vCenter Server heartbeat is a great product in environment’s that needs a highly available vCenter Server wherein HA is not enough as a means of protection. However, with the added resiliency of Heartbeat, it also introduces complexity in managing vCenter and mostly, upgrading your vCenter Server. There are a couple of articles and walkthroughs published by VMware to assist in this task. Some of the articles are as follows:
The procedures for both articles above entails upgrading both the Primary and Secondary nodes one after the other which is a bit time consuming.
While browsing our intenal Socialcast, I came to find out about another method of upgrading vCenter Server with Heartbeat which is published in KB 2070181. The article intrigued me as it does not require you to upgrade the vCenter components twice, but will rely on the following high level steps:
1. Rename the Primary vCenter back to the Public Name
2. Shutdown and delete the Secondary vCenter Server
3. Upgrade the vCenter Server components on the Primary Server
4. Clone the Primary Server to be used as a new Secondary Server
5. Reconfigure the Secondary Server’s hostname and IP Address for Heartbeat
I managed to test it out in my lab and found it to be a very good alternative method. I will detail the steps I did in upgrading my 5.5 GA vCenter Server with Heartbeat to the latest 5.5 U1 using this KB article in my next blog post. I will also highlight some caveats when using this method.