Upgrading an enterprise VMware Horizon 8 deployment in FIPS mode involves several high-level tasks. Upgrading is a multistage process in which procedures must be performed in a particular order.

Attention: For supported upgrade paths, see the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix.

You must complete the upgrade process in a specific order. Order is also important within each upgrade stage.

Note: This overview relates to upgrades for major, minor, and maintenance releases.

How many of the following tasks you need to complete depends on which components of VMware Horizon 8 you use in your deployment.

  1. If you have features that are no longer supported in the latest version of VMware Horizon 8, you must uninstall some of these features before proceeding with the upgrade. See Uninstalling No Longer Supported Features.
  2. Upgrade the Horizon Client software that runs on end users' client devices. See Upgrade the Client Application.
  3. On the physical or virtual machines that host Connection Server instances, make backups and record various configuration and system settings. See Preparing Connection Server for an Upgrade.

    If you have multiple Connection Server instances in a replicated group, make backups and record configuration settings for only one instance in the group. For other preparation tasks, you can perform the tasks for one instance at a time, just before you perform the upgrade of that server instance.

  4. Upgrade Connection Server instances. See Upgrade Connection Servers in a Replicated Group.

    In a typical production environment that consists of two or more Connection Server instances fronted by a load balancer, you need to remove Connection Server instances from the load balanced cluster while they are upgraded.

    Important: After you upgrade a Connection Server instance to the latest version, you cannot downgrade that instance to an earlier version. After you upgrade all Connection Server instances in a replicated group, you cannot add another instance that runs an earlier version.
  5. Upgrade the group policies used in Active Directory. See Using Group Policy Administrative Template Files.
  6. If you are also upgrading VMware vSphere components, upgrade vCenter Server. See Upgrade vCenter Server.

    During the vCenter Server upgrade, existing remote desktop and application sessions will not be disconnected. Remote desktops that are in a provisioning state will not get powered on during the vCenter Server upgrade, and new desktops cannot be launched during the vCenter Server upgrade.

  7. If you are also upgrading vSphere, upgrade the VMware® ESXi™ hosts and virtual machines. See Upgrade ESXi Hosts and Their Virtual Machines.

    ESXi hosts can be upgraded with zero down time by vMotioning the virtual machines to another host in the cluster, if hosts are configured under clustered environment.

  8. If you currently use Windows Terminal Services servers as desktop sources, upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2 or later and verify that the RDS Host role is installed. See Upgrade RDS Hosts That Provide Session-Based Desktops
  9. Upgrade the Horizon™ Agent software that runs on the physical or virtual machines that are used as templates for desktop cloning, as full-clone desktops in a pool, and as individual desktops in a manual pool. See Upgrade Horizon Agent.
  10. Use the newly upgraded virtual machine desktop sources to create upgraded pools of desktops. See Upgrade Instant-Clone Desktop Pools.
  11. If you use the Cloud Pod Architecture feature, see Upgrading a Cloud Pod Architecture Environment.

Because certain commands can simultaneously upgrade more than one stage, VMware recommends that you thoroughly understand the irreversible changes at each stage before you upgrade your production environments.

Deploying an Extended Service Branch

Approximately once a year, VMware designates one VMware Horizon 8 release as an Extended Service Branch (ESB). An ESB is a parallel release branch to the existing Current Releases (CR) of the product. By choosing to deploy an ESB, customers receive periodic service packs (SP) updates, which include cumulative critical bug fixes and security fixes. Most importantly, there are no new features in the SP updates, so customers can rely on a stable Horizon 8 platform for their critical deployments.

For more information on the ESB and the Horizon 8 versions that have been designated an ESB, see VMware Knowledge Base article 86477.