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VSphere 5.0 to 5.1

Posted on 2013-05-29
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Last Modified: 2013-06-19
Hello

I need some advice on upgrading our vmware environment from 5.0 to 5.1

Our current configuration is:

VCenter 5.0
ESXi 5.0
11 Hosts
80 VM's
SQL Express 2005

The questions I have are as follows:

1)  Do I need to upgrade the SQL to 2008?  If so, can I upgrade to 2008 Express?  Do I have to upgrade this separately from the VCenter update, or will it do it automatically?

2)  For the Single Sign On, does it have to be installed?  Do I need to create a separate database for this manually or will the automatic installation do this?

3)  When/If upgrading the database, will it effect any of the VM's running on the hosts?

Thanks in advance

Andrew
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Question by:Tony
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
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1. vCenter Server 5.x does not support MS SQL Server 2005 Express. So you will need to upgrade and Migrate your database from 2005 to 2008 Express.

see also
vCenter Server 5.x does not support MS SQL Server 2005 Express

Migrating the vCenter Server database from SQL Express 2005

2.  Yes, these needs to be installed with vCenter 5.1, it's a new feature, and must be installed for vCenter 5.1 to be installed, it's a pre-req!

3. No, vCenter upgrade will not affect running of existing VMs.

Derek's Blog here also give's a good guide on installation!

http://www.derekseaman.com/2012/09/vmware-vcenter-51-installation-part-1.html

(it may be easier to just install vCenter 5.1 new installation!), make sure you install first before ESXi 5.1!
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by:Tony
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Thanks for the reply

If we just do a new install of 5.1 wont we lose all the configuration settings?  Alerts etc

We were thinking the best way to do this would be to upgrade the SQL to SQL 2008 Express R2 SP1 separately first, and then do the upgrade of the vcenter.  Would it work this way?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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Yes, if you create a new installation, history and performance data, and alerts will be lost.

Yes, that's a good way to proceed.
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Thanks, sorry one more question:

If we upgrade the SQL from Express 2005 to Express 2008 R2 SP1, will the database get upgraded as well or remain a 2005 database running on SQL 2008?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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It will remain a vCenter 5.0 database running on SQL 2008, and db will be upgraded.

when you upgrade to 5.1, the vCenter db will also be upgraded to 5.1 db.
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Thanks, but I'm concerned because when I check the compat matrix on the vmware site it says the 5.0 wont work with Express 2008 R2 SP1

This means that when I upgrade the SQL I will have to upgrade the VC straight after

This is correct?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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Yes, this is correct.
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by:Tony
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OK, thanks for your help

I will report back...
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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no problems
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If we decide to make a fresh server for 5.1, what can we move from the old to the new?  Is there any method to move some of the configuration?

Also, when we attach the hosts to the new vcenter server, will they keep their configuration, such as the virtual switches?
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No, there is no method, other than in-place upgrade.

if you perform a new install, it's a new install, but to be honest, it's quicker and works, 5.0 to 5.1 upgrades are horrible, and SSO causes issues!
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But this means that all the VM's will loose network connection when the host is moved from the old to the new VC?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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VMs do not lose network connections moving to a new vCenter Server?

are you using Distributed Switches?
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by:Tony
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No, Standard Switches

The current VCenter Server is just a virtual machine itself.

The idea being would be to create a new VM, install everything from scratch (SQL, SSO, INventory, VCenter) and then move the Hosts to the new VCenter Server.

What i'm worried about is that each host has standard switches configured.  WHen I move the hosts to the new VCenter server, do they loose this configuration?  I dont know if the configuration is part of the VCenter Server, or if its directly on the host

Hope that makes sense
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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The VMs will be fine, vSwitch and network configuration is part of the host, and nothing to do with vCenter Server.

During vCenter down, if you have DRS, DRS will not function because this is controlled by vCenter.

VMware HA is controlled by Agents on the Hosts, vCenter is used to configure it!

Just make sure, before you move the hosts from VC 5.0 to VC 5.1, you Disaccociate the host with vCenter 5.0 or Click REMOVE from vCenter Server, otherwise when you add to VC 5.1, if will complain, it's still being managed by VC 5.0!
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Thanks very much, this is all very helpful!  The more we investigate the more of a pain the upgrade from 5.0 to 5.1 is looking!

If we do go down the fresh install route, with a new database, what kind of things would we loose?

I know we would loose all the Alerts we setup, but thats not such a big problem, but is there anything critical that we would need to setup before moving the hosts?
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Sorry, and also what about the datastores?  Can they be attached to two separate VCenter Servers at the same time? Would we need to attach the datastores to the new VC before migrating the hosts?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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Datastores are not attached to vCenter, they are attached to the Hosts, vCenter just "sees" them.

So yes!
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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things that would need re-setting up!

1. layout (folders in Inventory view if used)
2. Alerts
3. Customization Specifications (if used)
4. Performance Data and History.
5. Cluster settings.

If would takes us 5 mins to setup 1-3, obviously 4 is lost.

But, it takes much longer to perform and get working an In-Place Upgrade which often goes wrong in our experience!

Nothing Critical!
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