Experience with upgrading to Xenserver 6.1 with PVS devices

I recently had the pleasure of doing several upgrades from XS6.02 to XS6.1 with XenApp Vm’s provisioned with PVS 6.1. Here are some of the issues we had during the upgrades, and a summary of what I learned:

First, you must remember to update all hotfixes on XS6.1, at least hotfix 9 and 10.

I was using this document as a guide, but it’s a rather confusing document: http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX135099

1. Once you upgrade the farm master server, you must continue the process on all XenServers. The remaining hosts will be online during the process with VM’s running, but you will not be able to boot vm’s on the hosts that are not upgraded yet. I had to use several days for the upgrade, and the nightly reboot of the XenApp servers caused all VM’s on the remaining host to be offline the next day. So remember to stop reboot schedules if you are using more than one day for the upgrade process.

2. I recommend use a standalone XenServer host, outside the Xen Pool to upgrade the xentools in the PVS image before starting the upgrade. Create a new VM after installing XS6.1 with all the hotfixes is installed. Use this VM to upgrade the xentools on you PVS images.

3. The tricky part, is that 6.1 VM’s has a new hardware ID. New Vm’s created after the upgrade will get the new hardware ID. If you try to boot the existing PVS image with old Xentools on the VM with new hardware ID, the machine will go to bluescreen during boot. To workaround, change hardware ID to 0001 to enable to boot the VM’s using old Xentools, then upgrade the xentool using the installwizard.msi. You don’t need the legacy tools after hotfix 10. To change hardware ID, run: xe vm-param-set uuid=<vm_uuid> platform:device_id=0001 on the xenserver host console,

4. You need to reverse image before upgrading the Xentools or use direct VHD boot, which is a way faster method: http://virtexperience.com/2012/09/11/fastest-way-to-updating-xenserver-tools-and-pvs-drivers-on-a-citrix-provisioning-image

5. During upgrade the hardware ID will be switched to 0002 for the upgrade VM. The upgrade process need 3-4 reboots. The reboot message appears before the installation is complete. Wait for the install wizard to complete before you press reboot. Do not uninstall PVS drivers or Xentools before upgrading, just start the installwizard.msi. You may want to install the latest PVS hotfixes after a successful Xentools upgrade and reboot. I recommend upgrade PVS drivers using hotfix 16, this is a complete PVS device installer, and then add hotfix 17 binaries. This is if you are on PVS 6.1

6. The virtual XenApp VM’s does not work until you change the hardware ID manually. Normally, you will have to upgrade the tools on each VM, and the hardware ID will change automatically, but since we are booting from a PVS image, this has to be done manually on each VM. To change hardware ID, run: xe vm-param-set uuid=<vm_uuid> platform:device_id=0002 on the xenserver host console.

That’s pretty much it. It works, but it’s not a very streamlined process.

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