Patching with vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager gotcha

Ever since it came out, I have had a love/hate relationship with vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager. I wrote about it already a few times here and here. On one hand it saves you so much time in installing and managing the products it supports. But on the other hand it has these silly little things that make me cringe. This post will be about one of those things that I am not that fond of.
One of the cool things of vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager is patching products like vRealize Automation with hot fixes, but there is a real gotcha there if you don’t have an internet connection for vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager.

So what is the problem

Last week I needed to do some product patching. I needed to install hot fix 6 for vRealize Automation 7.5 with vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager. The procedure for this is described here, but it only covers the ‘Download your patch through vRSLCM way’. If you are in a restricted environment without internet (like I was at the time) you need to go the manual route. So, I got the patch file from the KB article that describes the hot fixes for vRA 7.5. All the way down is the option to download the latest patch.

Do not use these for patching

Note that this patch is 4GB and it takes a while to download. Especially when working at a customer with tight security where you need to jump some hoops to get the patch where it is needed.

After I got the patch file where I needed it I was able to upload it to vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager.

To my surprise the file was corrupted! I received the following error:
Patch file <patch file name> upload failed. Patch file is invalid or corrupt.

I re-downloaded the patch and checked the checksum. Everything should be in order now. But when I tried to upload the patch I got the same result.

What is the problem here

I started searching for an answer but the regular channels (Documentation and Google 🙂 ) didn’t give me any clues. Luckily I work for VMware, so I was able to get in touch with the vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager team where I got my answer.

It appears that patch files that are to be distributed through vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager need a special header wrapped around it so vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager understands more about the patch file.

Also, these patch files are not to be downloaded from the KB article mentioned before. You only download that file if you are installing it through vRA itself (without vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager).

The solution to start patching

The patch files that are prepared for use with vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager are located on the VMware Product Patches page. You will need to log in with your My VMware account to reach these files.

Use these for patching

I downloaded the patch file from this location and uploaded it to vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager successfully.

Now I can finally start patching my vRA 7.5 environment using vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager. And to end with a positive vibe, this was very easy and worked like a charm.

Conclusion

In hindsight I’m thinking, yeah maybe it is logical to find a patch at the product patches site of My VMware. But on the other hand, there is not a lot there. It only covers ESXi and VC normally and that is why I didn’t think of going there. Also, there is no mention in vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager about where to go when you need to download patches manually. I guess the product assumes that everyone has internet and connects their My VMware account to it for patch and binary downloads. Anyway, this has been a steep learning curve for me and I hope that others don’t have to go through it after reading this article. I will reach out to the team internally to see if the experience can be enhanced.

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