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VxRail: Upgrade Information

Summary: This article is an accumulation of questions, answers, and information relating to VxRail upgrades.

This article may have been automatically translated. If you have any feedback regarding its quality, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

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Note: If self-upgrading, users should generate an upgrade procedure using the Dell SolVe Online Portal for detailed upgrade instructions (Dell Support account required).

Helpful Resources:  
Note: Information about troubleshooting licensing issues can be found in Dell VxRail: Troubleshooting guide for License issues (Dell Support account required to view article)

1. Regarding VxRail, what does Remote Proactive Services (RPS) Support?

  • Standalone VxRail Upgrades with VxRail Managed (Internal) vCenter (See below for more information)
  • Stretched Cluster VxRail Upgrades (See below for more information)
  • VxRail Clusters with User Managed (External) vCenter deployments (External vCenter updates are outside Dell Support coverage, see below [No. 4] for more information).

Note: RPS teams do not support Dark Sites and require a field resource to be onsite to perform the upgrade.

2. What Type of Upgrades are performed on VxRail Systems?

  • Major upgrade = An appliance upgrade which is out of family (e.g 4.7.x > 7.0.x).
  • Minor upgrade = An appliance upgrade which is in-family (e.g 7.0.x > 7.0.x).

3. Are VxRail Upgrades Disruptive?

VxRail appliance upgrades are considered non-disruptive. The workload VMs are first migrated to other online hosts before placing that host into maintenance mode.
Be aware of the following:

  • Prior to a VxRail upgrade health checks are performed to ensure the system's upgrade readiness.
  • All workload VMs should be configured to allow them to vMotion between VxRail nodes. If a VM cannot be vMotioned, then planned downtime may be required to allow an upgrade to complete successfully.
    As with any system upgrade, it is recommended to upgrade at times of low I/O and that a maintenance window is scheduled should there be any difficulties.
  • If the system utilization is too high (Memory or CPU usage), then it may be required that some VMs be powered off, to avoid any potential impact to the workload VMs.
  • If the storage utilization is too high, it may be required that you free up space on the vSAN OR migrate some workload VMs off the vSAN onto a different system (if possible).

4. During a VxRail upgrade, the following components are upgraded (but is not limited to) the following:

  • VxRail Manager
  • VMware ESXi
  • VMware vCenter Server Virtual Appliance (vCSA) (If Internal)
  • VMware Platform Service Controller (PSC) (If Internal)
  • VMware vSAN
  • Hardware-specific upgrades included (Not included on every upgrade but is present within the composite package where applicable).
  • The items below are some of what is upgraded, see the VxRail Support Matrix links to determine component versions between different VxRail code levels.

Dell PowerEdge Platform:

  • PTAgent
  • iSM
  • BIOS
  • iDRAC
  • BOSS

For a full list of upgraded components, see the required VxRail Support Matrix below:

Useful points regarding VxRail appliance upgrades:

  • VxRail upgrades should always be initiated from the VxRail Manager UI/vCenter Plugin.
  • Updating VxRail using the VMware vCenter Update Manager (VUM on vCenter web client) is not supported.
  • VxRail clusters that are deployed with an External vCenter may require the vCenter Server to be updated prior to the VxRail Cluster upgrade (External vCenter upgrades are not supported by Dell and are a user task).
  • For External (User managed) vCenter configuration, it is imperative that you ensure the current version of vCenter is supported on the code level you are upgrading to. See the following article on Dell VxRail: VxRail and Customer-managed VMware vCenter Server (External vCenter) Interoperability Matrix (Dell Support login required to view article)
  • Stretched VxRail clusters running versions (lower than) 4.5.215 or 4.7.300 are not user upgradable, and the upgrade must be performed by a Dell TSE. Upgrades above these code levels are considered user upgradable and the upgrade script automates the Witness update.

5. How long does or should I expect the VxRail upgrade to take?

The duration of a VxRail appliance upgrade depends on many factors:

  • Number of Hosts
  • Host Hardware Type
  • If DRS is enabled or not
  • System Configuration (stretched or nonstretched and internal or external VC)
  • Number of VMs on the system
  • Size of VMs
  • Current Code Level and Target Code Level (major or minor)
  • How many additional updates were included on the destination version (firmware updates and so forth).

As a general guideline, we can use the following as a rough estimate, sometimes, the activity duration can take longer and sometimes it can take less.

Dell PowerEdge hosts:

  • Estimated time per host = 2 hours
  • If DRS is not enabled, add an extra 1 hour to the total time.
  • If the system is a stretched cluster, add an extra 1 hour to the total time.

6. RPS Upgrade Process Summary

Tech Consult (Pre-Check):

  • Perform cluster health checks using scripts and vCenter UI checks (RPS open a support case for any issues).
  • Size the environment to provide an upgrade plan
  • Provide an estimated upgrade duration (this is based on an issue-free upgrade)
  • Provide the Customer with any prerequisites to be actioned.
  • Discuss the upgrade plan and provide the code download link.
  • Answer any user technical questions.

Once the Tech Consult has been completed, the Scheduling Team works with the user to schedule the upgrade based on the upgrade plan. This allows RPS resources to be assigned for the entire upgrade duration and provides handovers where the duration is crossing engineer shifts.


  • Perform cluster health checks using scripts and vCenter UI checks.
  • Upload the code package.
  • Start the upgrade process.
  • Monitor to completion.

Post Checks:

  • Review cluster health after the upgrade
  • Open a support SR for any issues that need investigation.

7. VxRail Upgrade Procedure

The VxRail is an engineered solution and VxRail Life-Cycle Management (LCM) automates the VxRail upgrade process by loading software and firmware to each node.

  • Configure alarm definitions for email notifications.
  • Take snapshots of service VMs.
  • Upgrade from the current code to a new version.
  • Remove snapshots of service VMs.
  • Change the Mystic Service account password.
Note: SolVe Online allows customers to generate VxRail procedures.

8. VxRail Upgrade Script

The VxRail Life-Cycle Management (LCM) is automated by a script in the following order.

  • VxRail Manager
  • vCenter Server (if VxRail Managed)
  • ESXi node 1
  • ESXi node 2
  • ESXi node 3
  • ESXi node n
The LCM script starts at node 1, evacuates its VMs, and places the node in Maintenance Mode. All components are upgraded, and the node is rebooted. After the reboot is completed, the node is taken out of Maintenance Mode and VMs migrate back to the node. The script moves to the next node, until all nodes in the cluster have been upgraded.

Additional Information

Video: How to run the VxRail Verify Tool.


Video: How to Upgrade VxRail Cluster from 4.7 Release for VxRail

Article Properties

Affected Product

VxRail, VxRail Appliance Family

Last Published Date

20 May 2024



Article Type

How To