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Step By Step Guide to Upgrade from VMware vCenter Server 5.1 to vCenter Server 5.5


vSphere 5.5 provides two methods to install vCenter Server 5.5
1. Simple Install – Installs all of the vSphere 5.5 components on a single system.
2. Custom Component Install – Installs all vSphere components separately by allowing you to choose the location of each service in your environment.
  • Simple Install
The Simple Install method installs vCenter Single Sign-On, vSphere Web Client, Inventory Service, and finally vCenter Server all on the same system and is often recommend for small deployments of vSphere 5.5.
  • Custom Component Install
Custom Component method installs vCenter Single Sign-On, vSphere Web Client, vCenter Inventory Service, and vCenter Server. However, each component can be installed on a different system within the environment to allow for resource optimization and performance tuning for each component. This is often recommended for medium to large deployment of vSphere 5.5.
Should I use Simple Install when upgrading from 5.1 to 5.5. When vCenter 5.1 components are on different servers?
If you are going to start over with SSO then yes otherwise you will need to upgrade SSO first with custom installer, then deploy an additional SSO local to vCenter pointing it to the separate one and complete installs updating SSO URL from installers to use local instance.
Before upgrading to vCenter Server 5.5, vSphere 5.5 requires you to install vCenter Single Sign-On (SSO) and install or upgrade the Inventory Service. You can install SSO and upgrade the Inventory Service and vCenter Server all on a single host machine using the vCenter Server Simple Install option.
vCenter Single Sign-On & vCenter Server 5.5 Upgrade:-
vCenter Single Sign-On is the identity and authentication managing component for your vSphere 5.5 implementation. This component dictates which users can log in to vCenter Server after an upgrade depending on the version from which you are upgrading and the deployment configuration.
We are going to perform below steps for vCenter Server upgrade,
1. Upgrade vCenter Single Sign-On.
2. Upgrade vSphere Web Client.
3. Upgrade vCenter Inventory Service.
4. Upgrade vCenter Server.
So lets get start,
1. Upgrade vCenter Single Sign-On
First backup up your existing SSO service.
How to Backup vCenter SSO Configuration,
From the Windows user interface:
1. Go to Programs -> VMware.
Right-> click Generate vCenter Single Sign-On backup bundle and click Run as administrator.

Guide upgrading from VMware vCenter Server 5.1 to vCenter Server 5.5 Part 01
Right-click the Command Prompt and select Run as administrator. Change directory to C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer\scripts as shown in below screenshot.
Type cscript sso-backup.wsf /z and press Enter.
NOTE -> The vCenter Single Sign-On configuration is backed up to a file named Single Sign On.zipon the desktop of the host machine. To save the .zip file in a different location, edit the C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer\scripts\sso-backup script and change this line from:
savedir=appshell.Namespace(DESKTOP).Self.Path
To:
savedir=path_to_file
Guide upgrading from VMware vCenter Server 5.1 to vCenter Server 5.5 Part 02

Now we have took the backup of SSO. Now lets upgrade SSO.
Steps to upgade Single Sign-On 5.5
  • Mount the vSphere 5.5 installation media.
  • In the left pane, Click Simple Install & click on ‘Install’
Guide upgrading from VMware vCenter Server 5.1 to vCenter Server 5.5 Part 03
In the welcome screen, Click Next. If a previous version of vCenter Single Sign-On (SSO) is installed, you see below message,
An earlier version of vCenter Single Sign-On is already installed on this computer and will be upgraded to vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5.0.
Guide upgrading from VMware vCenter Server 5.1 to vCenter Server 5.5 Part 04

Select the I accept the terms in the license agreement option and then click Next. Review the Prerequisites check screen and then click Next.
Guide upgrading from VMware vCenter Server 5.1 to vCenter Server 5.5 Part 05

Guide upgrading from VMware vCenter Server 5.1 to vCenter Server 5.5 Part 06
Guide upgrading from VMware vCenter Server 5.1 to vCenter Server 5.5 Part 07

For more please check below VMware guides,