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HOW TO: Upgrade from vCenter Server 5.5 to 6.0

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
MVE^2, Expert of the Year 2017-2011, Scribe 2016-2012, Author of the Year 2017-6,2013-2012 VMware vExpert 2018-2011 27 years of experience.
In this tutorial article, I will show you how to upgrade VMware vSphere vCenter Server 5.5 for Windows to VMware vSphere vCenter Server 6.0.
 
VMware vSphere vCenter Server is a management server and does not affect the running of virtual machines on the host. It can be safely upgraded on an ESXi host server without affecting running production virtual machines. During this time, vMotion and DRS activities will be halted and Administrators will not be able to access vCenter Server whilst it is upgraded.
 
Before you begin:
Please ensure you have a full backup of the vCenter Server 5.5 server and database before you commence the upgrade.
 
Let's get started
Follow the steps below to upgrade VMware vSphere vCenter Server 5.5 for Windows to VMware vSphere vCenter Server 6.0:
 
1. Upgrading VMware vSphere vCenter Server 5.5 for Windows
  • Download the VMware-VIMSetup-all-x.y.z-abcdefg.iso (DVD image) from VMware. The filename used in this tutorial is called VMware-VIMSetup-all-6.0.0-2656757.iso.
  • Burn or mount the VMware-VIMSetup-all-6.0.0-2656757.iso (DVD image) on your administration workstation.
  • After inserting the DVDROM or mounting the ISO image in the server, autorun will start. 
  • Give yourself at least 2 hours to complete the upgrade.
 
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  • Click Install.

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  • The Installer will automatically detect the existing vCenter Server 5.5 installation.
  • Click Next to upgrade to VMware vCenter Server 6.0.0 build 2656758.

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  • Select "I accept the terms of the license agreement" and click Next to continue.

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  • vCenter Server 6.0 requires a minimum of 8GB of memory. You will need to add additional memory to your physical server. With a little magic from VMware vSphere, you can add a memory Hot Plug!
  • Here's how:

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  • Current memory is 4GB.

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  • You can upgrade the memory in realtime with no downtime via Hot Plug!

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  • Enter the password for the Administrator@vsphere.local account. Click Next to continue.

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  • Pre-upgrade checks are run, which can take several minutes to complete.

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  • Microsoft SQL Express databases are migrated to VMware vPostgres by default unless you want to continue using Microsoft SQL Express (not recommended due to the limitations on the database size).
  • Click OK.

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  • Accept the default Ports.
  • Click Next to continue.
 
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  • Accept the default destination directories.
  • Click Next to continue.

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  • Review and confirm the upgrade settings. To proceed, you will need to tick the box "I verify that I have backed up this vCenter Server machine and the embedded Microsoft SQL Server Express database". Beware that upgrades can and do fail!
  • Click Upgrade to continue.

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  • The upgrade will begin.

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  • vCenter Server 5.5 services are stopped.

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  • VMware vCenter Server is removed.

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  • VMware vCenter Inventory Service is removed.

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  • VMware vSphere Web Client  is removed.

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  • vCenter Single Sign-On is removed.

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  • New components are installed.

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  • Services are started.

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  • Services are started.

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  • vCenter Server upgrade is now complete.

2. Testing the VMware vCenter Server 5.5 to 6.0 Upgrade.
  • Using the vSphere Client or a Web Browser, you can check and connect to your vCenter Server (use the Administrator@vsphere.local account and password to login first time). The address for your web browser is https://<IP Address>/vsphere-client/. Note that 9443 has gone!

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Congratulations you have successfully upgraded VMware vSphere vCenter Server 5.5 to 6.0.
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