June 3

EVO:RAIL – Under The Covers – EVO:RAIL Software Versions and Patch Management

If you have access to the EVO:RAIL Management UI it’s very easy to see what version of vCenter, ESX and EVO:RAIL software you are running. Under the “Config” node in the Management UI the first page you see is the “General” page that will show you versions of the software currently in use:

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 15.56.10

There are ways of finding out what version of EVO:RAIL software is in use directly from the vCSA and from the ESXi host. You find out the version of EVO:RAIL from the vCSA using the RPM (Redhat Package Management) command. I’ve sometimes used these commands before I do a build of the EVO:RAIL just confirm what version I’m working with. It also reminds me that I may need to do an update once the build process has completed. Finally, I’ve used these commands when I’ve been supporting folks remotely…

rpm -qa | grep “vmware-marvin”

This should print the version of the EVO:RAIL software running inside the vCenter Server Appliance by querying the status of the “vmware-marvin” software.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 15.58.39

From the ESXI host the “esxcli” command has a method of listing all the VIBS (Virtual Infrastructure Bundle) installed to the host, again we can pipe through grep to search for particular string:

esxcli software vib list | grep “marvin”

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 15.57.59

So for the most part you can retrieve the EVO:RAIL version number using the EVO:RAIL Management UI, but if you prefer you can also retrieve that information from the command-line.

The patch management process is relatively simple affair. Firstly, where do you get patches for EVO:RAIL from? Answer, from MyVMware. New version of EVO:RAIL are RTM to our partners some weeks before the GA on the vmware.com site. Of course, behind the scenes the process of BETA, RC, RTM and GA that customers don’t have to worry about. Generally, we would recommend checking with your partner before you download the latest bits and upgrade – just to check that they approve it for your system.

The EVO:RAIL patch management system can update – the EVO:RAIL engine (both vCenter and ESXi components), ESXi and vCenter. The patches are distributed as .ZIP files and generally contain bundles of either VIB (Virtual Infrastructure Bundles) for ESXi, or RPMs (Red Hat Package) files. These get up loaded to the VSAN Datastore on the appliance, and then an install process is triggered. The whole process is seemless and automated – putting each ESXi host into maintenance mode, and applying the patch, and then rebooting – once completed the host exits maintenance mode, and the next host is updated. The process is its nature serial on a single appliance with 4-nodes to make sure there’s always 3-nodes available on the cluster – and each node must complete before the next node is updated. So there’s no need for VMware Update Manager or any Windows instances to handle the process.

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Posted June 3, 2015 by Michelle Laverick in category "EVO:RAIL