XenServer 6.5 debuted in January of 2015, and naturally I wanted to a little before upgrading to a new major release in our production environment. That time came on March 21st, 2015. I scheduled to perform a pool upgrade to 6.5 after hours. This post will consist of the upgrade process, any issues that arose and the result and thoughts about the new version of XenServer. Release notes for XenServer can be found here.
Prepping for the upgrade – I learned the hard way when doing a rolling pool upgrade from 6.02 to 6.1, Always read the documentation before upgrading. I logged into Citrix and overlooked the upgrade process for XenServer 6.5 under the XenServer Installation Guide. I performed the database backup and offloaded it through SFTP. Then I downloaded XenServer 6.5 and uploaded the extracted files to an FTP site. After doing a few small housekeeping tasks (shutting down non critical VM’s), I was ready to begin the upgrade
Attempt 1 – I first tried to do an automatic rolling pool upgrade via FTP. After applying one last hotfix, I began to start the pool upgrade. The master rebooted, and said it was installing. After about 20 minutes an error came up that it had failed. Instead of trying to troubleshoot it, I burned XenServer to a CD and began the upgrade again only this time, in manual mode.
Attempt 2 – This process is a little longer, but I feel more confident upgrading via CD rather than an FTP site, which after beginning the upgrade process, realized that my FTP site was on a virtual machine hosted by the Xen hosts. Shouldn’t have really mattered, but still not super settling. The master took the upgrade no problem, and I then began on the other two hosts. As I waited for machines to migrate, I spent a large amount of the time listening to music and surfing reddit. Each Xen hosts upgraded, and there were no other problems.
My thoughts on why the pool failed to update automatically, was that I didn’t point the Xen Installer to the proper FTP directory. Either way, the manual upgrade worked flawlessly, it just took a bit more time and I expected.
The only thing that annoyed me was the amount of alerts and notifications that showed up.
I started the upgrade at 11pm, and finished up around 2:30am. It was by far that easiest XenServer upgrade I ever performed, and I am hoping that we will see noticeable performance increase in performance. Having a x64 Dom should be nice, and updated templates will allow us to begin upgrading our Ubuntu servers to 14.04 LTS.
Although, I don’t know if anything is really broken. Our monitoring systems are having no issues, but we’ll see on Monday if users have any issues.