Upgrade vCenter Server 5.5 to vCenter 6.5 – vCenter for Windows

Upgrade vCenter Server 5.5 to vCenter 6.5 – vCenter for Windows

After releasing the vSphere 6.5 I was planning to migrate the old VMware vSphere 5.5 environment to vSphere 6.5 environment. There are lots of reading and searching involved and you can find all the information form VMware Documentation site.

There are few things to check before the upgrade existing environment and recommend to read the Moving from a Deprecated to a Supported vCenter Server Deployment Topology Before Upgrade or Migration. Also verify your existing hardware support to the upgrade in the VMware Compatibility Guide.

Verify the Hardware requirements according the environment that you are going to manage. Refer the VMware Documentation

I can show you my current setup and the new setup in the below diagram

Upgrading the Single Sign-on server

First, I’m going to migrate my external Single Sign on server to a external Platform Service controller.

As the best practice take a backup of your Single Sign On server before we start the upgrade process, you have to accept this as an option during the upgrade.

Mount the downloaded vCenter 6.5 iso to the Single Sign on server and run the installation. Select the “vCenter Server for Windows” and Click “Install” to begin the Platform Service Controller Installation. If you are noticing the components, there are only few components available as an external components, only Update Manager and Download Service is available as an external components in this version.

Click “Next” to continue the process

Accept the EULA and click “Next” to continue

Enter your Single Sign-on password for the Authentication

It will perform the pre-upgrade checks before start the upgrade process

The pre-upgrade checker performs checks for the following aspects of the environment:

  • Windows version
  • Minimum processor requirements
  • Minimum memory requirements
  • Minimum disk space requirements
  • Permissions on the selected install and data directory
  • Internal and external port availability
  • External database version
  • External database connectivity
  • Administrator privileges on the Windows machine
  • Any credentials that you enter

Change the required ports upon your requirements, I’m leaving the default ports and click “Next” to move forward

Select the the Installation,Store data and export data directories in the next step, click “Next” to continue

If you need you can join the “Customer Experience Improvement Program” here, I’m leaving the option unchecked.

Verify that You have backed up the Single Sign-on Server before the upgrade. That’s the option that I mentioned earlier. Click on “Upgrade” to start the upgrade process

This will complete the upgrade of your Single Sign-on to a Platform Service Controller. Click “Finish” once it completes the upgrade process

Upgrading the vCenter Server

Mount the vCenter 6.5 iso to the vCenter server and run the installer , select “vCenter Server for Windows” and click on “Install”

Click “Next” to continue

Accept the EULA

Type your Single Sign-on password, click “Next” to continue. It will run a pre-upgrade check again

Type the Single Sign-on password and verify the HTTPS port for the SSO service

Accept the SSO Certificate Validation

Syslog, Core Dump and Auto deploy ports can be seen in the next step. I leave them as defaults

You can see the directories for the Installation, Store the data and the Export the existing data

Accept the vCenter and DB backup requirement to start the upgrade, Click “Upgrade” to start the upgrading process.

Make sure take a backup of the vCenter and the DB for the safe side rather than checking the check box.

It will start the vCenter upgrade and you can access the vCenter in the web console. vCenter 6.5 does not support for the C# fat client.

Verify the upgraded vCenter server. Now your vCenter is upgraded to the vCenter Server 6.5

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8 responses

  1. Charitha Buddhika Avatar

    5.5 vcenter old components wcs, inventory services need to be uninstalled finally.

  2. Aruna Lakmal Avatar

    Decommissioning tasks can be carried out later as you wish anytime. Those components no longer required. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Bharat Patel Avatar

    We have three ESXi 5.5 hosts and one Vcentre Server. Do we need to upgrade them one by one? Are we required to first free up one host and upgrade that to 6.5 and then move servers to the upgrade one. and free up the second host. Similar actions for the third host.
    What happens when one host is being upgraded? Can we continue working on the remaining two hosts for day to day work? Appreciate if you can advise.

    1. Aruna Lakmal Avatar

      I’d say it’s a really good question. Yes, you can do these two servers in two different days. If you have a single vCenter server you don’t have these two steps you can upgrade your vCenter in one go and move in to the ESXi hosts.

      When you are upgrading you have to upgrade the vCenter first and start the ESXi hosts. You can still work with mix ESXi environment (ESXi 5.5 and 6.5 during the upgrade) but make sure to upgrade the Hosts in to 6.5 as soon as possible, just to maintain an identical cluster as it is the best practice.

