then you can address them after the upgrade is complete if needed.
    3. Click ‘close’
  3. On the Select Upgrade Data page
    1. Select the type of data migration you will be performing.
      1. Configuration and inventory ONLY.
      2. Configuration and inventory PLUS Tasks and Events.
      3. Configuration, inventory, tasks and events PLUS Performance metrics.
    2. You are asked for the ‘Export Directory’ and to determine this log into the source appliance via SSH and do a ‘df -h’ to determine the location with enough space. I normally recommend /storage/updatemgr
    3. Click ‘next’
  4. On the Configure CEIP page
    1. It is recommended to join the VMware’s customer experience program, so leave the checkbox selected
    2. Click ‘next’
  5. On the Ready To Complete page
    1. Reivew all of the information and ensure it is showing correct
    2. Select the box ‘I have backed up the source vCenter Server’
    3. Click ‘finish’
    4. You will be shown a shutdown warning dialog, review the information and click ‘ok’ to proceed
  6. The process will take a while to complete. Once done close out any additional dialog boxes.
  7. Log into the vCenter Server and confirm all of your devices are there and working as expected. You will note that 2 to 3 new vCLS VMs are being deployed for each HA/DRS cluster, this is normal behaviour.

Post vCenter Server deploy

  1. Update Time Server:
    1. Connect to the vCenter VAMI with the new password.
    2. Click on ‘time’ and ‘edit’ under Time synchronization.
    3. Change it from host to timeserver you noted above.
  2. If you have multiple vCenter NICs then add those additional NICs back in.
    1. Add NIC to appliace VM:
      1. Locate the vCenter VM.
      2. Edit the settings of the vCenter VM and add another NIC.
      3. Connect the NIC to the VMnet port group.
    2. Edit new NIC settings
      1. Connect to the vCenter VAMI with the new password.
      2. Click on ‘Networking’ and confirm NIC1 appears.
      3. Click on ‘edit’ by Network Settings.
      4. Click on NIC1 and next.
      5. Expand NIC1 and enable IPv4.
      6. Enter IPv4 settings manually and enter the new IP information.
    3. Add any necessary static routes
      1. Log into the vCenter via SSH.
      2. type ‘shell’ to gain bash access.
      3. Add in the static routes as needed
        • New entries should be located in: /etc/systemd/network/
        • The command for runtime static route:
          route add -net <TargetNetwork> netmask <NetmaskAddress> gw <GatewayAddress> dev <interface>
      4. Type ‘exit’ twice to disconnect from SSH and log out of the VAMI interface.
  3. After appropriate time remove the old vCenter appliance, clone, and snapshots that were created throughout this maintenance.

Backout/Rollback Plan

  • Power off the new target appliance and then proceed to next step.
  • Revert to the snapshot created before the previous failure. Confirm the snapshot allowed the configuration to come back online, if it does not then proceed to next step.
  • Restore the clone that was created at the beginning of the upgrade process. Confirm the clone allowed the configuration to come back online, if it does not then proceed to next step.
  • Create a new vCenter appliance and restore backups created in VAMI interface. Confirm this step allows the vCenter to come back online.