vCenter upgrade at Stage 2 failed with message ‘An error occurred while starting service ‘hvc’ 

Recently came across with a situation where upgrade to vCenter version 7.x was failing from version 6.7 with message ‘An error occurred while starting service ‘hvc’

This issue arises in Stage 2 which is an essentially a mid-stage of an upgrade process, and an admin can’t resume the upgrade without rolling back the source environment back to last known good state and retrying the upgrade all over again. 

While the root cause still unknown to the problem, however in my case changing the planner VM (Host from which the VC installer was invoked) to local machine from a remote resolved the issue. 

Steps to perform 

  • Host a new Windows Server 2016 / 2019 VM
  • Place the VM under the same inventory or ESXi which has the source VC appliance running (I believe that you have disabled DRS already here to avoid host changes for the VC instance)
  • Assign the same portgroup to this Windows instance same as of the VC which is likely to get upgraded.  
  • Assign a Static IP to this Windows instance in the same range as of the VC appliance running i.e – if VC is running with IP then assign 

Thumb rule is to avoid the external network / switch while perform an upgrade to minimize external switch dependency

  • Run the vCenter installer for upgrade from this Windows instance.

I tried this on two occasions after hitting the mentioned error and it worked both the times.

Hope this was helpful! 

Happy reading 🙂