How to perform a simplified NSX Upgrade with the new Upgrade Coordinator feature

A new feature in NSX for vSphere v6.4 is the upgrade coordinator. In previous versions of NSX you would have to navigate to various distinct areas of the UI to facility an upgrade of your entire NSX environment. This new feature provides a single portal for planning and upgrading the entire NSX system, also providing the ability to run pre and post upgrade checks and verifications.  With the goal of reducing the manual steps  and operational effort involved with the upgrade process. Did I also mention that NSX 6.4 adds support for the vSphere HTML5 Client, and upgrade coordinator is one of the 1st supported features.  How awesome is that?!

This post provides an overview and walkthrough of the upgrade coordinator.  Be sure to read the official NSX Upgrade Guide for system requirements, step by step instructions and best practices

In my lab I am running NSX-V v6.3.1 and vSphere v6.5U1 in a Cross-vCenter NSX configuration.  See this simplified diagram detailing the various components that will be upgraded to v6.4.


As with any upgrade, it is important to have a rollback plan. To facilitate this backup the follow components;

  1. NSX Manager(primary and secondary)
  2. All vSphere Distributed Switches
  3. vCenter(s)

The backup process is out of scope of this post, so check out the NSX Backup and Restore documentation for step by step instructions.

OK lets get to the upgrade!

  1. Download the NSX 6.4 upgrade bundle (you’ll need a MyVMware account with the necessary entitlements)
  2. Login to the Primary NSX Manager as admin
  3. Click the Upgrade button


  4. Click Upload Bundle button , select Choose File and browse to the bundle downloaded in step 1. Click Continue
  5. It will take a few minutes to upload and verify the bundle



  6. Once the upload and verification process is complete, click the Begin Upgrade button
  7. Decide if you want to enable SSH and join the CEIP, and click Upgrade


  8. Upgrade will take a few minutes to complete, you’ll know when complete as you’ll be returned to the NSX Manager login screen.UC-21
  9. Log back in to the Primary NSX Manager. Click the Upgrade button again, and verify Current Software Versions lists 6.4.0 and Upgrade State is complete


  10. Logout of the Primary NSX Manager.  If like me you have a Secondary NSX Manger, or more for that matter(NSX support up to 8 NSX Managers in a Cross vCenter deployment, see my previous post detailing NSX Recommended Configuration Maximums ), perform steps  2 – 9 on the remaining NSX Managers.
  11. Login to vCenter(in my case at Site A which hosts the Primary NSX Manager) via the HTML5 Client(https://vcenter_FQDN/ui)
  12. Click Menu and you should now see the Networking and Security option available


  13. NOTE. With this being the initial release that includes NSX compatibility with the vSphere HTML5 Client,  functionality is limited.  Additional functionality will be added in future releases.  See here for details of what is currently support & unsupported.
  14. Click the Upgrade link on the left to be presented with the new upgrade dashboard


  15. This will display amongst other things, current and target state.  E.g for the Controllers


  16. In my lab I have some warnings that need to reviewed before commencing the upgrade.  I clicked on the 3 Warnings icon underneath NSX Edges


  17. One of the errors was  related to High Availability not being enabled(which is by design in my lab due to limited resources), so this can be ignored as I can accept the outage in my lab 🙂


  18. Another warning relates  to the underlying fabric, so these need to be investigated.


  19. The third  warning can be ignored, as the fabric hosting the NSX Edge will be upgraded as part of this process


  20. I investigated the Host Preparation tab(via the traditional vSphere Web Client for now) and can see 2 ESXi hosts reporting a Not Ready status in the Installation Status column


  21. For me clicking the Action button, and selecting Resolve corrected the issue. Now all hosts look good


  22. Switching back to the Upgrade Coordinator and clicking the refresh icon, I could see the warning count had reduced to 2 and the fabric health issue has cleared.  Meaning we can proceed with the upgrade.  This a a great example of how the Upgrade Coordinator can easily be leveraged to resolve issues BEFORE attempting an upgrade and potential causing problems.
  23. Now click the Plan Upgrade button to plan and start the upgrade!


  24. Now that I have reviewed the warning earlier, and resolved the fabric health issue, I’m feeling pretty confident so will select the One Click Upgrade option.  For a more guided walkthrough the  Plan Your Upgrade option is available.


  25. The Upgrade Coordinator will take a moment to analyze your entire NSX environment and then present you with the Review Plan screen.  Review the plan, and you can click on the numbers to see additional details, e.g. which Host Clusters will be upgraded



  26. When you’re ready Click the Start Upgrade button. You will see this screen


  27. Click View Details to see the upgrade status of individual components, then Details on the item of interest.  E.g. Controllers  If your version of NSX is prior to v3.3, a net new controller will be deployed on PhotonOS . Be sure to review my other post NSX-V v6.3.3 Upgrade Notes for details.


  28. Reviewing Recent Tasks in the vSphere Client I can see the old Controller being deleted and a new one deployed  and Systems Upgrade Status for the Controller shows as complete



  29. Next up are the Clusters, you can monitor progress if desired via the Upgrade Coordinator and Recent Tasks. You’ll see DRS migrating VM’s, hosts being placed in Maintenance Mode and Agents being updated etc.  Upgrading the clusters will be the longest part of the upgrade process, so relax go grab yourself a drink, sit back and watch the show! NOTE:  DRS in Fully Automated mode is required for an automated NSX upgrade.



  30. You can also optionally track host upgrade progress from the vSphere Web Client(see version of each host).  This will be particularly useful in a large enterprise environment with a lot of hosts.


  31. If you do run into an issue the process will pause, allowing you to review the impacted component along with recommended steps to correct the problem before proceeding




  32. In my case, as per the recommendation, rebooting the host in question resolved the issue, and I was then able to click the Resume button to continue with the upgrade


  33. The Universal Logical Router, NSX Edges and any Service VM’s will be upgraded next.
  34. Once finished, the upgrade should now successful, and you will be presented with the following screen


  35. In my lab, the last step is to click the drop down next to NSX Manager and select the Secondary NSX Manager and walk through the same process in my secondary site



I hope now you have a good understanding of the process, and can see how upgrades of your entire NSX environment are greatly simplified with the Upgrade Coordinator feature of NSX v6.4

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