You can upgrade your externally deployed vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5 to an externally deployed Platform Services Controller instance by using the vCenter Server for Windows installer.

Figure 1. vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5 Upgrade Workflow for Windows

Flow chart showing the steps for upgrading externally deployed vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5 instances to Platform Services Controller instances.

If you are upgrading an externally deployed vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5 to an externally deployed Platform Services Controller in a mixed version environment, any vCenter Server 5.5 instances continue to operate with the upgraded Platform Services Controller exactly as they did with the vCenter Single Sign-On without any problems or required actions.

Note: A vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5 deployed on the same VM or physical server as vCenter Server 5.5 is automatically upgraded to an embedded Platform Services Controller when you upgrade to vCenter Server 6.0.


  • Your current vCenter Single Sign-On must have been installed on a separate virtual machine (VM) or physical server from your vCenter Server instance.
  • Verify your configuration meets the upgrade requirements, see vCenter Server for Windows Requirements.
  • Complete the preparation to upgrade tasks. See Before Upgrading vCenter Server
  • Verify that you have made a backup of your vCenter Server configuration and database.
  • To verify that the VMware Directory Service is in a stable state and can stop, manually restart it. The VMware Directory service must stopped for the vCenter Server upgrade software to uninstall vCenter Single Sign-On during the upgrade process.
  • Download the vCenter Server Installer. See Download the vCenter Server for Windows Installer


  1. Download the vCenter Server for Windows ISO file. Extract the ISO file locally, or mount the ISO file as a drive.
  2. In the software installer, double-click the autorun.exe file to start the installer.
  3. Select vCenter Server for Windows and click Install.
    The installer runs checks in the background to discover your existing vCenter Single Sign-On settings and notify you of any problems that can affect your upgrade process.
    The vCenter Server installer opens to the Welcome page.
  4. Verify the detected information and upgrade path.
    If you see a dialog box identifying missing requirements instead of a Welcome screen, follow the instructions in the dialog box.
  5. Review the Welcome page and accept the license agreement.
  6. Enter the credentials for the administrator@vsphere.local.
    The installer runs pre-upgrade checks in the background to detect any issues that can cause the upgrade to fail. You might receive a warning if the old certificates do not meet current VMware security standards.
  7. Follow the prompts to upgrade the vCenter Single Sign-On instance to a Platform Services Controller instance.
    You can create or join a Platform Services Controller instance.
    • If this is the first or primary vCenter Single Sign-On instance, upgrade it to a new standalone Platform Services Controller instance by configuring a new vCenter Single Sign-On domain name and site name.
    • If you have two or more vCenter Single Sign-On instances and this is the second or an additional vCenter Single Sign-On instance, join it to the vCenter Single Sign-On site of the primary Platform Services Controller to enable replication.
    Replication information is retained during the upgrade.
    The vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5 domain System-Domain is migrated to the new domain you choose.
  8. Configure the ports and click Next.
    Verify that ports 80 and 443 are free and dedicated, so that vCenter Single Sign-On can use these ports. Otherwise, use custom ports during installation.
    The installer checks the availability of the selected ports and displays an error message if a selected port cannot be used.
  9. Configure the install, data, and export directories and click Next.
    The installer runs disk space and permission checks for the selected directories and displays an error message if the selected directories do not meet the requirements.
  10. Review the VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) page and choose if you want to join the program.
    For information about the CEIP, see the Configuring Customer Experience Improvement Program section in vCenter Server and Host Management.
  11. Verify that the Summary page settings are correct. Verify that you have made a backup of your system and click Upgrade.
    A progress indicator displays as the installer starts the upgrade process. When the process is complete, the installer verifies the upgrade.
  12. Before clicking Finish, note the post upgrade steps.
  13. Click Finish to complete the upgrade.

What to do next

After configuring an external Platform Services Controller instance, you are ready to upgrade your vCenter Server to an external deployment.