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Upgrading to XenServer 5.6 Service Pack 2

With the recent release of XenServer 5.6 Service Pack 2, you have two ways to upgrade depending on which version of XenServer you are upgrading from.  In this blog post I am going to go over upgrading from XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1 and XenServer 5.5/5.6.

What’s new XenServer 5.6 Service Pack 2?  To see the new features in XenServer 5.6 Service Pack 2 see The Citrix Blogs – XenServer 5.6 Service Pack 2 Now Available! and the Citrix Knowledge Center article CTX129390 – XenServer 5.6 Service Pack 2 Release Notes.

Note: Before upgrading please make sure to eject any ISOs mounted by the virtual machines, shutdown or migrate the virtual machines on the host being upgraded, disable high availability, and make sure to have a good backup and recovery plan just in case any issues happen during the upgrade process.

If you are upgrading from XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1 the upgrade is done from XenCenter using the Install New Update wizard from the Tools menu in XenCenter.  If you don’t read the fine print before trying to upgrade you may make the same mistake I did and try to boot to the XenServer 5.6 SP2 media.  When you boot the XenServer 5.6 SP2 media on and XenServer 5.6 FP1 installation you see the following warning:

Once I saw this warning I scratched my head and thought XenServer upgrades are usually pretty straight forward.   You boot to the media, select upgrade, backup the existing installation, go through the upgrade process, and reboot.  So after reading the fine print (like we all always do), I found out when upgrading from XenServer 5.6 FP1 to XenServer 5.6 SP2 you use a software upgrade package instead of booting to the XenServer 5.6 SP2 ISO/media for the upgrade.

To upgrade from XenServer 5.6 FP1 to XenServer 5.6 SP2 perform the following steps:

1. Logon to MyCitrix, go to the XenServer downloads in the download section, expand Citrix XenServer, and select the XenServer 5.6 Service Pack 2 Software Update Package and XenCenter Windows Management Console to download.

2. Close XenCenter if open and update your XenCenter installation by running the XenServer Windows Management Console download.  Update XenCenter on any other machines that has XenCenter installed.

3. Open XenCenter, connect to your host(s) or resource pool(s) and then select Install New Update… from the Tools menu.

4. Click Next on the Install Update Before you start screen.

 

5. Click Add, Browse the XenServer 5.6 SP2 update package, and Click Next.

6. Select your host(s) or resource pool(s) you want to upgrade and Click  Next.  The  XenServer 5.6 SP2 update package will be uploaded to the XenServer host(s).

7. The Update Prechecks will check to see if the SP2 update can be applied to the server(s).   If all checks have a green check, Click Next.

 

8. Select Automatic or Manual Post Update Option and Click Install Update.

9. Once the update is successfully installed Click Finish.

10.You can now go into XenCenter and verify the XenServer version by going to your XenServer host(s), clicking the General tab, and expanding the Version Details.

11.Now you can upgrade the XenServer Tools on your virtual machines.

To upgrade from XenServer 5.5/5.6 to XenServer 5.6 SP2 perform the following steps:

1. Logon to MyCitrix, go to the XenServer downloads in the download section, expand Citrix XenServer, and select the XenServer 5.6 Service Pack 2 Base Installation ISO and XenCenter Windows Management Console to download.

2. Close XenCenter if open and update your XenCenter installation by running the XenServer Windows Management Console download. Update XenCenter on any other machines that has XenCenter installed.

3. Mount the XenServer 5.6 Service Pack 2 Base Installation ISO using remote server tools such as HP ILO or Dell iDRAC, burn into a disk, or create a USB boot stick and boot to the XenServer media.  Make sure to start with the pool master that is not in maintenance mode if upgrading a resource pool.

4. Once your booted to the XenServer 5.6 SP2 media follow the prompts  for the starting the  installation, EULA, etc.  Make sure to select Upgrade XenServer when prompted.  Install any supplemental packs needed and review/address any third-party drivers, supplemental packs, etc that you get prompted for that may have issues with the upgrade.   The installation will also detect the previous installation and perform a backup of it.  Confirm the installation and proceed with the upgrade.

5. When the XenServer 5.6 SP2 installation/upgrade is completed remove the media and reboot the XenServer host when prompted.

6. Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 on remaining XenServer hosts.  If you are upgrading XenServer hosts in multiple resources pools make sure to start with  the pool master that is not in maintenance mode in each resource pool.

7. You can now go into XenCenter and verify the XenServer version by going to your XenServer host(s), clicking the General tab, and expanding the Version Details.

8. Now you can upgrade the XenServer Tools on your virtual machines.

Now your XenServer host(s) and/or resource pool(s) should be on XenServer 5.6 SP2 and you can take advantage of the new features.

If you have found this article interesting or if you have any other insights, please feel free to leave comments on this article.

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24 Responses to Upgrading to XenServer 5.6 Service Pack 2

  1. scott May 18, 2011 at 9:22 PM #

    As always, thorough explanation man. Will be using this for my lab when i get home

  2. Jonathan Pitre May 19, 2011 at 5:19 PM #

    You have to make sure there no ISO mounted in any of your VMs too, else the update will fail.

  3. KD June 25, 2011 at 10:55 AM #

    Is XenServer 5.6 SP2, ‘contain’ the FP1? Or after you upgrade to SP2, do you still need to add the FP1?…. I would assume that the SP2 contains all the updates/features from SP2, skipping the need to go from 5.6 -> FP1 -> SP2

    • Jarian Gibson June 25, 2011 at 1:19 PM #

      Yes SP2 contains the FP1 updates so you can upgrade from 5.6 directly to SP2 without installing FP1.

