Upgrading vSphere 5.1 to vSphere 5.5- Part 1 Basics

Yesterday I decided to upgrade my home lab from vSphere 5.1 version to vSphere 5.5 as part of my VCAP preparation (as VCAP 510 exam is no longer valid) and I decided to write a post on that so that it can be helpful for others as well.

The upgrade process is not much complex but you have to take certain considerations in mind before starting the upgrade process. With vSphere 5.5 VMware has done many changes and your environment should have that kind hardware/software which can support version 5.5.

We will be covering the upgrade process in following 5 steps

Taking DB and SSL Certficates Backup

Upgrading vCenter SSO

Upgrading vCenter Inventory Service

Upgrading vCenter Server

Upgrading vSphere Web Client

Before starting the upgrade lets look at the important considerations

1: Upgrade Considerations

There are 2 upgrades methods available:

Simple Install upgrade
The Simple Install upgrade will upgrade all the vCenter components (SSO + Inventory Service + vCenter Server + Web Client) on a single machine like a simple install will install all components on a single machine.

For more information on the Simple Install upgrade, see Methods of upgrading to vCenter Server 5.5 on a Windows operating system (2053130).

Custom upgrade
A custom upgrade might install different vCenter Server components on different machines or install a second vCenter Server system on the same machine. You also use Custom Install to upgrade an environment that is installed in different locations.

If you are upgrading vCenter Server from a version that includes vCenter Single Sign-On in multisite mode, and if the different vCenter Server systems use Linked mode, you must resynchronize first. You can then upgrade all vCenter Single Sign-On instances and maintain Linked Mode functionality. Linked Mode is required for a single view of all vCenter Server systems. Multisite vCenter Single Sign-On is supported only if all nodes are the same version.

2: Hardware Requirements

Refer this link to identify the hardware requirements for upgrading vSphere 5.1 to 5.5


3: Software Requirements:

vCenter Server Requirements

Ensure that your operating system supports vCenter Server. vCenter Server requires a 64-bit operating system, and the 64-bit system DSN is required for vCenter Server to connect to its database.

For a list of supported operating systems, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.

Pre-upgrade software requirements

  • vCenter Server requires the Microsoft .NET 3.5 SP1 Framework. If it is not installed on your system, the vCenter Server installer installs it.
  • vCenter Server 5.5 removes support for Windows Server 2003 as a host operating system.
  • vCenter Server 5.5 removes support for Windows Server 2008 SP1 as a host operating system. Upgrade Windows Server 2008 SP1 hosts to SP2 before upgrading vCenter Server to version 5.5.
  • If you plan to use the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Express database that is bundled with vCenter Server, Microsoft Windows Installer version 4.5 (MSI 4.5) is required on your system.

vSphere Web Client software requirements

Supported guest operating systems and browser versions for the vSphere Web Client


System Prerequisites

a) Verify that your system meets the requirements listed in Hardware requirements for vCenter Server, the vSphere Web Client, vCenter Inventory Service, and vCenter Single Sign-On.

b) Ensure that the required ports are open. For more information, Required ports for vCenter Server 5.5 (2051575).

c) If your vSphere system includes VMware solutions or plug-ins, ensure they are compatible with the vCenter Server version that you are upgrading to. For more information, see the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix .

d) Before you upgrade any vCenter Server that belongs to a Linked Mode group, remove it from the Linked Mode group. Upgrading vCenter Servers that are members of a Linked Mode group can cause the upgrade to fail, and can leave vCenter Servers in an unusable state. After you upgrade all members of a Linked Mode group to version 5.5, you can rejoin them.

e) Verify that the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the system where you will upgrade vCenter Server is resolvable.

f) Ensure that SSL certificate checking is enabled for all vSphere HA clusters. If certificate checking is not enabled when you upgrade, HA fails to configure on the hosts.

For more information, see Configure SSL Settings in the Sphere Web Client in the vCenter Server and Host Management Guide.

g) Ensure that all SSL certificates are still valid within the environment and have not yet expired. Default VMware Certificates are valid for 10 years, however, Certificate Authority (CA) signed certificates can vary.

h) You must log in as a member of the Administrators group on the host machine, with a user name that does not contain any non-ASCII characters.

i) Before the vCenter Server installation make sure following services are started on the system where vcenter server will be upgraded:

    • VMware Certificate Service
    • VMware Directory service
    • VMware Identity Manager Service
    • VMware KDC service