VMware Update Manager: Unsupported Configuration

During an upgrade from vSphere 5.1 to 5.5, I ran into a rather strange issue when trying to utilize VMware Update Manager to perform the ESXi upgrade.

During scanning, VUM reported the ESXi host as “Incompatible”, without offering any other explanation. I spent ages looking through VUM logs, trying to find the culprit, suspecting it was an incompatible VIB. Without finding anything that gave me any indication on what the problem might be, I moved on to looking at the ESXi image I had imported into VUM.

As this was on a Dell PowerEdge R710, I was utilizing the Dell Customized Image of VMware ESXi 5.5 Update 2, which got an updated A02 version last night (27th of August) – I downloaded my image, VMware-VMvisor-Installer-5.5.0.update02-2068190.x86_64-Dell_Customized-A00.iso on the 27th, but before the VMware-VMvisor-Installer-5.5.0.update02-2068190.x86_64-Dell_Customized-A02.iso image was available. Thinking this would resolve the issue, I imported the new image into VUM, and created a new Upgrade Baseline. Sadly, I was still greeted by the non-gracious “Incompatible” warning after performing a new scan.

After some more digging, I found the following entry in the Events pane, for the given host, in vCenter:
[cc lang=”bash” width=”100%” nowrap=”0″]Error in ESX configuration file (esx.conf).
error
28.08.2015 11:51:25
Scan entity
[hostname]
[username]
[/cc]

Naturally I go digging into the  /etc/vmware/esx.conf file, and found the following entries:

[cc lang=”bash” width=”100%” nowrap=”0″]
/nas/[oldserver]/readOnly = “false”
/nas/[oldserver]/enabled = “true”
/nas/[oldserver]/host = “[oldserver.fqdn]”
/nas/[oldserver]/share = “/VeeamBackup_[oldserver]/”
[/cc]

 

These references to [oldserver] pointed to an old Veeam Backup & Replication server that was decommissioned ages ago. Veeam B&R adds these to a host if vPowerNFS has been used to mount a backup share, and the entries had not been removed when removing the old Veeam B&R server. DNS resolution for the old server failed, as it has been completely removed from the infrastructure, thus causing the VUM update to fail.

Manually removing these lines from /etc/vmware/esx.conf fixed the problem, and VUM was able to scan and remediate without issues.

Update:

After writing this, I saw Jim Jones had the same experience, for more details read his post:
Unsupported Configuration when using VUM for a Major Upgrade

Upgrading vSphere vCenter Appliance 5.1 to 5.5

In VMware KB Upgrading vCenter Server Appliance 5.0.x/5.1 to 5.5 (2058441) the procedure for upgrading an existing 5.0/5.1 vSphere vCenter Server Appliance is outlined, walking you through the steps required including deploying a new 5.5 vCSA and transferring the data from the old instance to the new one. Straight forward procedure, but there is one small caveat in this process.

One important thing to remember, and something I don´t feel that the knowledge-base article highlights well enough is that the new v5.5 appliance should not be configured in any way when deployed.

In my opinion there should be a new step between steps 1 and 2 in the KB article, detailing that the default blank values should not be changed at all.

vCenterApplianceUpgrade-1
When using the “Deploy OVF” wizard in the Web Client or Desktop Client, you get asked for network details like IP, subnet, gateway and hostname. In order for the new appliance to successfully import your old data, and take over the old appliance details like hostname, IP adress and so forth, all these values should be left blank while importing to ensure a successful upgrade.

If you do this, the upgrade succeeds as anticipated, and the old vCenter Server Appliance is powered down and the new one takes over.

Quick and Dirty ESXi 5.5 Upgrade

UpgradeESXiAs I´ve posted about earlier, you can update your ESXi hosts to a new release from the command line. Now that ESXi 5.5 has been released, the same procedure can be applied to upgrade once more.

Place the host in maintenance mode, then run the following command to do an online update to ESXi 5.5:

[cc lang=”bash” width=”100%” theme=”blackboard” nowrap=”0″]
~ # esxcli software profile update -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml -p ESXi-5.5.0-1331820-standard
[/cc]

While this runs, monitor the log file to check upgrade process:

[cc lang=”bash” width=”100%” theme=”blackboard” nowrap=”0″]
~ # tail -f /var/log/esxupdate.log
[/cc]

Let it run for a while all the way until it´s finished, reboot the host and hey presto, fresh new ESXi 5.5 upgrade completed! Quick and dirty, just the way we like it.

To verify the version, still using the command line, issue the following command:

[cc lang=”bash” width=”100%” theme=”blackboard” nowrap=”0″]
~ # vmware -l
VMware ESXi 5.5.0 GA
[/cc]
Of course, test this thoroughly before doing this in a production environment, after all your hosts might need VIBs not included in the standard download.

Update 16.02.2015

To find out which patches to apply, and what the correct profile name would be, check out the VMware ESXi Patch Tracker by Andreas Peetz. It’s a great resource to keep track of patches for your ESXi hosts.