  4. claudio August 8, 2011 at 3:45 PM #

    Hi Jarian, I’m running a pool with xen 5.6. Some months ago (in order to practice) I’ve tried to upgrade a single Server to FP1….but there were some issues with network cards….
    For this reason we’ve never found a good reason to upgrade as we can’t afford to fail with a production environment.
    Did you ever heard about this issues? FP2 pack will run smoother? At this point do you think we should wait for Xen 6?
    thanks for advice
    claudio

    • Jarian Gibson August 19, 2011 at 9:02 PM #

      Hey Claudio, I have not run into the issue with the network cards after upgrading 5.6 to 5.6 FP1. What kinds of issues are you having? You can go to SP2 now or wait for 6.0. SP2 has worked fine in the upgrades I have done.

  5. Prince September 9, 2011 at 11:24 PM #

    Nice job Man….wuv it! I should mention that it is advisable to move the vms into a differen server or shut them down.

    Also when upgrading in a highly available environment, always disable HA first!

    • Jarian Gibson September 10, 2011 at 11:55 AM #

      Thanks!. I have updated article with that info.

  6. hendrik September 16, 2011 at 6:45 AM #

    I have upgraded to 5.6 sp2 and the servers are working fine ( Thanks for this howto ) . only issue i got is that the xentools are not update. i downloaded the Xentools but how can replace the old tools with the new one?

    • Jarian Gibson September 16, 2011 at 8:25 AM #

      All you have to do is right click on the VM and select install XenServer tools while logged into the VM. Once the installer comes up follow the prompts to upgrade them.

  7. Catlin September 20, 2011 at 6:19 PM #

    Hi Jarian, I’m running a pool with xen 5.6. Some months ago (in order to practice) I’ve tried to upgrade a single Server to FP1….but there were some issues with network cards….
    For this reason we’ve never found a good reason to upgrade as we can’t afford to fail with a production environment.
    Did you ever heard about this issues? FP2 pack will run smoother? At this point do you think we should wait for Xen 6?
    thanks for advice
    claudio

    +1

  8. Kashif September 23, 2011 at 11:35 AM #

    Thanks a lot for the article.

  9. Prakash Koshy September 25, 2011 at 7:18 AM #

    Hey Jarian

    You were mentioning on having a proper backup before the upgrade; Can you let me know how can i maintain a backup if incase i need to rollback if i face issues with SP2.
    As i understand, during an upgrade the existing XenServer backups are deleted.

    Please let me know how i could restore the backup as well as SP2 installation has gone through, lets assume..

  10. Prakash Koshy September 25, 2011 at 7:25 AM #

    Just giving you a back ground….
    I am maintaing a XenServer 5.6 environment; have a Xen Pool consisting of 2 Hypervisors and hosting 15 VM’s. I need to upgrade to SP 2.
    So what i was planning is; migrate all the VM’s on the pool master to the second hypervisor and run the upgrade. Once the pool master reboots migrate all the VM’s onto the master and upgrade the secondary.
    My issue is how to maintain a proper backup as in my earlier post; to restore incase of any kind of disaster.

    • Jarian Gibson October 2, 2011 at 12:18 AM #

      Backup the pool metadata to your shared storage. From there your storage repository will be portable. If something happens to the pool you can rebuild, attach the storage repository, and restore the metadata. You could also export the virtual machines for backup as well. There are third party products for XenServer backups as well.

  11. Prakash Koshy October 2, 2011 at 7:03 AM #

    Could you give me the command to backup the metadata to another location and also the command to restore the metadata to the newly built Xenserver pool.

  12. Donald Gavin October 4, 2011 at 12:03 PM #

    My first time here. Awesome blog and super post. Well done.

  13. Mitke October 27, 2011 at 4:42 AM #

    Hi Jarian, I’m running a pool with two xen 5.5.0-25727p. Yesterday I tried to upgrade to 5.6 SP2. When I have to choose to do fresh install or upgrade, Xen offer me a wrong version. Something similar to xen 5.5.0-11199. When I continue the process stopped with error: int argument required .

    thanks for any advise
    Mitke

  14. Frankie November 29, 2011 at 9:30 PM #

    I just wonder, can we rollback to previous version after upgrade to SP2?
    Like SP2 to FP1 or SP2 to 5.5/5.6 in case of VMs are not working properly after upgrade.

  15. Carl Behrent January 19, 2012 at 3:02 PM #

    Hi,

    One thing you might want to add is around licensing, when we went from XS5.5 to 5.6 it’s going from per host server based licensing to a Citrix license server.

  16. Milton Smith April 6, 2012 at 8:54 AM #

    Hi Jarian,

    I have a DELL PowerEdge 2900 and am using the LSI MPT2SAS driver with version 5.5. Will this same driver work with 5.6 SP2? or do I need to find a newer one?

    Thanks,

    Milton

  17. Lisa Hawkins June 27, 2012 at 4:06 AM #

    I’m just about to upgrade to version 6.0.2 from 5.5, and this blog is a good basis to begin, very helpful and straight forward. Thanks!!

  18. robert September 14, 2012 at 4:25 PM #

    time for a 5.6.2 to 6.0.2 tour!!

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  1. Upgrading to XenServer 5.6 Service Pack 2 | MrWorkSpace - May 19, 2011

    [...] to upgrade depending on which version of XenServer you are upgrading from.  In this blog post from Jarian Gibson the upgrade from XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1 and XenServer 5.5/5.6 is [...]

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