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vSphere 5.0 upgrade pre-installation requirements and considerations


This article provides a quick reference of items to be considered before upgrading to vSphere 5.0, and what steps will be necessary to perform a successful migration.
Note: Many installation decisions require knowledge and understanding beyond the scope of this article. Consult the vSphere 5.0documentation for more detailed information. The documentation contains definitive information. If there is a discrepancy between the documentation and this article, assume that the documentation is correct.


vCenter Server 5.0

If you have vCenter Server currently running on a 32-bit operating system (such as Windows 2000 Server or Windows 2003 Standard Edition) you cannot upgrade to the latest version of vCenter until you:
  • Ensure that your hardware is capable of supporting a 64-bit operating system. Contact your hardware manufacturer if you are unsure if it is equipped with a 64-bit capable processor.
  • Ensure that the underlying operating system that is contained on the existing vCenter Server is 64-bit capable.
If the operating system currently installed is 32-bit and your hardware is 64-bit capable, install a 64-bit operating system (such as Windows 2008), or migrate to another server that already has a 64-bit operating system.
Any database drivers (such as the SQL Native Client) need to be installed with their 64-bit counterpart. That is, the driver must be a 64-bit driver. You can install 32-bit drivers on 64-bit Windows, but these are not compatible for vCenter Server 5.0.

Note: VMware Update Manager 5.0 still requires a 32-bit driver for your DSN connection, as VMware Update Manager 5.0 is still a 32-bit application. However, it must be run on a 64-bit operating system.

These operating systems are supported for vCenter Server 5.0:
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard, Enterprise or Datacenter SP2 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard, Enterprise or Datacenter R2 SP2 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise or Datacenter SP2 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise or Datacenter R2 64-bit

Note: For more information, see the vSphere Compatibility Matrix.

vCenter Server Data Migration Tool

The vCenter Server Data Migration Tool to help you migrate much of your vCenter Server 5.0 configuration automatically. The Data Migration Tool is located on vCenter Server 5.0 Installation Media, under the folder datamigration. For instructions on how to use the Data Migration Tool, see the vSphere 5.0 Upgrade Guide.

There are several scenarios where this utility can assist in the migration process. However, each scenario is slightly different according to your configuration and environment. Read this article carefully and consult the product documentation for further information on performing these tasks.

You can use the vCenter Data Migration Tool to automatically migrate these to a new server:

  • vCenter Server Software and its configuration
  • vCenter Update Manager Software and its configuration
  • VMware Orchestrator Software and its configuration
  • The default SQL Express database that comes installed with vCenter Server.

For more information on migrating your database using the Data Migration Tool, see Migrating to vCenter Server 5.0 using the Data Migration Tool (2005328).

The vCenter Data Migration Tool does not automatically:

  • Migrate databases other than SQL Express(such as Microsoft SQL 2005 Standard Edition and Oracle 11g) that are contained on the vCenter Server or that are on a remote database server.
  • Create new DSNs that point to the location of your vCenter Server and Update Manager databases (remote or local) on the new 64-bit vCenter Server. You must do this manually.

    Note: You must use a 64-bit DSN for vCenter Server and a 32-bit DSN for VMware Update Manager.

  • Update the configuration files if you are changing the IP address or the host name information of your vCenter Server. You must change the configuration files manually.

    NoteVMware recommends keeping IP address and host name information the same to make migration easier.

  • Migrate software other than vCenter Server, Update Manager, or VMware Orchestrator. For example, Site Recovery Manager will not migrate.
  • Move the VMware Orchestrator database. You must do this manually.
  • If the vCenter Server is being used as part of a VMware View environment, the name of the vCenter should not be changed or modified.

Backing up and moving the vCenter Server database

Before you upgrade vCenter Server, back up the vCenter Server database. If you are migrating vCenter Server to a new machine, you have several options for moving the database.

This table outlines the options:
Microsoft SQL Server Express database
If the database was installed by the vCenter Server installer, back up the database, and move the database along with other configuration data using the data migration tool. A separate database migration step is not necessary.

If the SQL Server Express database was not installed by the vCenter Server installer, back up the database and restore it onto the machine on which you are installing vCenter Server.
Microsoft SQL Server database
Perform one of these options:
  • Back up the database, detach the database, and attach it to the machine to which you are installing vCenter Server.
  • Back up the database, and restore it onto the machine on which you are installing vCenter Server.
Note: When you decide between the backup/restore option or the detach/attach option, consider the downtime required. For guidance on these options, consult your organization's database administrator.
Other local databases
Back up the database, and restore it onto the machine on which you are installing vCenter Server.
Migrating the license server when it is installed on the same machine as vCenter Server

If the license server was installed with vCenter Server on the source machine, the data migration tool cannot migrate the license server to the destination machine. You must migrate the license configuration manually.

