vSphere upgrade saga: Upgrading HPSIM

The first part of any hypervisor upgrade is to ensure that your existing hardware is supported. Part of that determination is what firmware levels are supported for your compute devices as well as necessary firmware for networking, fibre, blade chassis, etc. For vSphere and HP equipment there are two locations you should look:

Since an upgrade requires you to reboot each node of your vSphere cluster this is also the perfect time to update any firmware you may need for your systems as recommended by VMware and the hardware vendor. However, before you update any firmware, you should update any hardware management tools, so that you have the bits that work with your version of vSphere. In my case, I need to update my HP Insight Manager installation. This way hardware monitoring will not be impacted and I then have the means to ensure other updates go smoothly.

The steps for this update are as follows:

1. Mount the HPSIM 7.1 DVD #1 via vCenter in local ISO mode.

2. Backup the HPSIM databases: gwlm, hpio*, HPMOEMetering, hpvmmsqldb, Insight_*, PMP_*

3. Create a vSphere snapshot of your HPSIM virtual machine

4. Run the Insight Management Advisor, which reported 3 issues on my install:

  • Memory too low

  • Flash Version was not v10 32bit

  • DB Restore Mode not Simple on a table

5. Correct the problems

  • Memory I did not touch, as my install is not large and I can handle having slightly less memory (past performance management tools show HPSIM is not using anywhere near where what I gave it, so this is a decision based on fact not supposed requirements.

  • Flash Version was the latest and given the security issues with Adobe products, this did not change. I see no issues using the most recent version of Flash.

  • The DB Restore Mode not being Simple on a table is easy to fix. Given my environment Full modes just eat through disk. I had two that needed to be fixed and since I made that change, I recreated my database backup.

6. Run the Integrated Installer

  • On any problem: restore the databases and revert to your snapshot so you have a clean slate once you restart the installation.

7. Apply HPSIM Update 2 as well.

8. Commit the snapshot

Unfortunately for me the step ‘Run the Integrated Installer’ did not complete successfully. There was one error; it failed to run axinstall.exe that is part of the Altiris solution used as part of HP Matrix Deployment solution. But since I normally do not use Altiris and never had it installed before, I just decided to not select it for this upgrade. I can always add it later if I want. This one hiccup did not require me to revert to my snapshot or restore my databases as HP has a fairly intelligent upgrade strategy of not failing the entire update if one component has an issue.

This upgrade went smoothly because of two things:

  • I was prepared for failure (snapshots as well as database backups)

  • I made upgrade decisions based on the reality of my environment (performance and tools in use).

You do not always need to install everything or make changes to existing environments just because the box says it is required. As long as you have proof that it is not needed. My proof came from vCops and vCenter itself plus all the other monitoring tools I have within the environment.

Next we upgrade VMware vCenter Server

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