vCenter Upgrade Error: `Exception Occurred in precheck phase`


This appears to be a rough order of operations with this new update process:

From there, it picks up the scope for the upgrade, and verifies against common upgrade issues:

In this case, everything looks good. I’m not really sure why it needs the SSO Administrator password, and there isn’t much on-line about this. We’re seeing three errors after we hit go time:

This is pretty odd, because it’s indicating a “resumable error” despite the fact that it cannot resume until a file lock is removed. Here are the errors I see:

  • Empty Stage Location: Unsure what this means, given the context. Odds are the upgrade script cannot find out where to stage RPMs (Red Hat Package Manager).
  • Package discrepancy error: It could be relating to the above, or it could be a failed checksum. No other logging is generated by the agent to indicate what’s wrong.
  • Can't read JSON file /storage/core/software-update/stage/stageDir.json: This one's more actionable! It looks like there's no directory by this name.

Easter Egg: statsmoitor probably should be statsmonitor

VAMI saves the installation state as a file in /etc/applmgmt/appliance/software_update_state.conf:

{ "state": "INSTALL_FAILED", "version": "", "latest_query_time": "2020-12-21T00:19:32Z", "operation_id": "/storage/core/software-update/install_operation" }

VAMI will be stuck in a loop until you remove this file as root:

rm -rf /etc/applmgmt/appliance/software_update_state.conf

This will not necessarily resolve the issue that caused the failure, however, more work still needs to be done.

Install via ISO

From there, simply click “Check CD-ROM” and it will immediately appear.

This time, we know what directories to search, so I’m going to watch the logs:

tail -f /var/log/vmware/applmgmt/update_microservice.log | grep -i err

Attempt via Command-line with ISO

Stage Packages

We’re going to try and clear the (empty) workspace and try fresh, auto-accepting EULAs:

Let’s take a look at the update:

Let’s run it!

Looks like the manual install worked for me — 7.0 U1c


rm -rf /etc/applmgmt/application/software_update_state grep -i error /var/log/vmware/applmgmt/update_microservice.log exit software-packages unstage software-packages stage software-packages list software-packages install shutdown reboot -r "patch reboot"

Originally published at



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Nick Schmidt

I am a network engineer based out of Alaska, pursuing various methods of achieving SRE/NRE