To migrate the license configuration:

  1. Install the license server on the destination machine.
  2. Copy the license files from the license folder on the source machine to the license folder on the destination machine. By default, the license folder is C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware License Server\Licenses\.
  3. Reload the licenses.
    1. Click Start > Programs > VMware > VMware License Server > VMware License Server Tools.
    2. Click the Start/Stop/Reread tab.
    3. Select the VMware License Server.
    4. Click ReRead License File.

  4. Update vCenter Server licensing settings with the license server machine name.
    1. Connect to the vCenter Server using the vSphere Client.
    2. Select Administration > vCenter Server Settings.
    3. Select Licensing.
    4. In the License Server text box, enter the port number and license server machine name as port@host (for example, 27000@licenseservername.companyname.com)
    5. Click OK.
The license server and license configuration are migrated to the destination machine.

ESXi 5.0

When upgrading or migrating hosts, follow these best practices:
  • Make sure that sufficient disk space is available on the host for the upgrade or migration. Migrating from ESX 4.x to ESXi 5.0 requires 50MB of free space on your VMFS datastore. Run the vSphere Pre-Upgrade Checker (available on the vCenter Server installation CD) to ensure you meet these requirements.
  • Because of the architectural changes in ESXi 5.0, not all settings can be migrated. For example, any third party tools or custom modifications may not be preserved. Note these changes before performing the upgrade.
  • If the host has been previously upgraded from ESX 3.x to ESX 4.x, it is not possible to upgrade to ESXi 5.0 using VMware Update Manager due to drive space limitations. You can use a scripted or interactive installation to migrate the host. If you are not certain the host has been previously upgrade from ESX 3.x, run the vSphere Pre-Upgrade Checker to see if your host is capable of being upgraded.

In addition, consider these points:

  • The ESXi 5.0 installer cannot detect ESX 2.x instances or VMFS2 datastores. These are no longer supported.
  • ESXi 5.0 no longer requires a Service Console. The Service Console VMDK can be safely removed after an upgrade. For more information, see Removing the Service Console VMDK from an ESXi 5.0 host after performing an upgrade (2004815).
To ensure that each upgrade or migration is successful:
  1. Ensure that any VMware solutions or plug-ins are compatible with ESXi 5.0. For more information, see the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix.
  2. Read all the topics in Reapplying Licenses After Upgrading to ESXi 5.0 to understand:
    • The changes in configuration and partitioning between ESX/ESXi 4.x and ESXi 5.0
    • The upgrade and migration scenarios that are supported
    • The options and tools available to perform the upgrade or migration.

  3. Back up your host configuration before performing an upgrade or migration. If the upgrade fails, you can reinstall ESX/ESXi 4.x and restore your host configuration. For more information, see Back Up the ESX Host Configuration andBack Up the ESXi Host Configuration in the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.

    Note: You cannot rollback to an earlier version when an upgrade or migration is complete. For known installation issues, see the VMware vSphere 5.0 Release Notes.

  4. Make sure your current ESX/ESXi version is supported for migration or upgrade. See Supported Upgrades to ESXi 5.0 in the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.
  5. Make sure your system hardware complies with ESXi 5.0 requirements. For more information, see System Requirementsin the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.
    and the VMware Compatibility Guide.
  6. Check for system compatibility, I/O compatibility (network and HBA cards), storage compatibility, and backup software compatibility. Server hardware for ESXi 5.0 must be 64-bit compatible, and Intel VT must be enabled in the host BIOS.
  7. If a SAN is connected to the host, detach the fibre before continuing with the upgrade or migration. Do not disable HBA cards in the BIOS.

    Note: This step does not apply to ESX hosts that boot from the SAN and have the Service Console on the SAN LUNs. You can disconnect LUNs that contain the VMFS datastore and do not contain the Service Console.

  8. Depending on the upgrade or migration method you choose, you may need to migrate or power off all virtual machines on the host. See the instructions for your upgrade or migration method.
  9. After the upgrade or migration, test the system to ensure that the upgrade or migration was completed successfully.

If the upgrade or migration is unsuccessful, and you backed up your version 4.x host configuration, you can reinstall the 4.x ESX or ESXi software you upgraded or migrated from, and restore your host configuration. See Restore the ESX Host Configuration orRestore the ESXi 4.x Host Configuration in the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.

Based on VMware KB 2004265

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