How to Upgrade to VMware vCenter 4.1 from vCenter 4.0 32 bit Using the Data Migration Tool

Here is a very useful KB article on migrating an existing vCenter Server database to 4.1 using the Data Migration Tool:

Also, here’s a great blog post on VMware’s blog showing how to upgrade vCenter 4.0 32 bit to vCenter 4.1 64 bit by using the VMware Data Migration Tool.
Copied below for reference.

Our first video covering vSphere 4.1 is now live. The video compliments KB article 1022137 vSphere 4.1 upgrade pre-installation requirements and considerations. and describes the process for using our Data Migration tool to upgrade VMware vCenter Server 4.1

VMware vCenter 4.1 is part of the VMware vSphere 4.1 product suite and the Data Migration tool allows you to migrate your vCenter Server 4.0 configuration, since VMware has now entirely gone to a 64-bit platform. 64-bit brings significant performance benefits, but it also introduces some challenges that need to be considered before upgrading.

Sit back, grab that cup of java and take in a little KBTV.

How to upgrade to VMware vCenter Server 4.1 using the Data Migration tool


The Data Migration tool is provided with your vCenter Server 4.1 installation media.

VMware – Best Practice KB Articles for Installing vSphere 4.1 and vCenter 4.1

Here’s a great post over at (who’s a well known VMware blogger and vExpert) on some of the KB articles he’s found regarding best practices on installing vSphere 4.1 and vCenter 4.1.

Preparing the vCenter Server Installation Worksheet – Download and fill out the vCenter Server Installation Worksheet.
MicrosoftSQL Server 2005 Express is intended for use with small deployments of up to 5 hosts and/or 50 virtual machines.

    Memory – 3GB RAM. RAM requirements may be higher if your database runs on the same machine. VMware VirtualCenter Management WebServices requires 128Mb to 1.5GB of memory which is allocated at startup.Disk storage – 2GB. Disk requirements may be higher if your database runs on the same machine.

  • vCenter Server 4.1 requires a 64 bit DSN and MUST NOT be a Domain controller. vSphere Compatibility Matrix.
  • The computer name – no more than 15 characters.
  • have reliable DNS and Time services.

Recommended, but not mandatory:

  • separate database for vCenter Server and vCenter Update Manager

vCenter server needs all this (will be installed as part of vCenter Installation):

  • Apache Tomcat (64 bit)
  • Java Runtime Environment JRE (64 bit)
  • Active Directory Application Management (ADAM)
  • Visual C++ 2005 Runtime Redistributable
  • .NET 3.0 SP1 or above (optional based on DB selection)

If the machine on which you are installing vCenter Server has a previous version of vCenter installed (if it’s on 64 bit hardware), you might want to upgrade instead of performing a fresh installation of vCenter Server.

Best practices for the ESX installations:

Check on the HCL (hardware compatibility list) page…. – I blogged about that earlier too ….

  • System compatibility
  • I/O compatibility (Network and HBA cards)
  • Storage compatibility
  • Backup software compatibility

32bits installation are no longer supported. VMware ESX 4.1 only installs and runs on servers with 64 bit x86 CPUs.

  • Check the Enable Intel VT in the BIOS.
  • If you are installing to the local disks and you have a  SAN with Fiber Channel connected  to the ESX host, make sure and detach the fiber before continuing with the installation. (Do not disable HBA cards in the BIOS)
  • minimum size of the vmdk where the  /swap, and all the optional partitions are stored should be set for 8GB.
  • Make a separate partition for  /var/log.

Source: Installing ESX 4.1 and vCenter Server 4.1 best practices

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.

Release: VMware vCenter Update Manager 4.0 Update 1 Patch 1

VMware has announced the availability of Patch 1 for VMware vCenter Update Manager 4.0 Update 1 as of February 25, 2010.

This patch resolves the following issues

  • After upgrading Cisco Nexus 1000V VSM to the latest version, you might not be able to patch the kernel of ESX hosts attached to the vDS (KB 1015717)Upgrading Cisco Nexus 1000V VSM to the latest version upgrades the Cisco Virtual Ethernet Module (VEM) on ESX hosts attached to the vDS. Subsequently, from the same vSphere Client instance, you might not be able to use a host patch baseline to apply patches to the ESX vmkernel64 or ESXi firmware of hosts attached to the vDS. Applying patches to ESX vmkernel64 or ESXi firmware requires that you include the compatible Cisco Nexus 1000V VEM patch in the baseline. However, this patch might not be available for selection in the Update Manager New Baseline wizard or in the Update Manager patch repository.
  • Upgrade of Cisco Nexus 1000V version 4.0(4)SV1(1) to version 4.0(4)SV1(2) with Update Manager might fail for hosts with certain patch levels (KB 1017069)If you are using Cisco Nexus 1000V version 4.0(4)SV1(1), and the ESX patch bulletins ESX400-200912401-BG or ESXi400-200912401-BG are installed on the host, you might not be able to upgrade to Cisco Nexus 1000V version 4.0(4)SV1(2).
  • Scanning of hosts in a cluster and staging of patches to hosts in a cluster might take a long time to finishThe scanning and staging operations of hosts in a cluster run sequentially. If a cluster contains a lot of hosts, scanning and staging patches might take a long time to be completed. Scanning and staging of hosts in a cluster run concurrently on all of the selected hosts in the cluster.

For details regarding these new fixes, please refer to the release notes.

VMware vCenter Update Manager 4.0 Update 1 Patch 1 is available for download.

VMware vCenter Update Manager 4.0 Update 1 is required for installation of this patch.

Release : VMware VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 6

VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 6 was released over the weekend. Some notes from the email that I received is below.

We are pleased to inform you that VMware VirtualCenter Server 2.5 Update 6 (English and localized) is generally available as of late night January 29, 2010.

VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 6 provides the following improvements:

  • Guest Operating System Customization Improvements
  • Support for Firefox 3.x Browsers with VirtualCenter Web Access
  • Bug and security fixes

For details regarding the new fixes and improvements, please refer to the release notes.

VirtualCenter Server 2.5 Update 6 is available for download.

For details regarding compatibility, please view vSphere Compatibility Matrixes.