How to Upgrade the vCenter (VirtualCenter) SQL 2005 Express Database

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Shutdown any VMware services that may be using the SQL Express database.  For instance, the License service, VC service, or Update Manager.
  3. 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 .
  4. 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.

This entry was posted in VMware and tagged , , by virtualdennis. Bookmark the permalink.

About virtualdennis

I have over 18 years helping small to large enterprise businesses nationwide with their enterprise storage, backup and recovery, disaster recovery and system virtualization solutions. He holds numerous storage and virtualization certifications and has personally delivered over 300 complex enterprise solution implementations. He has been privileged to speak at various national events on the topics of datacenter virtualization, end-user virtualization, hyper-converged infrastructure and disaster recovery.

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