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From David Merrill <>
Subject Upgrading XenServer Clusters managed by ACS...
Date Fri, 19 Jun 2020 21:23:53 GMT
Hi All,

I have a production deployment of ACS managing three XenServer Clusters (XenServer pools of
6 hosts each) in two different Zones. I now find myself in the position of needing to do a
major version upgrade of those hosts. Happily I have a ACS lab managing a XenServer cluster
running the same (old) version of XenServer that I can practice on.

I have plenty of practice operating ACS to “quiesce things” for XenServer patches (start
with the pool master, move guest VMs off, put that host into maintenance mode, unmanage the
cluster, patch the host, then reverse & move onto the next host with the same steps except
we don’t bother w/un-managing/re-managing the cluster), but as I understand a XenServer
version upgrade backs up the whole original XenServer installation to another partition and
makes a clean installation of XenServer on the original partition (the problem there being
that when the upgraded XenServer boots up all the ACS provided/copied scripts are not there
& ACS can’t manage the host).

So not much of an ask here (OK maybe at the end – have I missed something obvious or doing
anything foolish?), I wanted to share a bit research & lay out a set of steps that I think
will work to get a pool of XenServers in a cluster upgraded and end up in a place where ACS
is happy with them.

Bear with me it’s a little long,

  1.  In XenCenter – if HA is enabled for the XenServer pool, disable it
  2.  Stop ACS management/usage services
  3.  Do MySQL database backups
  4.  Start ACS management/usage services
  5.  Start with the pool master.
  6.  In ACS – Migrate all guest VMs to other hosts in the cluster
  7.  In ACS – Prepare to put the pool master into maintenance mode (so no new guest VMs)
     *   A caveat here related to this item I found when researching –

                                                               i.      A recommendation is
made here to edit /etc/cloudstack/management/

                                                             ii.      And set manage.xenserver.pool.master=false

                                                           iii.      And restart CloudStack
management services

                                                           iv.      BECAUSE if one didn’t
I understand CloudStack WOULD force an election for another host to become the pool master
(which is “bad” as ASCs is configured to speak to the currently configured pool master)


                                                               i.      Found a thread titled
“A Story of a failed XenServer Upgrade” here –

                                                             ii.      At the end of the thread
Paul Angus states that Geoff’s ShapeBlue blog article was written in the ACS 4.3 era and
that ACS’ behavior “used to be that putting a host that was the pool master into maintenance
would cause CloudStack to force an election for another host to become pool master - stopping
you from then upgrading the active pool master first. There wasn't an 'unmanage' button at
the time.”

                                                           iii.      The implication, (in
my humble estimation) is that, today, one no longer needs to make these edits to /etc/cloudstack/management/

  1.  In ACS – Put the pool master into maintenance mode (so no new guest VMs)
  2.  In ACS – Un-manage the cluster
  3.  NOW – Upgrade the XenServer pool master to the latest release
     *   Exercise left to the reader…(I’ll share what I end up doing)
  4.  In XenServer – Do the following (found this nugget in a thread last November about
XenServer upgrades & how to re-setup the host – thanks Richard Lawley!)
     *   Remove this host tag: xe host-param-remove uuid=HOSTUUID param-name=tags
     *   This makes management server set the host back up, presumably since ACS has credentials
to the host in the database it can copy all the scripts back
  5.  In ACS – Re-manage the cluster
  6.  In ACS – Exit maintenance-mode for the newly upgraded host
  7.  In ACS – Observe that the newly upgraded host is “Enabled” and “Up” in the
UI (Infrastructure --> Hosts)
  8.  In ACS – Testing (e.g. move an existing router/VM to the upgraded host, create new
networks/VMs on the upgraded host)
  9.  Rinse & repeat with the remaining XenServer pool members in the ACS cluster.
     *   WITH THIS EXCEPTION: No need to manipulate management of the cluster in ACS
  10. In XenCenter – if HA is required re-enable it

Now all of this completely bypasses steps that are spelled out here (which I *suspect* might
now be “old”?):


which asks one to run a lot of scripts (cleaning VLANs, preparing for upgrade etc.) in addition
to copying files from the management server to the XenServer host (to set it back up again
for ACS). I’m really hoping that step 11 saves me from that.

So (asks after all):

  1.  Is this a reasonable/viable plan?
  2.  Is my take on step 7 correct?

Thanks for taking a look,

David Merrill
Senior Systems Engineer,
Managed and Private/Hybrid Cloud Services
92 Oak Street, Portland ME 04101
office 207.772.5678<callto:207.772.5678>

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