Step by Step for vCenter Upgrade from 5.1 to 5.5

I am taking this Tutorial from VMware Communitiies (VMTN). This is a very common questions to ask, so I re-post it again in this blog.
Make sure below 6 tasks has been completed before starting of vCenter Upgrade.

  1. 2 hours before the upgrade disable all Schedule VM backups for vCenter or 3rd Party Tools
  2. Once backup disabled request Database Team to backup below databases 30 mins before the vCenter upgrade –
    1. vCenter Server database
    2. SRM database
  3. On vCenter, make a copy of the SSL certificates, copy them backup folder
  4. Backup Inventory Service database. Follow below procedure
  • On the source machine, open the command prompt in the vCenter Server and change the directory to vCenter_Server_installation_directoryInfrastructureInventory Servicescripts.
  • Run the following command at the prompt to back up the Inventory Service database.
  • backup.bat -file gdciventoryvcenter.bak
  • When the backup operation finishes, the message Backup completed successfully appears, copy the file to backup folder
  1. Backup the SSO configuration
    1. Click on start/programs/vmware
    2. Select Generate vCenter Single Signon Backup bundle, this creates a zip file on the desktop
    3. Select Generate vCenter single Signon log bundle
    4. Copy these files to backup folder
  2. 5 minutes prior to upgrade of vCenter

    Create a snapshot of vCenter.

    ********** UPGRADATION **********

Once the jobs or tasks written in above completed, we will start with vCenter Server Upgrade from 5.1 to 5.5
We need to upgrade the vCenter Server in below sequence.

  1. Single Sign On – SSO
  2. vSphere Web Client
  3. vSphere Inventory Service
  4. vCenter Service
  5. vCenter Update Manager
  6. VMware Site Recovery Manager


  7. Single Sign On Upgrade:


  8. Mount the ISO and kick off the SSO installer under custom upgrade.
    1. All the required install files for all products we are upgrading are located on each VC server under “d:vCenter 5.5 and related”


  1. The installer file will recognize the existing SSO on the Server, click next.


  2. Read and accept EULA, click next.


  3. Make sure the pre-requisites work.


  4. SSO Installer will detect the previous version of SSO and will import the Data from earlier version to upgraded version.


  5. Select “First existing vCenter Single Sign-On Server” and click next.


  6. Fill vCenter SSO Information. We should type new password of SSO now and will use the existing password for the SSO administrator.

    Note: Here, from 5.5 versions admin@system-domain has gone, new SSO account is “administrator@vsphere.local”

  7. Provide Site name and Click next.

    Note 1: The site name is used in environments where there are SSO servers in multiple sites. Ensure to select this name carefully because it cannot be changed in the vSphere Web Client after the installation completes.

  8. Provide installation location and then click Next.

    Known Issue:

    This should not be relevent since we are not installing on Windows Server 2012 R2

    Upgrade from vSphere 5.1 to vSphere 5.5 rolls back after importing Lookup Service data (2060511)


    The installation path of vCenter Server must be compatible with the installation requirements for Microsoft Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM/AD LDS). The installation path cannot contain non-ASCII characters, commas (,), periods (.), exclamation points (!), pound signs (#), at signs (@), or percentage signs (%).

    The path must conform to NTFS naming restrictions. For more information, see the Microsoft TechNet article Naming Files, Paths, and Namespaces.

    The installation requires 100 GB of disk space to be available. For more information, see the Hardware Requirement for vCenter Server, the vSphere Web Client, vCenter Inventory Service, and vCenter Single Sign-On section in the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.

  9. Verify the options and make sure everything is perfect. Click install, once you reviewed the options.

  10. Next task – vSphere Web Client Upgrade.


Once we have upgraded the SSO we will start vSphere Web Client Upgrade.
B. vSphere Web Client Upgrade:

  1. Start the installer for the Web Client and you will see it should detect that there is an earlier version to be upgraded

  2. Read and accept the EULA.

  3. Keep the default ports and note down the ports.

  4. Type your new administrator password on below screen and note down the SSO look up service link, then click Next.


  5. Accept the certificate and click Yes.

  6. Click Install to begin installation.

  7. Next task – vSphere Inventory Service Upgrade.

C. vSphere Inventory Service Upgrade:

  1. Go to Custom Installation and Start the installer to Up-grade the Inventory Service.

  2. Installation will find the existing Inventory Service. Click next.

  3. Read and accept the EULA, click next.

  4. Select “Keep my existing database” and click next.

  5. Enter vCenter Server name, FQDN.

  1. Select Inventory Size – Small and click next.

  2. Keep defaults ports and click next.

  1. Enter the SSO information and click next.

  2. Accept the license and click Yes.

  1. Click Install to begin Installation.

  2. Click finish to complete the Installation.

D. vCenter Server Upgrade:

SSO, vSphere Web Client and vSphere Inventory Service have been upgraded, now we can start the vCenter Server up-gradation

Note: Make sure a valid vCenter Server DB backup has been taken

  1. Launch the installer for vCenter Service on your vCenter Server.

  2. Installer should find a previous version of the VMware vCenter Server. Click Next.
  3. Read and accept EULA.
  4. Pass it and later provide vCenter License Key.
  1. Here DSN definition will found by VMware 5.5 Installation and it will use same configuration.
  2. Click OK. We’ll install VMware vSphere Update Manager after vCenter Server installation.
  1. Select “Upgrade existing vCenter Server database” and click Next.
  2. Select “Automatic” and click next.
  1. Enter service account username and password.
  2. Keep default ports and click next.
  1. Select one of the following option depending upon our VMware Environment and click next.
  2. Enter new SSO administrator username and password. Click next.
  1. Accept the Certificate.
  2. Confirm the Inventory Service URL is correct.
  1. Set the location and click next.
  2. Click Install to begin installation.
  1. Click finish to complete Installation.
  2. Implement support for MSCS SQL clustering
E. VMware vSphere Update Manager Upgrade:

  1. Start the VUM installer and it will ask if you want to upgrade hit ok.

  1. Read and accept EULA.
  1. Uncheck the box to download updates right away because they can take a while and click next.
  2. Provide vCenter Server information and click next.
  1. Enter the database credential and click next.

  2. Select “Yes, I want to upgrade my Upgrade Manager database”
  1. Verify vSphere Update Manager port setting and click next.

  2. Click Install to install the Update Manager.
  1. Ongoing installation process.

Note: Once Installation is complete, verify that all hosts have had the new vCenter agent installed and are connected to vCenter.
F. Site Recovery Manager:

  1. Log in to SRM Server and Launch SRM Installer
  2. Read and accept EULA.
  1. Select install directory.
  2. Select the appropriate option and click next.
  1. Click yes to accept the certificate.
  2. Enter your vCenter Server information and the credential SRM uses to connect. Hit yes to update the plugin.
  1. Select correct option and click next.
  2. Enter the information for Certificate.
  1. Enter the information for the extension.
  2. Enter database credential and click next.
  1. Select “Use existing database” and click next.
  2. Click on install to install the SRM.

G. Upgrade VR replication appliance

1. Power off the VR appliance

2. Edit the VM settings and add a cdrom device, then attach the VMware-vSphere_Replication- file. Note: this file has already been uploaded to the ISOs folder on the template lun in both datacenters.

3. Power on the VR appliance

4. start a web browser and navigate to https://<ip address>:5480 and login using the admin credentials

5. Click on the update tab and select use CDROM updates and click save

6. Click the status button and then click check updates, you should see the available update

7. Click Install updates and then click OK.

8. After the upgrade is complete, reboot the appliance.