VMware Cloud Foundation & vRealize Suite Flexible Upgrades

Historically with VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF), the vRealize Suite (or the following list of products) have been part of the VCF bill of materials (BOM) and their versions tightly linked to a specific VCF release:

  • vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager (vRSLCM)
  • Workspace ONE Access (WS1A)
  • vRealize Operations (vROPs)
  • vRealize Log Insight (vRLI)
  • vRealize Automation (vRA)

All of the above products were deployed by SDDC Manager using VCF install bundles that were downloaded via SDDC Manager. Their versions were static entries on the bill of materials (BOM) for each VCF release and you couldn’t upgrade to a higher version (to pick up a new feature etc) until the next major VCF release that included the version you were looking for. This clearly wasn’t working for our customer base who need to be more agile with how they manage their private & hybrid cloud infrastructure.

So to help with this we introduced Flexible vRealize Suite product upgrades. See the snippet from the VCF 4.4 release notes below

So what does this actually mean? Well for one, vRSLCM is now the only bundle that is distributed via SDDC Manager. All other products are downloaded natively in vRSLCM. vRSLCM product support packs (PSPAKs) then enable you to upgrade to newer versions of the vRealize Suite. vRSLCM manages the supported matrix to ensure you cant deploy an untested combination, however to determine what support pack is required to enable the various upgrade paths you need to review multiple sets of release notes. In an attempt to help drive clarity a new VMware KB article has been created KB88829, this can be used to work out the upgrade path for vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager that is needed to then be able to deploy a later release of vRealize Suite product on top of VMware Cloud Foundation.

Setting up a VMware Appliance update repo

When upgrading VMware appliances using the vami configuration interface the update that is available from VMware does not always match the version you want. mounting an ISO to the VM is not always possible (vCloud Director hosted VMs are an example). Follow this procedure to create a temporary repo to make the correct upgrade bundles available during appliance upgrade
In this example the vRA appliance is used to host the repo. Any VMware appliance can be used for this purpose.
1. SCP the upgrade ISO to /tmp on the vRA appliance
2. SSH to the vRA appliance and navigate to the tmp directory

 cd /tmp

3. Create a new directory called repo

Mkdir repo
 4. Type the following to mount the upgrade ISO to the new repo directory
mount -o loop "iso name" repo
 5. Change directory into repo/update
 cd repo/update
 6. Start the python SimpleHTTPServer
 python -m SimpleHTTPServer
 7. Return to the VAMI configuration interface of the appliance that you are upgrading and browse to the Update tab
 8. Click Settings
 9. Change the Update Repository option to Use Specified Repository
 10. For Repository URL enter http://vRA-FQDN:8000
 Note: Enter the FQDN of the appliance you are using. This may not be the vRA appliance
 11. Click Save Settings
 12. Click Status and click Check Updates
 13. The correct version that you copied to the temporary repo should be available to install