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New Videos Demonstrate HPE SimpliVity Upgrade Process

Tips for what to do and what NOT to do when upgrading HPE SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure software. Three new videos provide an overview and details, including a demo that steps through the upgrade process and links to support resources.  

HPE-SimpliVity_Upgrades-blog.jpgOne of the most important tasks carried out as part of the proper maintenance of your HPE SimpliVity solution is ensuring that you are availing of the latest product enhancements and bug fixes through the upgrading of software and hardware components, and there’s no time like the present. Besides the obvious benefits of upgrading, running HPE SimpliVity software version 3.7.9 or later supports connectivity to HPE InfoSight – another great reason why you should be looking at upgrading your hyperconverged infrastructure now.

There are two paths you can take when we talk about upgrading your environment.

  • Path one, and the simplest, is to avail of the professional service provided by HPE SimpliVity to carry out all of your upgrade tasks for you. You can speak to your local HPE accounts team or channel partner for more details about this.
  • Path two, and the route I discuss in this blog, is for those of you interested in rolling your sleeves up and carrying out these upgrades independently.

The upgrade process and the functionality and flexibility of the HPE SimpliVity Upgrade Manager interface, make the independent upgrade path extremely straightforward and attractive. Not only have advancements in Upgrade Manager functionality been continually evolving with a focus on simplifying the process with you – our customers – in mind, but other aspects of your overall upgrade have also been evolving with this same focus.

Software Downloads: My HPE Software Center

Accessing software downloads has been simplified through the new My HPE Software Center portal, where your HPE Passport account is all that’s required to access your available software downloads.

HPE-SimpliVity_upgrade-bundle.jpgStarting with HPE SimpliVity software version 4.0.0, the traditional 12GB~ support bundle, has been split into three separate packages, one of which is an upgrade specific package (3GB~) containing all of the necessary upgrade components you require as part of a successful HPE SimpliVity software upgrade, saving quite a bit of download time.

Upgrade Manager orchestrates the process

Over time, and most noticeably in recent HPE SimpliVity software releases, the capabilities of Upgrade Manager (UM) have improved substantially. Upgrade Manager is included in the HPE SimpliVity upgrade bundle, and it is the feature that orchestrates and guides you through the upgrade itself. With advancements in the scalability of the solution to now support federations of up to 96 nodes, UM has been advancing in parallel to ensure that scalability enhancements have not caused a bottleneck from a time/effort perspective in terms of the subsequent upgrade of those larger environments.

Functionality such as the ability to carry out parallel upgrades across clusters, and the ability to even carry out parallel node upgrades within clusters, drastically improve upgrade times. This ensures that upgrading larger environments is not as daunting a task as it may seem, and when planned and executed correctly, can be completed in a relatively short period of time. Parallel node upgrades within clusters does require all virtual machines with the exception of the HPE SimpliVity virtual controllers to be powered down. Upgrade committal at the cluster level in newer releases is also a nice touch!

Starting with HPE SimpliVity software version 3.7.10, one-click, fully automated HPE SimpliVity software, ESXi, and Firmware upgrades are also now possible. This feature provides serious improvements in the overall efficiency of your upgrades by reducing the amount of time and effort that would otherwise be required to carry out individual upgrades of these components. One caveat here is that you must be running vSphere Enterprise Plus type licensing or higher which includes vSphere DRS functionality, and allows for the automatic migration of VM’s from one host to another during the upgrade.

For those of you running your solution on Dell/Cisco/Lenovo platforms, HPE SimpliVity software version 3.7.10 is the last supported software version you can run. This does not mean that you are limited in terms of expanding your environments, however. HPE SimpliVity software version 3.7.10 supports  mixed version clusters within the same federation, meaning you can have D/C/L clusters running version 3.7.10 together with other clusters running software versions beyond that on HPE platforms, thus ensuring that your HPE SimpliVity solution can continue to expand and grow to meet the demands of your business.

Note: You will see HPE SimpliVity referred to as “OmniStack” in screenshots, because that was the name of the software before HPE acquired SimpliVity.

HPE-SimpliVity_Upgrade-Manager.png

As you can see, there are many options available to you in terms of the approach you decide to take when it comes to upgrading your HPE SimpliVity solution. It really does boil down to just figuring out what works best for you. What is certain, most notably in releases from version 3.7.10 onwards, is that the advances and options available to you guarantee a much quicker and smoother upgrade. Once you carry out an upgrade independently for the first time, all other upgrades will be simplified even further as you become more accustomed to Upgrade Manager and the overall process itself.

HPE SimpliVity Upgrade Videos

To assist you further and explain some of the points I have just touched on, I have created an initial trilogy of videos for your viewing:

Part 1: Upgrade Process
An overview of what I believe are the three main aspects of a successful upgrade – Planning, Software Downloads, and Upgrade Execution.

Part 2: Software Downloads and Documentation
How to quickly and easily find key reference documents, software downloads, and other resources.

Part 3: The Upgrade Itself
I demonstrate the upgrade of the HPE SimpliVity software on a three-node production cluster. I encounter an issue that causes the upgrade to fail, and show you how to debug the failure. I search the
knowledge base to find an article that resolves the issue and allows me to continue with a successful upgrade.

I will expand on these videos over time to showcase some of the more advanced upgrade options, and welcome your thoughts and suggestions on what you would like me to cover.

Planning helps to ensure smooth upgrades

It would be wrong for me to claim that running Upgrade Manager is absolutely trouble-free. Of course there are issues that you can potentially hit. The good news is that more and more of the issues encountered during upgrades are documented in our extensive knowledge base. In part three of the HPE SimpliVity Upgrade Process video series, I show you exactly how to do debug the potential failure and effectively search our knowledge base to find a solution to the issue. Having supported the HPE SimpliVity solution for four years, I can say, however, that the vast majority of issues can be avoided. Familiarising yourself with the prerequisites as per the Upgrade Guide is a great starting point. Additionally and even more importantly, confirming interoperability of your underlying hypervisor, server management software, and firmware revisions through the HPE SimpliVity Interoperability Guide prior to any upgrades is an absolute must.

It never ceases to amaze me how often we see customers going ahead with upgrades without referencing the interoperability guide firstly, and upgrading to unsupported hypervisor, server management, or firmware revisions as a result. This misstep can cause a lot of problems. Of course we can resolve these issues when they arise, but they are completely avoidable by giving the planning phase the due diligence it deserves. The HPE SimpliVity interoperability guide is the single true source of information that you need to reference before carrying out your upgrades and to confirm compatibility.

If you are unsure or in doubt of anything related to compatibility, raise a support ticket to seek confirmation, or use the HPE SimpliVity Forum to ask our experienced support engineers and fellow customers engaged on the forum your questions.

Declan

 

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Declan O'Regan
HPE SimpliVity Technical Solutions Consultant
HPE Pointnext Services

Declan has been supporting the HPE SimpliVity solution for four years and is passionate about sharing product knowledge and helping customers become more self-sufficient. His main areas of focus include improving the HPE SimpliVity knowledge base and driving product enhancements that improve the overall customer experience.

 

 

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