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SimpliVity Upgrade Manager

Since version 3.0.8 SimpliVity launched their Upgrade Manager to automate upgrade procedure of the SimpliVity OmniStack software. In previous versions this was a manual process that could take some time. On a high level, the new process consists of 5 steps:

  • Stage upgrade files
  • Upgrade preperation
  • Upgrade Arbiter and vCenter WebClient Plug-in
  • Upgrade manager
  • Commit upgrades

Unfortunately the SimpliVity Upgrade Manager doesn’t include the VMware updates. This must be done after upgrading the SimpliVity software, by hand or using the VMware Update Manager.

In this blog I walk you through the upgrade of a one node SimpliVity cluster. I will upgrade the host from version 3.5.3 build 265 to version 3.6.2 Update 1 . To check the supported upgrade path, you can refer to the Interoperability guide on the support site.

Stage upgrade files

The upgrade process starts with downloading and staging the needed files. The files must be downloaded from the SimpliVity Support site. In the Complete Upgrade Package all the files are included that are needed for the upgrade. The following files should be inside the package:

  • IdentityStoreUpdate
  • SimpliVity Arbiter
  • SimpliVity Extention for vSphere client
  • SimpliVity OmniStack Software (+sha1 file)
  • SimpliVity Upgrade Manager

And put them together in one directory on the server where the Upgrade Manager will be installed later in the process.

Upgrade preperation

Before starting with the upgrade we need to execute the following steps:

  • Shut down all Virtual Machines on this node, or if you have more nodes you can migrate the running virtual machines to another node.
  • Confirm ESXi SSH access by logging on to every host with an SSH client. SSH is used to upload the upgrade files to the ESXi hosts.
  • Check the ESXi credentials stored on the OmniStack Virtual Controllers Identity Store.
    1. Open the IdentityStoreUpdate.exe
    2. Fill in your vCenter credentials (not yet your ESXi credentials) and the IP address of one of the OmniStack Virtual Controller.
    3.  In the next screen select the OmniStack Controllers which you want to check and fill in the root password of the ESXi servers. Click on update. When completed, it shows you a green checkmark with a succes message.

Upgrade vCenter WebClient plug-in and Arbiter

The first step in the actual upgrade process is the upgrade of the Arbiter service and the vCenter WebClient Plug-in.

Upgrade Arbiter




The Arbiter servicde upgrade is really straightforward. Copy the executable of the Arbiter service to the server and double click the installer, accept the terms en click install. De Arbiter is backwards compatible but should always match with the OmniStack software.

Upgrade vCenter WebClient Plug-in




The plug-in must be installed from the bash shell of the VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA). If using a Windows vCenter you can just run the executable on the vCenter server.

  1. Upload the .run file to VCSA
  2. Make the file executable (chmod +x)
  3. Execute the file and follow the steps.

Upgrade Manager

Now, the upgrade start. The upgrade of the HCI nodes is executed via the SimpliVity Upgrade Manager. If you still have your deployment server running, you can run the SimpliVity Upgrade Manager on this server. The Upgrade Manager doesn’t require any installation.

1. Login to to the vCenter server where the SimpiVity node is running.

2. Select the node(s) which you want to upgrade.

3. Fill in the root credentials of the host. This credentials are used to upload the upgrade files to the datastore of the ESXi host.

4. The upgrade is ready to go. Click finish to start.

5. The upgrade is started, now you just have to wait till the process is finished.

6. Last step is to commit the upgrade to the OmniStack Virtual Controllers. Click commit to finish this last step.

The upgrade is finished if the upgrade status is completed and green text is displayed on top of the window.

At this point the upgrade steps for the SimpliVity software are finished and the upgrade manager can be closed. The next step is the upgrade of VMware ESXi. This is unfortunately not integraded in the Upgrade Manager and must be done seperatly.

VMware ESXi upgrade

The upgrade phase of ESXi isn’t described in the SimpliVity documentation. The upgrade of the ESXi must be executed with the customized Cisco image which can be downloaded from the VMware website. No special SimpliVity image is needed, but check the SimpliVity support page always for the Cisco Interoperability Guide. On this page you can find the supported versions and build numbers. To upgrade the HCI nodes you can use VMWare Update Manager but you can also do it standalone with for example a USB-stick. For my upgrade I will use VMware Upgrade Manager. The idea is to create two separated baselines, one for the host and one for any additional patches.

1. Import the customized image in VMware Update Manager.

2. Create a Host Upgrade baseline.
3. Create another baseline for the additional patches
4. Combine the Host Upgrade baseline and the patch baseline together in a group.

5. Connect the baseline group to the SimpliVity cluster or host(s)

6. Stage the patches and Remidiate the host via the normal VMware procedure.

That’s all! As you can see the process is not difficult, but can take some time.

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