      Note: If you have old ESXi 4.x or older ESXi versions attached to your vCenter, your 6.5 upgrade will fail. Make sure to remove any 4.1 ESXi hosts or attached 4.x host profiles prior to the upgrade (any older versions below 4.x).

      If you need more information please let me know.

  4. rishi Avatar

    Hi Aruna,
    We have vcenter 5.5 environment ESXi 5.5. We are looking to upgrade to 6.5 however upgrading vcenter to 6.5 is impacting our citrix VDI which has a dependencies on vcenter and VDI stop working due to limited support for citrix .
    decommissioning citrix Vms on ESXi is on the radar but not any time soon.
    Any suggestion on the below options. is option 1 possible to deploy.

    Existing Setup
    Vcenter 5.5
    Prod cluster with 5 Esxi Nodes(all 5.5U2a) hosting all windows VM servers
    VDI Cluster with 4 ESXi Nodes hosting VDIs.

    option 1:-
    Install new 6.5 vcenter appliance in the existing setup with embedded setup by selecting one of the ESXi host from Prod cluster above. I.e during installation vcenter server appliance at install stage 1 Step 4: for details “Enter ESXi host or vCenter Server name”.

    once the vcenter is up, remove the ESXi host from the prod cluster from vcenter 5.5 above and connect to new vcenter 6.5.
    In this way we will have 2 vcenter for time being i.e vcenter 5.5 still holding VDI cluster and vcenter 6.5 with Prod cluster.

    Yes we do have a spare license for this.


    1. Aruna Lakmal Avatar

      In this it seems that we need to plan the upgrade. First you have to verify whether your ESXi hardware is compatible with the vSphere 6.5 or 6.0 Ux.
      Use these URLs to verify:
      Cisco UCS: https://ucshcltool.cloudapps.cisco.com/public/
      Dell: https://www.dell.com/support/manuals/in/en/indhs1/vmware-esxi-6.5.x/esxi6.5.x_vsphere_pub/dell-poweredge-serverscompatibility-matrix?guid=guid-20bd704f-0901-45cf-a857-3e59b4796843&lang=en-us

      Check with the vendor compatibility

      also verify with the VMware HCL before you upgrade. I hope this is already done and make sure to use the correct drivers (enic/fnic, etc)

      It seems like we are not able to upgrade your VDI cluster, if you are planning to leave the vSphere 5.5 please note that end of general support would be on 19th of September 2018. Can we upgrade the Citrix environment before the VMware infrastructure? If so then we can go ahead with the normal upgrade.

      Otherwise, you have to deploy a new vCenter server appliance 6.5 and manually disassociate and add the Prod cluster Hosts to the new vCenter server. But it has some piece of work here and you can leave your old vCenter and run the VDI environment with vSphere 5.5.

      Follow this article for New vCenter server deployment: https://www.techcrumble.net/2018/04/introducing-vsphere-6-7-whats-new-in-vcenter-server-6-7/

      The mentioned steps are correct as per your comment “install stage 1 Step 4: for details “Enter ESXi host or vCenter Server name”. If it is a new deployment think about your permission levels and relevant other configurations before the upgrade.

      Please let me know if you need further clarifications or discuss anything prior to the upgrade. You might need to add the permissions manually.

      Thank You

  5. Karan Avatar

    I was reading few articles alongside yours as well. Its really confusing as most of the articles suggesting t upgrade from vCenter server for windows(5.5) to vCSA(photon os ova).
    1.) Is it possible to upgrade to vCenter server for windows 6.5?
    2.) Benefits of upgrading to vCSA(non-windows based OR photon OS based)?
    3.) Currently we dont have PSC. How setting up PSC is different in above two cases?
    4.) we have 2 hosts for vCenter and 3 ESXI hosts. Sequence for upgrading them?

    1. Aruna Lakmal Avatar

      Ok, It’s like this:
      1.) There won’t be a Windows based vCenter server with next numbered version. If you are planing to upgrade to the next numbered version it doesn’t leave any option that’s why everyone encourage to move forward with VCSA.
      Yes, you can this article is about Windows based vCenter server
      2.) It has the same capabilities same as the Windows Based vCenter, You can move forward with the embedded version and vPostgress database. So eliminating the licencing costs

      3.) If you have a SSO server it will be Migrated to a PSC. You can consolidate the distributed architecture to an embedded version of vCenter server, nut you have to consider few things before that
      4.) First you need to upgrade the vCenter server and then you need to upgrade the hosts accordingly. But make sure to comply with the vendor compatibility matrices before the upgrade.

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