vCenter 5.1 Upgrade

I have been meaning to perform a vCenter 5.1 upgrade for some time now.  The good news is, I have a few space minutes to get the vmFocus lab upgraded.

First of all, you need to decide on how you are going to upgrade, are you going to perform:

In Place Upgrade this is where you install straight over the existing vCenter, this is supported for 64 bit systems on vCenter 4.0 and 5.0

New Install   this is where you install a new vCenter 5.1 server and then add you hosts to it.

I’m going to go for a new install, as my existing vCenter 5.0 server has taken some battering, with SRM being added on and taken off numerous times.

vCenter 5.1 has much higher resource requirements, so it might be worth a quick flirt past the Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1 Best Practices KB to make sure your environment is up to scratch.

One thing that is worth mentioned is your DNS entries, I suggest you make sure these are spot on.  In my environment I have a Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Integrated Forward Lookup and Reverse Lookup Zone for vmfocus.local

I have DNS records for the following entries, both forward and reverse:

  • ESXi01
  • ESXi02
  • ESXi03
  • VMF-APP01

You probably guessed that ESXi01, ESXi02 and ESXi03 are all vSphere Hosts and VMF-APP01 is a Windows 2008 R2 Standard Server.  Before this upgrade all of the vSphere Hosts are attached to another vCenter called VMF-ADMIN01.

What I really like about vCenter is you can install another instance and then just attach the hosts to the new vCenter.  You do loose historical performance data, but if you have a baseline already, that’s not such a big issue.

OK then let’s crack on.

TOP TIP: Don’t forget to install Adobe Flash Player


Fire up the installation media, if you haven’t downloaded it already, it can be obtained from here

Select VMware vCenter Simple Install and then Click Install

The installation will install vCenter Single Sign On first, so click Next to this

I’m not going to insult your intelligence, Hit Next again, and Accept the terms of the license

This is where things start to get interesting, we need to give a password to the account admin@System-Domain which is used to administer the Single Sign On service.

In this instance, I’m going to opt for a Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Express installation

Cool, something new! The vCenter 5.1 installation is going to create two users RSA_DBA and RSA_USER in the SQL database, pop a password in that complies with your policies.

This part is proper important, make sure that you verify your FQDN of your vCenter Server and give it a ping for good measure.

For Security reasons, I always specify an account for vCenter services to run under, you don’t have to do this, but if you want to tick the ‘best practices’ box it’s best too.

We can now change the default install path, I recommend you don’t change this, unless you have a compelling reason to do so.

We can also change the port used for the Single Sign, I’m happy with the defaults on mine.

Not sure why, but it does seem like an age since we began the installation.  Finally, we can click Install.

Probably a good idea to make yourself a tea or coffee as this is going to take a while.

Once Single Sign On has installed, you will see the Inventory Service, install and then finally vCenter itself.

We need to perform a little bit of interaction with the vCenter install, the first question is a License Key, if you don’t have one, click Next and you can use the free trial version.

We now get the choice of using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express or another database.  I’m going to roll with SQL Server 2008 Express (partly because I’m cheap)

Again, we have another question on the System Account, I’m going to use my VMware.Service account for this

Ports, we can change the default ports used by all of vCenter’s services.  I’m going to leave mine at default.

Time to select your deployment size, unless you have a super lab, then I’m sure you and I will be OK with Small

Then finally, click on Install.  Don’t be alarmed if after you click Install, the installer package disappears for a few seconds, this is quite normal (yes it did freak me out).

Boom, job done!

Web Client

Probably be a good idea to install the web client as well, so from our vCenter Installer, select VMware vSphere Client and hit Install

Choose your language, (still no United Kingdom version for English)

Don’t be alarmed everything will disappear for a while.  Once the install is back click on Next

Hit Next, and then agree to the terms of the license and Hit Next again.

You can change the default install folder if you like, however as always I recommend leaving it as default unless you have a valid reason not too.

We can not change the vSphere Web Client Ports, I’m going to leave mine at the default HTTP 9090 and HTTPS 9443

This is where thing start to get interesting, we need to specify the vCenter Single Sign On administrator password which we entered during the Single Sign On installation.

Hopefully, you should now be at the Install screen, hit Install

Happy days, we are all done, well nearly!

Cool, we can now launch either the vSphere Web Client from Start > Program Files or we can browse to https:\vcentername:9443

At the login screen, we want to ‘Download the Client Integration Plug-in’

Run the file VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-5.1.0.exe

At this point, you will need to close your web browser otherwise you can’t install the plug in!

Cool, click on Next and let the magic happen

All installed click on Finish

Let’s give it a whirl, browse to https://localhost:9443 and place a tick in ‘Use Windows Session Authentication’

You should get an Client Integration Access Control which is confirming you are allowed access, click Allow

Voila we are in! Now time to familiarise myself with the new GUI

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