NSX-T 2.5 comes with a lot of cool new features such as NSX Intelligence, Container API Support, Tier-1 Failure Domain Placement, and many more. Check out the release notes for a complete list of new features. But how to upgrade from an older version of NSX-T to 2.5? No worries, upgrading NSX-T to a new version can be done in a few simple steps, and the help of the Upgrade Coordinator. In this blog post, I will demonstrate how to get from NSX-T version 2.4.1 to 2.5.
As a first step, we should check the upgrade path on the VMware Interoperability Matrix.
As you can see, upgrading from 2.4.1 to 2.5 is possible without doing an extra upgrade step in between. Additionally, we need to check if the vSphere version in our environment is compatible with NSX-T 2.5.
I am running vCenter version 6.7U3 and ESXi 6.7U2, so we are good to go. Download the “NSX 2.5 Upgrade Bundle” here.
Before you start, always ensure you have an NSX-T backup that is up2date. You can Backup NSX-T from the “Backup & Restore” section under the System tab. Simply click the “Edit” button and configure a remote file server as you can see here:
After setting the backup file server, we can define a backup schedule. In my case, I will enable an automatic backup every week on Sunday at 12:00. You can also let NSX detect configuration changes and trigger backups automatically.
Now that we configured everything, we can trigger a manual Backup by clicking “Backup Now”.
We can see the progress under “Ongoing Backup Status”.
Under “Last Backup Status”, we can see when the last backup happened and if it was successful or not.
The Status is “Successful”, and we can see the backup has been created on the file server.
We have completed the preparation, and we can continue by executing the upgrade. Nevertheless, you should always double-check the official documentation for further details or if anything is missing. The upgrade documentation for NSX-T 2.5 can be found here.
Upload and Upgrade Coordinator
The first step is to upload the NSX 2.5 Upgrade Bundle that we have downloaded already. Select the file and click the “Upload” button.
After the file has been uploaded, we can start the upgrade by clicking “Begin Upgrade”.
The first step will be an upgrade of the Upgrade Coordinator component on the management node.
The new version will be visible next to “Upgrade Coordinator Version”.
Run Pre Checks
Before we start with upgrading the NSX-T components such as Edges, Hosts, and Management Nodes, we should always run the “PRE CHECKS”.
You should always double-check the results from the pre-check on potential issues. In my case, the Management Node shows a problem. Click on the node issues link to get more details.
In the next window, we get more information about what triggered the issue. In this case, it is a warning that we can safely ignore. I don’t have a firewall in between the management node and the ESXi hosts. But if you do, you should ensure that port 1234 is open.
Upgrade Edge Nodes
Now we can finally start the upgrade of the NSX-T components. At first, the Edge Nodes will be upgraded. Be aware, if you have only one Edge node, this will cause downtime for your workloads as the north-south communication will be disrupted. You should always run at least a pair of Edge Nodes, so one can take over while the other node gets upgraded. As this is a small home-lab environment, I am only running one Edge node.
As soon as the Edges node(s) have been successfully upgraded, you can click “Next” to continue with the Host upgrades.
During the Host upgrades, NSX-T will try to set the ESXi Hosts into maintenance mode to upgrade the kernel modules. You should double-check if vMotion is configured, and DRS is enabled to free up the ESXi Hosts. We click on “Start” to proceed.
Immediately, NSX-T will take action and set the first Host into maintenance mode.
Check if all Hosts were upgraded successfully and continue to the Management Nodes.
Upgrade Management Nodes
Before you start with the Management Node(s) upgrade, ensure that you have a cluster of three nodes running due to high availability and reliability reasons. Again, this is just a small home-lab environment, and due to my resource limitations, I am only running one Management Node. Lets press “Start” to continue with the upgrade.
During the Upgrade, the Management Nodes will be restarted, and therefore you should restrict access to the system. We initiate the upgrade of the Management Node(s) by clicking “Start”.
During the restart of the Management Node, you will lose the connection to the NSX-T Manager UI, and you have to reload the page. If the upgrade status shows “Successful”, the upgrade is completed.
Congratulations, we have successfully upgraded NSX-T 2.4 to version 2.5.
The upgrade of NSX-T is getting better and better, especially the Upgrade Coordinator helps to make things much more manageable. Additionally, the Pre-Checks are very helpful and can prevent issues during the actual upgrade.
If you are still on NSX-T version 2.3, you might think the upgrade of the Controller Cluster/Nodes is missing. Which is correct, the Controller Nodes are merged with the Management Nodes in NSX-T version 2.4. As I was starting with version 2.4, Controller nodes are not covered in this post.
Besides reading through the official upgrade section, I recommend looking at the following page of the NSX-T documentation “Operational Impact of the NSX-T Data Center Upgrade“.
- Upgrading NSX-T Data Center
- Operational Impact of the NSX-T Data Center Upgrade
- VMware Product Interoperability Matrices
- Download VMware NSX-T Data Center