vCenter services not starting after 6.7 Update 3f upgrade

After upgrading a 3 vCenter Enhanced Link Mode environment a customer experienced the following error:

Server is at a higher functional level (1) than partner (<partner vCenter server>)(0) and cannot perform at a lower level.

When checking the domain functional level of each of the three servers, they all state that they are at level 1. The other server are starting like normal.

One server is not starting the vmdir service and it is also that service that is reporting the error. Most of the other services on a vCenter is dependant on this the vmdir.

I do not have a solution as of now. I might have a reason for the issue, and I might have a workaround. VMware is currently trying to figure out how to fix this.

Possible Reason for Error

The reason for this might be that the customer did not upgrade the PSC as the first in his environment, but it is not yet determined is this is the root cause.


In this environment it was possible to get vCenter back up and running using the following procedure:

  • Shut down the faulty vCenter Server Appliance
  • Disconnect the network card on that server
  • Power On the faulty vCenter Server Appliance
  • Wait a great while for the services to start using the service-control –status –all command to check the status
  • Reconnect the network

All seems well until next restart.

I will update this article if we find a permanent solution.

If you found this useful or maybe have a solution, please comment below.

2 thoughts on “vCenter services not starting after 6.7 Update 3f upgrade”

  1. Nope. Sorry. VMware Support said that they don’t know the cause. We decided to reinstall vCenter.

    Alternatively we could have had VMware Support do further analysis, but that could easily take months, and we were looking to segment our vCenters anyway.

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