Before starting the upgrade we want to make sure we take a backup of our existing vCenter Server databases. In addition, having backup of the vCenter server itself is preferable in case you needed to roll back.
Virtualized environment we’ll be using consists of only a few hypervisors, which is why the vCenter server was configured to use a local instance of SQL Express. You can use the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express to create a backup of the relevant database(s). It can be downloaded here.
Once installed, start the application and connect to the SQL instance. Highlight the VIM_VCDB database and right-click on it. Select Tasks, then click on the Back Up menu option.
In the Back Up Database window, select the Backup Type as Full, click on the Disk radio button, then click on the Add button to specify the backup destination. Click on the OK button to proceed with backup.
Once completed, copy the backup file that you just created to a storage location off of the vCenter server.
The vCenter server we’re using is a virtual machine, so for we’ll take a snapshot of it in case something goes wrong and we needed to roll it back to the original state. Use your vSphere client to connect to the vCenter server or the host running the VM in question, then highlight the virtual machine.
Righ-click on it and select Snapshot from the menu that appears, then click on Take Snapshot.
Provide a name and a description for the snapshot and then click on the OK button.
Insert the VMware vCenter installer media or mount the .iso to start the installation. First we’ll need to run the vCenter Single Sign-On installation.
Note that the installer will recognize that an earlier version is already installed and will perform an upgrade.
Select the appropriate role for the vCenter SSO server. In our case it’ll be the First existing vCenter Single Sign-On server.
At the next screen, specify the SSO administrator password. Make sure you make a note of it as you’ll need it later on.
Specify the Site name. Default is Default-First-Site. Click through to start the installation.
Click on the Finish button to complete the installation.
Next we’ll install the vSphere Web Client. The process is fairly straight forward. You’ll just need to note the port numbers for accessing the Web Client. The defaults are port 9090 for HTTP and 9443 for HTTPS.
During the install you’ll be prompted to enter in the SSO administrator password you have defined in the previous step.
Run the vCenter Inventory Service installer next. When prompted, select to Keep your existing database.
Also, you’ll need to select the Inventory size.
Enter in your SSO credentials again.
Finally, start the vCenter Server installation.
Specify your license key to start the process. When prompted, select the radio button next to Upgrade existing vCenter Server database and check the box next to I have taken a backup of the existing vCenter Server database and SSL certificates to proceed.
At the next window select the vCenter Agents to be automatically upgraded on your hosts.
Next you’ll need to provide the local admin credentials for the vCenter Server Service to use.
After you select the inventory size, once again you’ll be prompted for you Single Sing-On administrator password.
Once completed click on Finish.
You’ll want to also install the VMware vSphere Update Manager plug-in for vCenter Server. During the installation you’ll be prompted to provide the IP address of your vCenter Server as well as local admin credentials.
Another database upgrade is required. Tick the box to confirm you have a backup of the databases, then click Next.
Once completed click on the Finish button.
In order to access your newly upgraded vCenter Server 5.5 you’ll need to install the 5.5 version of the vSphere client. Alternatively, you can use the Web Client. In your web browser of choice navigate to https://vcenterservername.domain.com:9443. Note that since we have reinstalled SSO we’ll need to configure permissions again. You’ll need to use the email@example.com account to log in for the first time.
Once logged in, highlight your vCenter Server on the very top of the left hand side window pane, then click on the Permissions tab on the right. Right click, and select Add Permission to grant users access to vCenter.
Close the vSphere client and log back in with the User Windows session credentials checkbox checked to verify SSO works fine.