VM /ETC has a great article that helped me while onsite to perform an upgrade of the vCenter SQL database from 2005 express edition to a licensed version of SQL 2005 (in my case it worked on SQL 2008).
Normally, using SQL Express for the vCenter database isn’t a bad thing necessarily, however as VM /ETC mentions in his article, VMware only supports SQL Express as the vCenter Database if your VMware environment is 5 hosts or under, 50 virtual machines or under. Also of note is that SQL express databases can only get to 4 GB in size, so if your database is getting that large, then you’ll need to upgrade for that reason too.
Here’s the link to the VM /ETC article:
Here’s a copy/paste from his article for easy reference:
- Take a backup of the VC server. If you have VC running as a Virtual Machine, it’s best to take a snapshot of it so that you have a nice clean restore point in case anything goes wrong.
- Shutdown any VMware services that may be using the SQL Express database. For instance, the License service, VC service, or Update Manager.
- Start the SQL Installer with an argument of SKUUPGRADE=1 (e.g. setup.exe SKUUPGRADE=1) for more information about using this command argument, have a look here .
- When you reach the point where the installer asks if you wish to upgrade the default instance or a named instance, select named instance. Then browse to the instance named “SQLEXP_VIM” Then you can just accept the defaults for the installation.
VM /ETC’s article also has links if you want to move your vCenter Database to another SQL server and if you want to move databases between computers that are running SQL server.