vSphere is a sophisticated product with multiple components to upgrade. Understanding the required sequence of tasks is vital for a successful vSphere upgrade.

Figure 1. Overview of vSphere Upgrade Tasks
High-Level Overview of vSphere Upgrade Tasks

Upgrading vSphere includes the following tasks:

  1. Read the vSphere release notes.
  2. Verify that you have backed up your configuration.
  3. If your vSphere system includes VMware solutions or plug-ins, verify that they are compatible with the vCenter Server appliance version to which you are upgrading. See VMware Product Interoperability Matrix at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/sim/interop_matrix.php.
  4. Upgrade vCenter Server.

    For detailed instructions, see vCenter Server Upgrade

  5. Upgrade your ESXi hosts. See Overview of the ESXi Host Upgrade Process.
  6. To ensure sufficient disk storage for log files, consider setting up a syslog server for remote logging. Setting up logging on a remote host is especially important for hosts with a limited amount of local storage.

    See Required Free Space for System Logging and Configure Syslog on ESXi Hosts.

  7. Upgrade your VMs manually or by using vSphere Lifecycle Manager to perform an orchestrated upgrade.

    See Upgrading Virtual Machines and VMware Tools