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When an environment needs to be upgraded several server (appliance) versions and it is not possible to address the agents outside of the SMA, it will be necessary to carefully consider the exact upgrade path to keep the agents updated enough to communicate with the new server (appliance) version for agent upgrades.
Each version of the KACE Systems Management Appliance has a minimum required agent version.
The minimum agent versions are listed in the release notes for each version. This article was created so this information could be reviewed in one location.
Note: NEVER reboot or shut down the SMA during an upgrade. A reboot can cause catastrophic failure and complete loss of all data stored on the SMA. Contact KACE technical support if the SMA appears to be stuck.
Note: Always complete a full backup and offboard from the SMA to a network location prior to any major changes (including an upgrade). Instructions to setup Offboard Backups are here.
Note: When we refer to support for an agent, there are multiple different levels of support. Full agent support refers to all expected agent functionality within an appliance of matching version (i.e. appliance (server) version 11.0.275 and matching agent version 11.0.119). Limited agent support refers to having at least limited functionality and is typically no more than n-2 from the appliance (server) version. Supported agents for upgrade (minimum agent version in release notes) refers to the minimum version of the agent which is compatible in a specific appliance (server) version for agent upgrade functionality only (i.e. minimum agent version of 9.0 when upgrading to 11.0 appliance (server)).
That is, if you are using 11.0.270 appliance (server), the only fully supported agent is 11.0, however, the minimum agent version for upgrade support is 9.0. This means a 9.0 agent should be able to use the automatic upgrade feature to upgrade to the fully supported version of 11.0.119.
Note: For specific instructions on upgrading, please see the release notes for the corresponding version.
Note: To access downloads, please visit the SMA Downloads page and choose the appropriate version from the drop-down list.
Note: Agents with lower versions than the minimum may upgrade and/or function properly, but please note that the minimum versions and above are tested and supported for upgrade purposes. KACE strongly recommends matching the agent version with the server's release version (e.g. 9.1.317 server / 9.1.204 agent). Agents older than the release matching the server's major and minor versions may not operate to full functionality (example: we've added a feature in the newer server version that requires newer agent code to function properly).
Alternative Approach: Agent versions can be ignored when the server is more than 2 major releases out of date, but all agents will likely require re-provisioning. If a server is several versions behind (e.g. 6.x upgrading to 7.x), it may be faster to follow the server upgrade path while ignoring agents until the server is up to date. Once the server is up to date, auto agent upgrade may fail. If it does, simply re-provision agents using built-in provisioning with WinRM or GPO, using the provided GPO Tool available in the download portal.