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vCenter and ESXi host upgrade from 5.0 to 5.1 Update 2

We are in the process of upgrading our current vCenter and ESXi Hosts to 5.1 Update 2 from 5.0. We have the vCenter on one server and the SQL on another server. I have been searching the VMWare KB articles and from what i can see we need to:

1. Install SSO
2. Install Inventory Service
3. Upgrade vCenter
4. Upgrade ESXi Hosts

A couple areas where i am confused are:

1. Before SSO Install we need to create a database. I see THIS KB article and I am assuming under prerequisites I am doing this on my VM SQL server? Also, it's confusing whether or not i create the RSA_USER and RSA_DBA or if i let the installer do it.
2. I will have the SSO, Inventory and vCenter on one server. We have about 14 hosts and 300 VM's. Other than the requirements listed on the KB article should i be aware of anything else? All the product upgrade docs go to 5.5 so I'm not sure what is valid. I would imagine several things were changed from 5.1 to 5.5
3. When upgrading the ESXi hosts should i be aware of anything? The KB article seems pretty straight forward.

any other advice upgrading from 5.0 to 5.1 Update 2 would be greatly appreciated.
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msidnam
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msidnam
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Have you considered doing an "in-place" installation of the current environment?

It should be easy for you to backup existing vCenter Server for rollback, and backup the existing vCenter DB.

The installer, will upgrade and uplift the current DB to 5.1 format. SSO, Inventory and Web Client will be installed on the vCenter Server, and vCenter Server will be upgraded and uplifted to 5.1.

5.1/5.5 are very similar, e.g. SSO implementation.

Ensure the Hosts are on the VMware HCL, Ensure you use Maintenance Mode, and Move all VMs off Host that's being upgraded to other hosts.

Are you using Update Manager or Offline Bundle method?
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msidnamAuthor Commented:
When you say in place do you mean the simple install?

For the esxi host update i was going to do update manager. but we do have 4 hosts in another office connected via a 100mbps link.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, a Simple Installation on your existing vCenter Server e.g. in-place upgrade.

Update Manager should still work, but if you are unsure, Offline Bundle Update is still applicable.

see my EE Article, it's the same procedure, just the filenames are differrent

HOW TO: Upgrade from VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.1 to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.5 for FREE
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