So the other day I needed to patch / update our vCenter Appliance and I took this opportunity to write a how-to about this as well.
The VMware vCenter Server Appliance, or VCSA in short, is a vCenter Server application based on Photon OS. Photon OS is maintained and secured Linux distro by VMware self. At work I use vCenter to deploy and manage our virtual machines through its easy web-based interface.
As with all server setups and deployments patching is needed in order to be save and secure. So that’s also the reason why I needed to patch to the latest version. There are multiple ways how to update your VCSA and I’ll actually go through the update via internet for now. This is the easiest way to patch your environment.
In case your vCenter doesn’t have an internet connection, simply download the patches and updates from VMware. The file will be a large file. Once the file has been downloaded, upload the .iso file to your datastore on the ESXi host where your VCSA runs, then connect the iso file through your VCSA virtual machine and follow the steps here below.
Do you have a backup?
Before you start, always make sure that you have a backup at hand in case things go wrong. That’s the first rule of all within IT! 😉 You can do this by going to your vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface, or VAMI, by going to https://<VCSA IP OR HOSTNAME>:5480 and login with your root/admin account. Now click on Backup and create a backup.
Pre-Update Checks & Check Updates
Now you have a backup at hand, click on the Update menu. In most cases VAMI might already provide you with a list of their latest patches, which was indeed the case when I wanted to update, but if this isn’t shown, then click Check Update -> Check CD-ROM + URL option.
Now select the latest update, run the pre-check to see if all is okay.
If everything looks fine, then click the Stage & Install link and follow the steps to continue. At the latest step you’ll need to check the box which says “I have backed up vCenter and its associated databases” before you can continue.
Now the update will start and it will fetch the updates and depending on your internet speed, this might take a while. The latest update for me was approx. 7 GB big and this was downloaded within a couple of minutes.
After this the update will start and this can take a while. In my case this took about an hour to complete. In the meantime expect that the VAMI will not react so don’t panic. In the end you’ll be presented with the message that the installation was succeeded and you’re done! 🙂
To wrap up:
As you can see the update process is fairly simple and easy to do. All you need is a backup and some time to follow up on this. 😉