Uninstalling and Upgrading VirtuCache when ESXi and/or vCenter is Upgraded

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If you are upgrading ESXi on each host that has VirtuCache, do the below. These steps are only required if you are upgrading between major versions e.g. from 6.0 to 6.5 or from 6.5 to 6.7 etc. Our caching driver is different for each major ESXi version, so we have a different caching driver version for ESXi 6.0, 6.5, 6.7, etc.

Step 1 : Either via VirtuCache GUI or CLI, pause caching on all hosts in the cluster, one host at a time. Before proceeding to the next host, make sure that caching is indeed paused on the current host you are working on. It is important that dirty write cache is flushed to backend storage for the host you are working on before you proceed to the next host.  Depending on the ‘Destaging Footprint’ on the host and the speed of your SAN, it might take a few minutes for caching to stop on a host. When VirtuCache GUI (‘Hosts’ tab) shows caching as paused, then you know that the dirty write cache from the host has been successfully synced to backend storage and its write replicas deleted from other hosts.

To pause caching from the GUI. Goto to the Hosts tab > and click on the Pause Caching icon (screenshot below)

Pause Caching
Pause Caching

Step 2.  Removing VirtuCache

Step 2(a): Put a host in maintenance mode.

Step 2(b): Then uninstall VirtuCache driver on each host by typing the below commands at esxcli
/etc/init.d/vnx2.sh stop
You might see errors like watchdog-vnx2.PID does not exist; or unable to terminate watchdog-vnx2; can’t remove vnxcli; can’t remove vnxd.conf; can’t remove vnx2; etc. Ignore these errors, the command does unload the VirtuCache driver.

Then type this command:
esxcli software vib remove -n vnx2
This will remove the VirtuCache driver.
A reboot is not required after uninstalling VirtuCache.

You can confirm if VirtuCache is uninstalled by typing the below command at esxcli. If you don’t see a vnx2 line in the output, then you know that VirtuCache has been removed from the ESXi host. You will still see the lic_vnx2 line, which refers to VirtuCache license, but let that be since you don’t need to uninstall the license.

esxcli software vib list | grep vnx2

Step 2(c) Exit maintenance mode.

Do the steps 2(a), 2(b) and 2(c) for each host in the cluster, till VirtuCache is uninstalled from all hosts in the cluster. Only after VirtuCache is uninstalled from all hosts in the cluster that you should proceed to Step 3 below.

Step 3: Once VirtuCache is removed from all hosts, upgrade ESXi on all hosts.

Step 4: Installing the new VirtuCache driver.

Step 4 (a): Install the new VirtuCache driver software vib of the type "vnx2-1.0-.*.vib" using ESXi CLI like below.

esxcli software vib install -v "file:///vmfs/volumes/[datastore name]/vnx2-1.0-.*.vib"

where [datastore name] is the Datastore the vib has been copied to.

No reboot is required after VirtuCache is installed.

Step 4 (b): After you install the new VirtuCache driver, make sure that caching is ON by going to the ‘Hosts’ tab in the VirtuCache GUI.  Cache policy configuration for Datastores and VMs that were applied before the upgrade will be automatically reapplied since VirtuCache saves the last known configuration.

Now repeat steps 4 (a) and 4(b) for each host in the cluster in serial order i.e. complete steps 4(a) and 4(b) on one host, before moving to the next host.

UPGRADING VIRTUCACHE LICENSE FILE.

The VirtuCache license file should also come through the ESXi upgrade so you don’t need to get a new license file.

However, if the UUID (that VMware assigns to your ESXi host) changes for some reason when you upgrade between major ESXi releases, then you will see the caching as stopped / license not activated in the ‘Hosts’ tab in VirtuCache GUI. In this case, you will need to get in touch with your Virtunet sales engineer to request a new license file.

UPGRADING VIRTUCACHE MANAGER VM.

If you separately upgrade vCenter, then there are no changes required to VirtuCache Manager VM. Your VirtuCache standalone GUI or the VirtuCache vCenter plugin will keep working like earlier. However, if you are moving from using the Flash vCenter web client to the new vCenter HTML5 client, then you would need to delete the older VirtuCache manager VM and import VirtuCache Manager OVA version 2.0.206 or higher.

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