Labcoat
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Concerns over upgrading vCenter Server from 4.1 to 5.1

I'm currently reading through the guide and how to upgrade vCenter Server in Chapter 4 of "vSphere Upgrade: vSphere 5.1."

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-51/topic/com.vmware.ICbase/PDF/vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-51-upgrade...

I'm reading other documents such as best practices, etc. and taking copious notes.

Before I get started, I just wanted to lay-out my environment and ask the community if there are any "gotchas" that I need to be aware of.

I have 2 VMware ESXi Essentials hosts in production, running approx. 50 VMs.  One of these is 4.0 and the other is 4.1 Update 1.

I am adding a 3rd host.  It will be 5.1.

I am now upgrading my vCenter Server install from 4.1 to 5.1.  I also run Veeam and recently updated it to 6.5 per Veeam's recommendation.

After running the "vCenter Host Agent Pre-Upgrade Checker," until everything is updated and passes, is there anything left to do besides run the DVD to upgrade vCenter Server?

My current vCenter Server 4.1 is installed in a 64bit Windows 2008 R2 Standard server vm and runs the SQL Server Express that came with 4.1 I believe.

Thank you,

-lc

10 Replies
weinstein5
Immortal
Immortal

It sounds like you are good to go - just run the upgrade from the DVD =

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raog
Expert
Expert

I believe VMware also recommends backing up the DB before an upgrade.

Regards

Girish

To Virtualization and beyond! PS::If you felt the answer as helpful, please mark it as helpful/answered so that it helps other users as well! Blog:: www.virtualtipsntricks.com
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admin
Immortal
Immortal

The most important part first: Do have a failback plan if the installation does not succeed.

  • Do a backup of your vCenter DB before attempting to upgrade.
  • Check the vCenter server SSL certificate, it needs to have the subject alternative name field in it.
  • Note down all your permissions you have set or use the fling "Inventory Snapshot"
  • Check compatibility with all installed plugins for 5.1
  • With approximately 50 VMs you are on the limit of a supported embedded database, seeing that you want to add another host this could eventually cause problems
  • Installation order can be crucial when you want to keep your permissions
  • Do not use any non ASCII characters for passwords, usernames, hostname etc.

After the installation of SSO I would recommend that you open an elevated shell and do the following:

# cd cC:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer\utils

# ssocli manage-identity-sources -a list -u admin

If domain users have permission on your vCenter server all the domains should be listed as an output, if they are not do not continue the installation

# ssocli manage-identity-sources -a create -u admin

This let's you add an identity source, for ease of use the Web Client can also be installed before installing the Inventory Service and upgrade vCenter Server to add the domains. If you omit this step permission loss will happen.

SSO does not understand domain trusts. vCenter 4.x would allow a user that is defined in domain B and joined to a group in domain A to connect to vCenter server when the group does have the correct permissions. Both domains need to be defined in the SSO for that scenario to still work in vCenter server 5.1.

  • Install the Inventory Service
  • Upgrade vCenter server
  • Install the Web Client
  • Upgrade the vSphere client
  • Upgrade Update Manager

All the new features are only available in the Web Client, as is the GUI for SSO configuration.

Hope this helps you to have a smooth upgrade without any issues.

Labcoat
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

> Do have a failback plan if the installation does not succeed.

My hope is/was that, if the 5.1 upgrade fails, I could simply failback to a clone of my VMware vCenter Server made prior to the attempted upgrade (it is 4.1).  Is there more than this or more to deal with?

> Do a backup of your vCenter DB before attempting to upgrade.

I plan on making a clone of the vm, I also have a Veeam backup job of the VM that run VMware vCenter Server.  Finally, I will make a backup of the SQL Server Express database itself.

> Check the vCenter server SSL certificate, it needs to have the subject alternative name field in it.

Do you mean in the vCenter Server 5.1 install?  I cannot find an "alternate name field" in 4.1 vCenter Server via the client.  Here is what my SSL setting currently look like under Administration > vCenter Server Setting > SSL Setting:

vCenter-4.x-ssl-settings.JPG

Also, I assumed the, "vCenter Host Agent Pre-Upgrade Checker" would alert about things such as this, or will it?

> Note down all your permissions you have set or use the fling "Inventory Snapshot"

Found it: http://labs.vmware.com/flings/inventorysnapshot

> Check compatibility with all installed plugins for 5.1

Again, will the "vCenter Host Agent Pre-Upgrade Checker" do this?

