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Applying operating system patches or hotfixes with minimal interrupt when using vCenter Server Heartbeat (1010803)

Purpose

This article provides steps for applying operating system patches or hotfixes on a vCenter Server pair with minimal interruptions.

Resolution

vCenter Server Heartbeat's unique architecture allows you to install updates to the operating system or apply hotfixes without interrupting end-users. The active/passive server pair allows you to install the update or hotfix on one server and ensure functionality before installing on the other.
 
Before implementing this procedure, ensure that the Automatic Update feature supplied by Microsoft is configured so that updates are not applied automatically. It is acceptable to allow the updates to be downloaded automatically.
 
Note: The procedure assumes that vCenter Server Heartbeat is configured with the Primary server as active and both the File System Status and Registry Status are synchronized.
 
By following this procedure, it is possible to install the operating system updates or hotfixes with minimal interruption.
 
Patching a vCenter Server Heartbeat server pair without management (backdoor) IP addresses:
  1. On the Primary (active) server, launch Windows Update.
  2. Download and install the patches or hotfixes, but do not reboot the server if instructed to do so.
  3. Launch the vCenter Server Heartbeat Console.
  4. Perform a switchover using the vCenter Server Heartbeat Console to make the Secondary server active.

    Note: At this point users may notice a slight interruption to the protected application.

  5. When switchover is complete, from a console session, shutdown vCenter Server Heartbeat on both the Primary and Secondary servers.
    1. On both the Primary and Secondary servers, right-click the vCenter Server Heartbeat System Tray icon.
    2. Click Shutdown vCenter Server Heartbeat, but leave protected applications running
  6. Reboot the Primary server, if prompted at step 2, to complete the installation of the operating system patches or hotfixes.
  7. Verify all patches and hotfixes are installed properly.
  8. Start vCenter Server Heartbeat on the Secondary server and also on the Primary server, if no reboot was required at step 6, allowing the servers to synchronize.

    Note: Allow servers to connect and synchronize with the Secondary as active and the Primary as passive.

  9. When synchronization is complete, launch the Windows Update on the Secondary (active) server.
  10. Download and install the patches or hotfixes, but do not reboot the server if instructed to do so.
  11. Launch the vCenter Server Heartbeat Console.
  12. Perform a switchover using the vCenter Server Heartbeat Console to make the Primary server active again.

    Note: At this point users may notice a slight interruption to the protected application.

  13. When switchover is complete, from a console session, shutdown vCenter Server Heartbeat on both the Secondary and Primary servers. 
    1. On both the Secondary and Primary servers, right-click the vCenter Server Heartbeat System Tray icon.
    2. Click Shutdown vCenter Server Heartbeat, but leave protected applications running
  14. Reboot the Secondary server, if prompted at step 10, to complete the install of the operating system patches or hotfixes.
  15. Verify all patches are installed properly.
  16. Start vCenter Server Heartbeat on the Secondary server and also on the Primary server, if no reboot was required at step 14, allowing the servers to synchronize.
  17. Allow servers to connect and synchronize with the Primary as active and the Secondary as passive.

    Note: At this point users may notice a slight interruption to the protected application.

  18. On the Primary (active) server, launch Windows Update again and check for any further updates that may be required. If additional updates are required, repeat steps 2 to 17.
Installing operating system patches or hotfixes using management (backdoor) IP addresses:
  1. On the Secondary (passive) server, launch Windows Update.
  2. Download and install the patches or hotfixes, but do not reboot the server if instructed to do so.
  3. Launch the vCenter Server Heartbeat Console.
  4. Shutdown vCenter Server Heartbeat on both the Primary and Secondary servers.
    1. On both the Primary and Secondary servers, right-click the vCenter Server Heartbeat System Tray icon.
    2. Click Shutdown vCenter Server Heartbeat, but leave protected applications running
  5. Reboot the Secondary server, if prompted at step 2, to complete the installation of the operating system patches or hotfixes.
  6. Verify all patches or hotfixes are installed properly.
  7. On the Secondary (passive) server, launch Windows Update again and check for any further updates that may be required. If additional updates are required, repeat steps 2 to 6.
  8. Start vCenter Server Heartbeat on the Primary server and also on the Secondary server if no reboot was required at step 5 allowing the servers to synchronize.
  9. Launch the vCenter Server Heartbeat Console.
  10. Perform a switchover using the vCenter Server Heartbeat Console to make the Secondary server active.

    Note: At this point users may notice a slight interruption to the protected application.

  11. When the switchover is complete, launch Windows Update on the Primary (passive) server.
  12. Download and install the patches or hotfixes, but do not reboot the server if instructed to do so.
  13. Shutdown vCenter Server Heartbeat on both the Primary and Secondary servers.
    1. On both the Primary and Secondary servers, right-click the vCenter Server Heartbeat System Tray icon.
    2. Click Shutdown vCenter Server Heartbeat, but leave protected applications running
  14. Reboot the Primary server, if prompted at step 13, to complete the installation of the operating system patches or hotfixes.
  15. Verify all patches or hotfixes are installed properly.
  16. On the Primary (passive) server, launch Windows Update again and check for any further updates that may be required. If additional updates are required, repeat steps 11 to 15.
  17. Start vCenter Server Heartbeat on the Secondary server and also on the Primary server if no reboot was required at step 14 allowing the servers to synchronize.
  18. Launch the vCenter Server Heartbeat Console.
  19. Perform a switchover using the vCenter Server Heartbeat Console to make the Primary server active again.

    Note: At this point users may notice a slight interruption to the protected application.

Additional Information

vCSHB-Ref-1670

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