What Happens During an SDDC Update?

In my previous post I discussed the importance of being aware of when your VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC will be upgraded, as well as understanding what new features might be available to you after the upgrade.

READ THE RELEASE NOTES

In this post I will provide an overview of the entire SDDC upgrade process so you know what to expect.

June 2020 Update

VMware Documentation on Upgrades and Maintenance, updated on June 18, 2020:

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Cloud-on-AWS/services/com.vmware.vmc-aws-operations/GUID-EE89B216-BE93-4A1A-9280-8F20E2A5266F.html?hWord=N4IghgNiBcIK4AcDmAnMATApiAvkA

SDDC Upgrade Overview

Your SDDC will be upgraded in 3 phases, with checks all along the way to ensure everything is occurring as anticipated and the management virtual machines are protected and backed up. As a reminder, customers are responsible for the protection and backup of their own virtual machines. Those 3 phases are:

  1. Control Plane
  2. Data Plane
  3. NSX Manager

Phase 1 – Upgrading the Control Plane

The Control Plane comprises most prominently your vCenter and your NSX Edge, as well as a couple back-end components you normally won’t ever interact with (such as the infrastructure providing your SDDC connectivity to the AWS network where the physical connections are made for internet access, Direct Connect, etc.).

  • Notification email sent indicating start of Phase 1
    • SDDC upgrade health check
    • Backup of management virtual machines
    • Upgrade NSX Upgrade Coordinator
    • SDDC Health Check
    • NSX Edge Upgrade
    • vCenter Upgrade
  • Notification email sent indicating Phase 1 complete

Phase 2 – Upgrading the Data Plane

The ‘Data Plane’ essentially comprises your ESXi hosts and clusters. It is important to note during this activity we will add a temporary host during the upgrade process to ensure your environment doesn’t lose CPU or RAM capacity, and also so we don’t impact any SLA provided through Storage Policy.

  • Notification email sent indicating start of Phase 2
    • SDDC upgrade health check
    • Backup of management virtual machines
    • Addition of temporary host to each cluster
    • Data Plane health check
    • Data plane upgrade
    • Removal of temporary host(s)
  • Notification email sent indicating Phase 2 complet

Phase 3 – Upgrading the NSX Manager

Finally, upgrading the NSX Manager itself is last.

  • Notification email sent indicating start of Phase 3
    • SDDC upgrade health check
    • Backup of management virtual machines
    • NSX Manager Upgrade
  • Notification email sent indicating Phase 3 complete

Email Notifications

You will receive a series of emails a few days before the upgrade, as depicted below.

As mentioned previously, all your notification emails will have hyperlinks therein to allow you to read the Release Notes for the impending upgrade.

READ THE RELEASE NOTES

Once the upgrade begins, you will receive a further email notification that the upgrade has started.

And of course once that phase is complete you will receive a notification as well.

Finally, once all the upgrades are complete you will receive a final notification.

SDDC Notifications

Naturally, you will receive notifications within the cloud portal as well. Once an upgrade is scheduled, you will see a banner warning in your Cloud Console for VMware Cloud on AWS.

As indicated in the screen shot above, you also have an opportunity to select a preferred maintenance window.

The graphics in the Maintenance window will update as each phase is completed with anticipated / planned start times as well as completion times for each phase.

Activity Log

Finally, everything is captured, step by step, in the Activity Log for your SDDC. Use the filter capabilities to filter for tasks completed by “Internal-Operator” as indicated in the screen shot below.

There you have it – VMware tries to over-communicate by informing you

  • what is going to happen
  • what is happening
  • what happened

And you will see those communications via email, the cloud console, and in the Activity Log itself.

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