VMM 2016 Cluster Upgrades and Resource Groups

In order to upgrade VMM from 2012 R2 to 2016 you need to deploy new management servers and basically use a lift and shift upgrade process. This is due to VMM 2012 R2 supporting up to Windows Server 2012 R2 while VMM 2016 ONLY supports Windows Server 2016.

If you installed VMM as a failover cluster then you also need to think about how you are going to handle the cluster as part of this upgrade. With Windows 2016 you can add new nodes to an existing Windows 2012 R2 cluster but there may be reasons to create a brand new cluster. You need to think carefully about the process that you are going to follow either way.

If you are going to configure a new cluster then you need to decide whether you will use the same VMM Cluster Service name or a new name. If you use a new name then you will need to reassociate all agents once you have completed the installation. Think about any parts of the environment which may also rely on the old VMM server name.

If on the other hand you plan to reuse the old name then there are a couple of things to watch out for. Ironically the first and most important aspect is actually the removal of the old VMM nodes. Even if you stop the old VMM cluster service it still appears that it will remove the cluster service computer name from the database when you uninstall the last node. This will result in the new VMM service crashing and being unable to restart. Looking at the VMM log located in c:\programdata\VMMLogs\SCVMM.{GUID} you will see the following error:

Base Exception Method Name=Microsoft.VirtualManager.DB.SqlRetryCommand.ValidateReturnValue

Exception Message=Computer cluster-service-name is not associated with this VMM management server.

Check the computer name, and then try the operation again.

If you face this issue the quickest way to fix this is to just uninstall the VMM service, delete the VMM cluster role and reinstall it using the same database and user settings. There may be a way to fix it in the back end database but it’s most likely not worth the effort at this point.

In order to avoid this you will need to uninstall VMM on the old cluster nodes first before doing the upgrade. Just make sure that you always select to retain the database. You should have a backup of the database already though right?

The other issue you will need to deal with is cluster permissions. Remember that the VMM cluster service is a virtual server along with the cluster service. The cluster service needs to have access to do things with the VMM cluster service.

When you run the first node installation it may fail after quite some time with the following error:

“Creation of the VMM resource group VMM failed.Ensure that the group name is valid, and cluster resource or group with the same name does not exist, and the group name is not used in the network.”

This is due to the cluster computer account not having access to modify the AD account of the VMM cluster service virtual server. Grant the new cluster computer account full control of the existing cluster service computer account and re-run setup.

While you’re at it make sure that you also grant access to the DNS entries in case these also need to change.