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VMWare Upgrade Complications

Currently we have a small VMWare vCenter cluster.  Only two hosts and a virtual instance running the vCenter.  The entire environment was built on ESX 5.0.  Not update 1.  Now we're ready to make a leap to 5.1 during this week's patching cycle.  The Update Manager software was never installed and we do not have the original "VIMsetup-all" matching the build number.  Now I cannot install Update Manager as the download isn't available on VMWare's website.  All I can download is 5.0 update 1 which won't install because of the version differences.  
vCenter screenie1If I go on the vCenter webUI and hit update (in an attempt to level out the versions) it fails.
vCenter screenie2Am I stuck installing a newer instance of vCenter or what?  I guess I feel like it should let me install Update Manager 5.1 to bring everything else up to date... but it doesn't work that way.
2 Solutions
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would make a personal recommendation here based on the number of bugs flooding in with ESXi 5.1.

Hold off and wait, move to ESX 5.0 Build 768111 final version, hold off for a quarter for first bug fix!

You can Update your ESXi 5.0 hosts to ESXi 5.1 manually without update manager, but you will need vCenter Appliance 5.1 first.

If you decide to move forward with buggy 5.1


download offline bundle, upload to host server and use

esxcli software vib update -d path to offline bundle/filename to upgrade

but ensure you have already to vCenter 5.1

heres the VMware KB Article Upgrade 5.0 to 5.1
I agree with hanccocka.  We ran into an issue today with our storage vendor and 5.1...
admineoAuthor Commented:
I have decided to go with vCenter appliance 5.0 update 1b.  Still unexplainable why those updates were failing... I wound up having to do it with an ISO mount.  I will be updating the ESX hosts tomorrow.  Thanks for the tips gentlemen.  :)
good decision, we are in about the same situation, were at 5.0 and because wanted all the features of 5.1 we started the upgrade. Here were the results

1.   The upgrade destroyed the 5.0 installation and configuration.  Had to wipe out RAID 6 drive on 3 servers (1 Dell R710, 2 Supermicro's), restore all VM's. Worked for dell did not for 2 supermicros.

2.  On supermicros, there appears to be known network card issues (when google) that makes the access to esxi 5.1 impossible.  Won't ping, can't access.    Hardware on approved esxi 5.1 list!

After 3 days of total frustration, no solutions or help from Vmware (we have contract), we gave up and just went back to 5.0 that works fine.   Should have did upgrade until at least first bug release comes out.  Think vmware's support stinks and question their release of 5.1 with so many bugs in it.

We are consultants to many fortune 500 companies and they are in same boat, will not upgrade until first bug fix comes out.

stick with 5.0 or 5.0 update 1, unless want to spend countless hours figuring out all bugs out there, possibly purchasing more hardware (nics, controllers, etc), ruining your existing environment, etc, etc.

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