I want to report my case, upgrading a vSphere environment from 5.5.0U3a to 6.5
The versions were in the upgrade path, so I went ahead relatively confident.
As described, the complexity of the environment kept me focused on every step, prepared accurately before the whole process.
The environment was a vCenter Server Windows backed, supported by an external SSO (also un Windows) and a MSSQL Express, on a third server.
Following the steps on the official upgrade guide, I downloaded the vSphere 6.5 bundle on a separate server dedicated to migration (as it was, since I wanted to move from Windows to the appliance), and copied the migration files on the vCenter Server and the SSO one.
Starting with SSO, I found a problem. Better “THE” problem: as the migration tool stated, migration wasn’t supported on a vSphere 5.5.0U3 “a” installation.
So I had to change my plans: I would download the last verion of 5.5.0U3 (k), and ugrading the Windows machnes, and then, perform the migration as panned before.
Upgrade on SSO went smoothly,, in short time.
The real pain was on the vCenter Server: the upgrade installation screen gives you a list of the steps to complete for a correct installation. First one was SSO, the one that I did just minutes before.
Then, the critical point: Inventory service. Launching it, I noticed that as first operation the installer uninstalled the existing one. And I wasn’t so concerned, since I thought that it was a normal operation. Of course, taking a snapshot was a great idea, idea that I ignored.
The process continued until the last screen: Installation aborted: read the log files. No more info. Reading the logs, I could only understand that it could be a Java problem, but no more. In an old post, the writer found a solution uninstalling the Java machine and reinstalling from scratch, operation that I did. No result, again install aborted, Reboot of course was the first thing, but it didn’t help.
Now my idea was trying to upgrade, again in the windows machines, to vSphere 6.0.
And again, the SSO (now PSC) upgraded with no problem, instead on the vCenter the upgraded stopped because couldn’t find the Inventory Service. And in this case, installation of the service wasn’t separated, but part of the vCenter upgrade.
At this point the only solution that I had was Global Support, hoping in their help since the environment was in EoS by months (years?) and I’ve to say that they understood the situation and were very collaborative. I had some points to follow in order for them to understand better the situation, together with log analysis.
The WebEx didn’t work: I noticed that the operator was looking for the Inventory Service, that was nomore there.
Final solution that they could offer to me: unistall and reinstall the whole vSphere. But it wasn’t an option: this vCenter was connected to a NSX and a vCloud Director: I couldn’t even imagine what could happen (or, better, yes, I could: a disaster).
All these operations took more or less a week, so even if I snapsotted the machines, now they were too old.
From vExpert Slack I had a very important hint: restore a backup. I know, you’ll think now, it was so easy, and me, too stupid to not think at it, but I was a little bit in panic. I mean, everything was working (except for inventory service, that meant to me a very slow process to open the vCenter) so I was thinking how I could make my best reinstalling everything in the less desruptive mode.
So, I proceeded with a restore. The right one was exactly 7 days old, when I uninstalled the seervice. But I also thought that not so many things would change having the DB separated. Maybe networks, so I exported the vDS configuration, but I was also confident having NSX working on it.
That was the key: having a 6.0 PSC, I upgraded also vCenter to 6.0 (of course I didn’t try the 5.5 since it was nonsense, for the version and for the big trouble that made). And everything worked, and also updated because, as stated before, DB was on another server.
From this point migration to 6.5 appliance was really easy.
I want to say thank you once more, to VMware support, very collaborative on a EoS product, and to the vExpert community, that pointed me to the right direction.
I hope this post could help other buddies in my situation.