Upgrading Vendor ESXi Over Stock

I have an HP server with stock ESX 5.1 on it, along with a 2TB VM (standalone/non-clustered).

I want to upgrade this server to ESX 5.5 U1 using HPs vendor ESXi image.  

- Can I just upgrade the HP 5.5 image on top of the 5.1 stock? or should I wipe ESX and start clean?
- Are there any risks in leaving the VM on the server? It is stored on another set of local disks (VFMS 5).  I'd prefer not to have to move 2 TB to another server and back and have 2 sets of longer downtime, but it'd be worth it if there's potential for issues with the upgrade process...
garyttuAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Sometimes, you will find, you cannot upgrade, you will find out, when you run the ESXi installer from the CDROM installation.

The installation process, WILL DETECT an existing VMFS partition, and ask you to preserve the datastore. When the install has completed, you will then just Re-Add the VMs to the Inventory after connecting to the server using the Sphere Client.

If it does not ask this question, Abort the installation.
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