For upgrades to the vCenter Server Appliance, you can deploy a new version of the appliance and import the network identity of your existing vCenter Server Appliance.
VMware product versions are numbered with two digits, for example, vSphere 5.5. A release that changes either digit, for example, from 4.1 to 5.0, or from 5.1 to 5.5, involves major changes in the software, and requires an upgrade from the previous version. A release that makes a smaller change, requiring only an update, is indicated by an update number, for example, vSphere 5.1 Update 1.
For updates to the vCenter Server Appliance, for example, from version 5.1 to version 5.1 Update 1, see Update the VMware vCenter Server Appliance from a VMware.com Repository, Update the VMware vCenter Server Appliance from a Zipped Update Bundle, and Update the VMware vCenter Server Appliance from the CD-ROM Drive.
Versions 5.0 Update 1 and later, 5.1.x, and 5.5 of the vCenter Server Appliance use PostgreSQL for the embedded database instead of IBM DB2, which was used in vCenter Server Appliance 5.0. If you use the embedded database with the vCenter Server Appliance, when you upgrade from version 5.0 to version 5.5, the embedded IBM DB2 database is migrated to a PostgreSQL database. The configuration state of your existing database is preserved and the schema is upgraded to be compatible with vCenter Server Appliance 5.5.
Version 5.5 of the vCenter Server Appliance is deployed with virtual hardware version 7, which supports eight virtual CPUs per virtual machine in ESXi. Depending on the hosts that you will manage with the vCenter Server Appliance, you might want to upgrade the ESXi hosts and update the hardware version of the vCenter Server Appliance to support more virtual CPUs:
- ESXi 4.x supports up to virtual hardware version 7 with up to 8 virtual CPUs per virtual machine.
- ESXi 5.0.x supports up to virtual hardware version 8 with up to 32 virtual CPUs per virtual machine.
- ESXi 5.1.x supports up to virtual hardware version 9 with up to 64 virtual CPUs per virtual machine.
To update the virtual hardware version of a virtual machine, see the information about virtual machine compatibility levels in the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration documentation.
- Verify that the clocks of all machines on the vSphere network are synchronized. See Synchronizing Clocks on the vSphere Network.
- If your vCenter Server Appliance uses an external instance of vCenter Single Sign-On, upgrade Single Sign-On to the same version as the vCenter Server Appliance version that you are upgrading to.
- Verify that the vCenter Server SSL certificate for your existing vCenter Server Appliance is configured correctly. See VMware Knowledge Base article 2057223.
- Back up the vCenter Server database.
- Create a snapshot of the vCenter Server Appliance.
- Deploy the new version of the vCenter Server Appliance.
The new appliance has a default network configuration, and the vCenter Server service is unconfigured and disabled. You do not need to configure NFS on the new appliance. This configuration is copied automatically on upgrade.
- Make sure that the new appliance has at least the same amount of RAM and number of CPUs as the old appliance.
- If you added additional disks or increased the size of the VMDKs of the old appliance, reconfigure the new appliance to have at least the same disk space as the old appliance.
- Connect to both the old and new appliances in separate browser windows.
- In the new appliance, in the vCenter Server Setup wizard, accept the end user license agreement.
The wizard is started automatically on first login. On subsequent logins, you can start the wizard manually, by clicking the Launch button in the Utilities section of the startup page.
- In the new appliance, in the Configure Options panel, select Upgrade from previous version.
- In the new appliance, click Next.
- If you are upgrading from version 5.0.x: in the old appliance, in the Upgrade tab, select source for the appliance role, and click Set role.
- In the new appliance, copy the local appliance key.
- Import the key that you copied in the previous step into the old appliance.
- If you are upgrading from version 5.0.x: in the old appliance, go to the Upgrade tab, Establish Trust subtab. Paste the key into the Remote Appliance Key field and click Import remote key.
- If you are upgrading from version 5.1.x: in the old appliance, paste the key into the Upgrade key box, and click Import key and stop vCenter Server.
- In the old appliance, copy the local appliance key.
- In the new appliance, paste the key that you copied in the previous step into the Upgrade key box and click Next.
The setup performs a check on the SSL certificate of the old appliance. If problems are found, the Setup wizard displays a panel that explains the problem and provides an option to generate a new self-signed certificate for the new appliance.
- If you want to keep the current certificate and manually correct any resulting problems, uncheck the checkbox Replace the vCenter SSL certificate.
If you are upgrading from a version 5.1.x appliance, the existing Single Sign-On configuration will be used for the upgraded appliance. Proceed to Step 15. If you are upgrading from a version 5.0 appliance, the wizard displays the SSO Settings panel.
- If you are upgrading from a version 5.0 appliance, in the SSO settings panel, choose whether to use an external instance of Single Sign-On, or the embedded version.
If you choose an external Single Sign-On instance, a check is performed to ensure that the external Single Sign-On version is 5.5. If the version is earlier than 5.5, an error message is displayed and the upgrade will not proceed.
- In the new appliance, click Next.
- Review the list of hosts managed by the source appliance and select the hosts on which to run pre-upgrade checks.
To minimize the chance of problems with the upgrade, run the pre-upgrade checks on all hosts, or at least on the most important hosts.
- Review the pre-upgrade check of the source appliance hosts and correct any errors before proceeding.
- Confirm that you have taken a backup or snapshot of the source appliance and external database, and click Next.
The new appliance shuts down the old appliance and assumes the network identity of the old appliance. If the old appliance was configured to use dynamic addressing, the new appliance will also use dynamic addressing. When the import is complete, the new vCenter Server Appliance starts.
- When the upgrade is complete, click Close.