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Virtual Center Upgrade – 2.0.2 to 2.5 Update 3

December 14th, 2008

Well this weekend I had the job of updating our Virtual Center deployment from 2.0.2 to 2.5 update 3. The primary reason for this was to prepare for the introduction of ESX 3.5 hosts into the Virtual infrastructure.

Due to the importance of our Virtual infrastructure I decided to do as much reading and preperation as possible to ensure it all went smoothly. It’s easier to convince our change management team to let us make changes if we get them right first time,  so this one was important to facilitate an easier path for future change.

So what did I read to ensure I’d covered everything,  here are a few links to get you started

Mike Laverick’s Upgrade Experience PDF
http://www.rtfm-ed.co.uk/?p=482

vCenter Server 2.5 Update 3 – Release Notes
http://www.vmware.com/support/vi3/doc/vi3_vc25u3_rel_notes.html

ESX 3.5 and vCenter Server 2.5 Upgrade Guide
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_35/esx_3/r35u2/vi3_35_25_u2_upgrade_guide.pdf

The above PDF is a brilliant guide to the process you should follow, including rollback.  You should read this thoroughly so you understand all the pre-requisites and can avoid those silly problems that could cause your upgrade to fail.

Of course vCenter Server 2.5 introduces Update Manager. Although we can’t use it as we have ESX 3.0.1 and 3.0.2 hosts ( supports 3.0.3, 3.5 and 3.5i only ) I decided to install it anyway so it’s there for the future.

Here are some of the links I used to plan out my update manager deployment.

Update Manager Administration Guide
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_vum_10_admin_guide.pdf

Update Manager Performance and Best Practice Guide
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vum_1.0_performance.pdf

Update Manager Size Estimator
http://www.vmware.com/support/vi3/doc/vi3_vum_10_sizing_estimator.xls

One of the main mistakes that people tend to make is to not give the SQL accounts the correct permissions on the new update manager database and the MSDB database.  Make sure you cover this one or you upgrade will fail.

It all went quite smoothly, I initially had a couple of issues which appeared to be related to me attempting to do a custom install. I wanted to ensure I could go through all settings and customise as required, the install however failed with various MSI error messages. I started the install again and didn’t choose the custom setup this time. This however created an issue whereby the Update Manager database appeared to install as SQL Server 2005 Express.  I wanted to put it on the same SQL 2000 server as our Virtual Center database but I never got the option as far as I can remember.  I have today uninstalled Update Manager and re-installed it using the “use an existing database” option and the SQL 2000 database.  It worked fine the second time around.

No immediate problems following the upgrade,  I had read some horror stories about issues with the Virtual Centre Agent on the host not updating.  Luckily for me it wasn’t an issue. Good luck with your upgrade

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