dbaur
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upgrade vCenter from 4.1 to 5.5 best practice

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hey guys,

I have to upgrade a vCenter 4.1 running on a SQL Express 2005 (32Bit) to an vCenter 5.5 version. As the old SQL 2005 (32Bit) isn`t supported with the new 5.5 Version and I can`t use the migration Tool because they are already on vCenter version 4.1 which requried the OS to be 64 Bit I`m not sure what would be the best practice to upgrade.

I thought about setting up an new Server 2008 R2 with SQL Express 2008 R2 and restore the database on this server, but I`m not 100% sure if it would work fine this way, or if I have to take care of some special thinks while doing it.

Maybe somebody has already done this and would share the information about it.

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dbaur
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hello tpatterson,

thanks for you response. The Customer wants to keep the historical data.

I have spoken to the vmware support, they told me to create a new server with same name und IP-adreese and to restore the database on this server. After this I could install/upgrade directly to vCenter 5.5.

I have tried this on our testsystems and it worked, but I had to recreate the System DSN`s for the database manually for the installer to be able to detect the database for upgrade and I needed the old SSL Zertifikates, too.

I will give an other feedback after I have done the migration on customer site.

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tpatterson
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I will begin answering your call for help with a question of my own...  Do you care about preserving historical data (performance graphs, advanced configurations, etc.)?

If so, your upgrade path would be to update your database to a 64-bit version of SQL Server that is supported on both 4.1 and 5.5.  The backup and restore method should work for you, as the database itself is not versioned to either 32 or 64-bit, just the software that powers it.  Make sense?  Once you get your 4.1 setup working on the 64-bit database you should then be able to proceed with the standard upgrade procedure to 5.5.  You will also need to make sure to migrate other databases that are in use as well (think update manager, etc.)

If you do not care about your historical data, I would be inclined to maybe suggest you simply stand up a new instance of vCenter Server 5.5 with a new database (or perhaps even use the new version of the vCenter Server Appliance), re-model your clusters into the new setup, then move your hosts over to it one at a time.

Timothy J. Patterson VCAP5-DCA, VCAP5-DCD, VCP5-DCV, Novell CLE @PcProfessionals
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dbaur
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hello tpatterson,

thanks for you response. The Customer wants to keep the historical data.

I have spoken to the vmware support, they told me to create a new server with same name und IP-adreese and to restore the database on this server. After this I could install/upgrade directly to vCenter 5.5.

I have tried this on our testsystems and it worked, but I had to recreate the System DSN`s for the database manually for the installer to be able to detect the database for upgrade and I needed the old SSL Zertifikates, too.

I will give an other feedback after I have done the migration on customer site.

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dbaur
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Finished the migration on the customer site today.

Migration worked well, but I had to restart the Server before installing the vCenter Server component because otherwise the jdbc connection failed same for testsystem and production. After the reboot the upgrade worked fine.

Had some minor issues with AD integration (couldn`t ad the AD identity to SSO), restarting all the vCenter services got it to work.

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gparker
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Hi all,

I've just completed a similar vCenter v4.1 to v5.5 upgrade where I had to migrate a vCenter 4.1 server and its database to a new vCenter 5.5 machine. My customer wanted to retire their existing vCenter v4.1 server because it's end-of-life and doesn't have the sufficient CPU/RAM/Storage requirements that vCenter 5.5 demands, but wanted to keep all the config settings and historical performance stats that are held in the VC SQL-Express database. Here's how I did it. Please don't hesitate to make comment on my procedure:-

The following VMware KB articles were referenced for this procedure. I have customized them for this procedure. Please refer to them for full details:-

KB5850444, KB1029864, KB1029864.

1. Install a 64-bit Windows OS on a new vCenter server. Lets call this new server "vc5" and let's call the current vCenter 4.1 server "vc4". Make sure that the hostname/ip address of vc5 is properly registered in DNS - forward and reverse pointer records created and work successfully.

2. On vc4, use SQL Management Studio Express to take a backup of the vCenter database. It is desirable to shutdown the vCenter services beforehand and keep them disabled.

3. Install the SQL-2008-R2-Express software from the "redist" folder on the vCenter 5.5 DVD onto vc5. Also download and install the relevant version of SQL Management Studio Express.

4. On vc5, launch SQL Management Studio, create a "fictitious" vCenter database of the same name as the  VC 4.1 database, right-click it and restore the backup.

