Cisco have recently release a new version of their orchestration product UCS Director. The new release is version 5.3 and includes a raft of new features of which the majority are around improved reports and APIC support. Another new feature update is the support for NetApp OnTap 8.3. My primary reason for performing the upgrade is to leverage the reports and enhancements to workflow execution. It’s also been almost a year since the 5.1 installation was performed and I want to keep my systems up to date as much as possible. I’m currently running UCS Director 5.1.0 and Baremetal Agent 5.0.

Some of the new features in UCSD 5.3 are:

  • Support for C880 M4 Server
  • Support for Versa Stack and IBM Storwize
  • Enhancements to EMC RecoverPoint
  • Enhancements to VMware vSphere Support (VSAN Support)
  • Enhancements to Application Controllers (Cisco APIC)
  • Enhancements to workflow execution
  • Enhancements to the script module
  • Enhancements to UCSD REST APIs
  • Enhancements to Managing NetApp Accounts (including support for OnTap 8.3)
  • Enhancements to Cost Models and Chargeback features
  • Changes to Report APIs

You can find more about the features in the release over on the Cisco UCS Director 5.3 Release Notes site.

There are two components to the release, UCS Director itself and the Baremetal Agent upgrade. The supported upgrade paths for both components are:

Cisco UCS Director

Current Release Direct Upgrade Supported Upgrade Path
Release 4.0.x.x No 4.0 > 4.1 > 5.1 > 5.3
Release 4.1.x.x No 4.1 > 5.1 > 5.3
Release 5.0.x.x No 5.0 > 5.1 or 5.2 > 5.3
Release 5.1.x.x Yes 5.1 > 5.3
Release 5.2.x.x Yes 5.2 > 5.3

Baremetal Agent

Current Release Direct Upgrade Supported Upgrade Path
Release 4.0.x.x No 4.0 > 5.0 > 5.2 > 5.3
Release 4.1.x.x No 4.1 > 5.0 > 5.2 > 5.3
Release 5.0.x.x No 5.0 > 5.2 > 5.3
Release 5.2.x.x Yes 5.2 > 5.3

Baremetal Agent does not have a Release 5.1. If you are using Cisco UCS Director, Release 5.1, your system includes Baremetal Agent, Release 5.0. So as part of this upgrade I will need to upgrade UCS Director from 5.1 to 5.3 and the Baremetal Agent from 5.0 to 5.2 and then to 5.3. The recommended procedure is to upgrade UCS Director first and then upgrade the Baremetal Agent. As my version of the Baremetal Agent has a number of problems I will be scrapping the current configuration and installing a new BareMetal Agent server. This will involve deploying a new Baremetal Agent version 5.2 and using the patch to upgrade to version 5.3. I have covered this in a separate blog post – UCS Director – BareMetal Agent Installation Version 5.2, Upgrade to 5.3.

UCS Director Upgrade:

Useful Documents:

Upgrading Cisco UCS Director 5.3 Guide

Cisco UCS Director Administration Guide, Release 5.3

Cisco UCS Director Orchestration Guide, Release 5.3

Cisco UCS Director Network Devices Management Guide, Release 5.3

Cisco UCS Director Management Guide for Cisco UCS, Release 5.3

Cisco UCS Director NetApp Management Guide, Release 5.3

Before beginning your upgrade I’d highly recommend reviewing the Upgrade Guide listed above. There are two types of upgrade, a single-node setup and a multi-node setup. I’ll only be running through the single-node setup. The next step is to download the software and begin the upgrade process. Before you begin you’ll need to ensure that you have a FTP or HTTP servers to place the upgrade files on for accessing through UCS Director.

Download software:

Go to Cisco Download for UCS Director  and select UCS Director 5.3.

UCS Director Software DownloadFor the upgrade from 5.1 to 5.3 we can do a direct upgrade so just download the UCS Director patch.

UCS Director Software Parch Download
Accept the license agreement

UCS Director Software Download license agreement

The download will begin

UCS Director Software Download file

Copy the file to your FTP/HTTP server so you can upload the file to UCS Director.


Before beginning the upgrade it’s recommended to take a snapshot of the appliance so you can roll-back should you need to. To take the snapshot in VMware go to the VM in vCenter, right-click and select Snapshot, Take Snapshot and enter a name for the snapshot.

UCS Director Take Snapshot

Before performing the upgrade it’s also advisable to create a backup of the UCS Director database. Log into the console using the login of:

username: shelladmin

password: changeme

This will bring you to the shelladmin menu from where you can create the database backup. Enter 3 after Select> and click enter. When prompted if you want to stop the services enter y and hit enter.

UCS Director Database Backup Step 1

This will stop the UCS Director Services from running. Next choose option 2 (Display Services Status) to verify that the services are stopped.

UCS Director Database Backup Step 2

Next you can choose to perform a backup of the database by selecting option 7. Enter the IP address of the FTP server and credentials to connect and click ok

UCS Director Database Backup Step 3



Now you can begin the patch update process. Select option 19) Apply Patch. When prompted enter the details for the 5.3 patch so it can be uploaded to the appliance. The connection should be in a format similar to: ftp://username:password@hostname|IP_address/

Wait for the download and the installation to finish

UCS Director Installation Step 1

UCS Director Installation Step 2
When prompted choose Start Services to complete the upgrade process. It’s important to note that the patch installation is not complete until the UCS Director services have started, UCS Director is available, the login screen is displayed and the admin user can log in. It takes a good while for UCS Director web interface to come back online so be prepared to sit tight or go and grab a coffee.

UCS Director Installation Step 3

After the system has come back online log in using the admin account

UCS Director Installation Step 5

When the upgrade is complete select option 11) Show Version from the shelladmin console to confirm that you are now running on the correct version

UCS Director Installation Step 7

You can also click on About in the UCS Director web console

UCS Director version check

And that’s it. UCS Director is now running on version 5.3. I will be also performing an upgrade/installation of the 5.2 Baremetal Agent which I’ll document in another post.

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