Upgrade vSphere Replication to version 8.1

Along with the vSphere 6.7 release, VMware released new versions of other products from their portfolio as well. In this blog post, I would like to demonstrate how you do an upgrade to the new vSphere Replication 8.1 version which was released last April. Since this is slightly different compared to the upgrade methods that are used in the past. 
First of all, we need to determine if we have a validated or supported upgrade path to the vSphere Replication 8.1. You can see the supported direct upgrade paths underneath.

vSphere Replication 8.0 -> 8.1 = Supported
vSphere Replication 6.5.1 -> 8.1 = Supported
vSphere Replication 6.5 -> 8.1 = Supported
vSphere Replication 6.1.2 -> 8.1 = Supported
vSphere Replication 6.1.1 and older versions -> 8.1 = Not Supported

If you still running a vSphere Replication version which is not supported by a direct upgrade you need to find yourself a proper upgrade path. You first need to upgrade to the highest possible version, and from there on upgrading your appliance(s) to 8.1. You can find supported upgrade paths in the VMware Product Interoperability Matrices Upgrade Path table.  Of course, make also sure that all the other products you are using within your SDDC are compatible with each other.

The possible upgrade methods that you might have used in the past are upgrading via the Update Manager, or via the Appliance VAMI. If you used the Appliance VAMI you could either do an upgrade via the online repository or via an ISO file (which you need to download and attach prior to the upgrade).

Now, if we want to do an upgrade to vSphere Replication 8.1, both of the options I described are not valid upgrade scenarios. At least, not for this release. Since I’m kind of stubborn sometimes I tried to upgrade via the VAMI/ISO method anyway. After attaching the ISO file with the latest 8.1 vSphere Replication it recognized updates as you can see:
version

After hitting the ‘Install Updates’ button in vSphere Replication it initiated the installation of the updates. But it stopped unfortunately in the pre-check phase with an error: Failed to install updates(Error while running installation tests)

So, now let’s upgrade vSphere Replication as I ‘should’ do it according to VMware. Mount the vSphere Replication 8.1 ISO to your system and start your vSphere Client. Important note: do not upload the OVF using the new HTML5 client, since this will break you upgrade. 

Deploy the OVF template by using to following files from the mounted ISO file:
– vSphere_Replication_OVF10.ovf
– vSphere_Replication-support.vmdk
– vSphere_Replication-system.vmdk

Proceed with the deployment of the OVF template:
Name: <pick your own name>
Resource: <select an appropriate resource pool e.g. cluster>
Configuration: <select the same configuration as your old vSphere Replication Appliance 2vCPU or 4vCPU>
Storage: <select an appropriate datastore>
Networking: <The best option is to select the same VLAN/Network as your old vSphere Replication is running in since it needs SSH access to the old appliance in order to copy all of the information to the new appliance. Choose DHCP or Static for your IP allocation, whichever suits you the best. But keep in mind this newly deployed vSphere Replication appliance first gets a temporary IP address, copies all of the data over from the old appliance to the new one via SSH. After completion, it powers off the source/old appliance and changes the IP address of new appliance to the IP address of the old appliance. It’s actually the same method that is being used when you upgrade your vCenter Server or Platform Services Controller appliances. >
Customize template: <fill in the exact same information as your old appliance e.g. root passwords, ntp servers, dns servers, hostnames, gateways, and subnet masks. The only thing you need to fill in differently is the management network IP address as I explained in the previous line>
vService Bindings: <if you see a green ‘success’ sign then everything is in place for a successful upgrade>

Finish and deploy the OVF template. When the new appliance is successfully deployed make sure the old appliance is running an functioning and then power on the new appliance. Open the console of the newly deployed appliance and wait until you see the following screen:
upgrade_screen
I think it is pretty obvious what you should choose here: 3 Upgrade

When you have chosen the upgrade, it then will request for the root password of the old appliance. Fill this in and proceed. If you put in the rights root password and the network connectivity is ok, you should see ssh logging which means that data is transferred from the old to the new appliance.
ssh_transport.png

After a successful migration it should ask for the SSO administrator user and password:
sso
Fill in, and proceed. It now deregisters the old appliance and registers the new one.

When you see the blue login screen of the appliance, with the new version and the IP address of the old appliance the upgrade has succeeded.
upgraded

As a final check, login to the appliance VAMI (https://ipaddress:5480) and check the service status under the configuration tab. VRM and Tomcat should be running:
tomcat

You need to upgrade your other appliance(s) as well via the same method. After you have upgraded all of your vSphere Replication appliances you should be able to configure and manage it again. You can now do this via the vSphere HTML5 client in vSphere 6.7. vSphere Replication is now part of the Site Recovery plugin.
srm_vrep_vsphere67.png

Hopefully, this was useful. If you have any question and/or remarks, please let me know!
Until another post!

p.s. you can delete the old appliances from your inventories

source: vmware.com

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