5. On vc5, create a 64-bit ODBC DSN using the SQL Native Client v10 driver pointing to the restored vCenter database that's still in "vCenter 4.1 format". Ensure ODBC connectivity tests are successful.

6. If the Windows OS version on vc5 and vc4 are the same, the ADAM database must also be migrated to vc5 by first backing it up as follows:-

  1. Click Start, right-click Command Prompt, then click Run as administrator to open a command prompt.
  2. Run the command: dsdbutil
  3. At the dsdbutil: prompt, run the command: activate instance VMwareVCMSDS
  4. Run this command to open the ifm prompt: ifm
  5. At the ifm: prompt, run this command for the type of installation media that you want to create: create full location

For example: create full C:\Backup\VMwareVCMSDS

You see output similar to:
ifm: create full C:\Backup\VMwareVCMSDS Creating snapshot... Snapshot set {93758b0e-0b5f-4969-a3ae-c3672b659e08} generated successfully. Snapshot {d3257ca1-cb91-4535-82c0-8aa38bc0b566} mounted as C:\$SNAP_201010251019 _VOLUMEC$\ Initiating DEFRAGMENTATION mode... Source Database: C:\$SNAP_201010251019_VOLUMEC$\Program Files\VMware\Infras tructure\VirtualCenter Server\VMwareVCMSDS\adamntds.dit Target Database: c:\Backup\VMwareVCMSDS\adamntds.dit

Defragmentation Status (% complete)0 1020 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|...................................................Snapshot {d3257ca1-cb91-4535-82c0-8aa38bc0b566} unmounted.IFM media created successfully in C:\Backup\VMwareVCMSDS

     6. Exit dsdbutil:

     7.At the ifm: prompt, type quit, then press Enter.

     8. At the dsdbutil: prompt, type quit, then press Enter.

7. On vc5, stop and restart the vCenter SQL Database service, then insert the vCenter 5.5 DVD and get it to do a fresh install. Do not select the Simple Install option. Install each component one at a time. When the vCenter Server component installation gets to the database part, you tell it to use the DSN created in step 5 and it will detect that it's a vCenter 4.1 database and prompt you to upgrade it.

8. If the Windows OS version on vc5 and vc4 are the same, the ADAM database must be restored as follows:-

  1. Stop these services in this order
    VMware VirtualCenter Management Webservices
    VMware VirtualCenter Server
    VMwareVCMSDS
  2. Backup the files in the folder that contains the instance data files to an alternate location. By default, the database and log files are located at %ProgramFiles%\VMware\Infrastructure\VirtualCenter Server\VMwareVCMSDS.
    Note: In Windows 2008/2008 R2, the default path is: C:\%ProgramData%\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\VMwareVCMSDS.

     3. Run this command to copy the ADAM backup that was created using dsdbutil.exe in step 6 to the folder that contained the original ADAM database and log files:

Note: In vSphere 5.1 and vSphere 5.5, the VMwareVCMSDS folder is located:
xcopy /os backup_location\adamntds.dit "%ProgramData%\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\VMwareVCMSDS"

Where backup_location is the folder path within which the ADAM database was backed up. For example:
xcopy /os C:\Backup\VMwareVCMSDS\adamntds.dit "c:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\VirtualCenter Server\VMwareVCMSDS"

     4. Start these services in this order:

          VMware VirtualCenter Server

          VMwareVCMSDS

          VMware VirtualCenter Management Webservices

9. Check the /etc/hosts files on the ESXi servers and remove any references to vc4 if they exist. Check that the ESXi servers can ping vc5 by name and IP.

10. Using the vSphere 5.5 client, login to vCenter on vc5 as Administrator@vsphere.local. Re-connect the ESXi hosts and monitor that the new vCenter agents and HA agents get installed successfully.

11. Goto vCenter Server Settings and select Runtime Settings. Replace the hostname of vc4 with vc5 and put vc5's IP address as the Managed Server.

12. Still in vCenter Server Settings, select Advanced Settings and carefully change all URL entries to point to the new vc5 server's name.

13. Reboot vc5. Login to vCenter using the vSphere Client and from the Home screen, select vCenter Service Status. Check that all services have big green ticks. If there are any red crosses:-

Follow the instructions in VMware KB 2006132 and NOTE in step 6, replace "cleanup.bat com.vmware.converter" with "cleanup.bat com.vmware.xxxxx", where xxxxx is the name of the service with the red cross