> With approximately 50 VMs you are on the limit of a supported embedded database, seeing that you want to add another host this could eventually cause problems

I currently have approx. 25 VMs per host on my 2 hosts atm.  Yes, more will be put on the new server.  Not all of these run all of the time.  This had not occurred to me.  I will make a note to look into it.

> Installation order can be crucial when you want to keep your permissions

I'm following diligently the Upgrade Guide.  Is that good enough?  Is there a good forum post or blog post on this procedure or is it just not _that_ big of a deal?

> Do not use any non ASCII characters for passwords, usernames, hostname etc.

Roger

> After the installation of SSO I would recommend that you open an elevated shell and do the following:

> # cd cC:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer\utils

> # ssocli manage-identity-sources -a list -u admin

> If domain users have permission on your vCenter server all the domains should be listed as an output, if they are not do not continue the installation

> # ssocli manage-identity-sources -a create -u admin

> This let's you add an identity source, for ease of use the Web Client can also be installed before installing the Inventory Service and upgrade vCenter Server to add the domains. If you omit this step permission loss will happen.

> SSO does not understand domain trusts. vCenter 4.x would allow a user that is defined in domain B and joined to a group in domain A to connect to vCenter server when the group does have the correct permissions. Both domains need to be defined in the SSO for that scenario to still work in vCenter server 5.1.

Roger to all of this above.

> Install the Inventory Service

> Upgrade vCenter server

> Install the Web Client

> Upgrade the vSphere client

> Upgrade Update Manager

I take this to be recommended install/upgrade procedure, in this order?

> All the new features are only available in the Web Client, as is the GUI for SSO configuration.

Thx much for the help!

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

>My hope is/was that, if the 5.1 upgrade fails, I could simply failback to a clone of my VMware vCenter Server made prior to the attempted upgrade (it is 4.1). Is there more than this or more to deal with?

Restore of the database is recommended as a clone is not a proper way to backup a database.

>I plan on making a clone of the vm, I also have a Veeam backup job of the VM that run VMware vCenter Server. Finally, I will make a backup of the SQL Server Express database itself.

Good Smiley Happy

>Do you mean in the vCenter Server 5.1 install? I cannot find an "alternate name field" in 4.1 vCenter Server via the client. Here is what my SSL setting currently look like under Administration > vCenter Server >Setting > SSL Setting:

I mean the certificate in c:\ProgramData\VMware\VirtualCenter Server\SSL

>Also, I assumed the, "vCenter Host Agent Pre-Upgrade Checker" would alert about things such as this, or will it?

No

> Again, will the "vCenter Host Agent Pre-Upgrade Checker" do this?

No.

> I'm following diligently the Upgrade Guide. Is that good enough? Is there a good forum post or blog post on this procedure or is it just not _that_ big of a deal?

This should be enough Smiley Happy

> take this to be recommended install/upgrade procedure, in this order?

You can install the Web Client directly after SSO but the order SSO -> Inventory Service -> vCenter Server is mandatory

 

> Thx much for the help!

You are welcome.

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logiboy123
Expert
Expert

With such a small vSphere environment why wouldn't you just build a new vCenter server and add your existing hosts to it? If anything goes wrong just add your hosts back to the 4.1 vCenter server...

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Labcoat
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

> I mean the certificate in c:\ProgramData\VMware\VirtualCenter Server\SSL

Roger.  I found it and took a screen of the SAN:

ssl-san-saga6.JPG

However, it only shows the host's name without FQDN.  I.e., it does not have hostname.domainname.com.

Do I need a full FQDN with trailing dots?

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Labcoat
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

> With such a small vSphere environment why wouldn't you just build a new vCenter server and add your existing hosts to it? If anything goes wrong just add your hosts back to the 4.1 vCenter server...

hrm.  I had not thought of this.  All approaches so far have seemed to indicate upgrading existing 4.1 vCenter Server.

This throws a wrench into my already clouded head....  What are the "gotchas"?

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

As long as this is the actual shortname of the system this should not impose any issues.

Labcoat schrieb:

> I mean the certificate in c:\ProgramData\VMware\VirtualCenter Server\SSL

Roger.  I found it and took a screen of the SAN:

However, it only shows the host's name without FQDN.  I.e., it does not have hostname.domainname.com.

Do I need a full FQDN with trailing dots?

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logiboy123
Expert
Expert

You can't use the same IP and FQDN for the vCenter server. That's about it really. If you use the vCenter appliance it should make the installation quicker as well.

Sent from my iPhone

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