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Upgrading to vSphere vCenter 4.1 Experiencies November 1, 2010

Posted by vneil in upgrade, VMware.

I’ve recently completed upgrading all our vSphere vCenter servers to 4.1 and as I came across a few issues I thought I would document them.

We had several vSphere vCenter 4.0U2 servers running on Windows 2003 R2 32 bit virtual machines and seeing as we needed to move to 64bit for 4.1 I took the opportunity to  switch to Windows 2008 R2 64bit. A test vCenter server has a MS-SQL Express database on the same server and two production vCenter servers (in Linked mode) have databases on separate MS-SQL 2005 servers.

We built new Windows 2008R2 64bit servers in preparation and I used the datamigration tool from the vCenter distribution to perform the migration of data and install of 4.1.


MS-SQL Express database with data migration

This occurred with the MS-SQL Express migration, the datamigration tool did not backup the data as expected but also did not log any error messages during the backup procedure. The install runs fine but just creates a new empty database. This is due to a MS-SQL Express database that has been upgraded and registry settings being set wrong. It is detailed in this KB article (1024380) with the fix.

This is from the backup .log showing a good backup, if it says DB type of Custom it will not work:

[backup]  Backing up vCenter Server DB...
[backup]  Checking vCenter Server DB configuration...
[backup]  vCenter Server DB type: bundled

Running as Administrator

As a non-Windows bod, one thing that keeps catching me out on Windows 2008R2 is that to do most things, you need to explicitly say to run them as an Administrator even if your userid is a local administrator. For example, when running the install.cmd from the datamigration tool, it will run as your normal userid but will fail fairly soon. Right click on the install.cmd and choose “Run as Adminstrator” for a simple life.

MS-SQL Express – transaction logging from bulk to simple

Another issue with the MS-SQL Express upgrade path was with the database transaction log filling up after a few days. Again, not being that au fait with MS-SQL management I found the solution to this one here in a post by Patters. It seems the upgrade process sometimes leaves the database logging mode as ‘bulk-logged‘, using the Management Studio Express tool I switched it to ‘Simple‘.

MS-SQL 2005 Server databases

I also had a similar problem with just one of the production databases on the MS-SQL 2005 server which was left in “Bulk-logged” mode after the upgrade and the DBA had to switch it back to Simple.

Sysprep files – all in one directory

As the server was a new install I also needed to repopulate the Sysprep files, following the instructions  in the KB article http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1005593 . One thing I missed was to expand the deploy.cab file from the downloaded file, what I ended up doing was to make sure there were no sub directories under the relevant sysprep directory (srv2003 in this case) and put all the files from downloaded file and the files from deploy.cab in that directory.

So far we’ve done a few host upgrades of test ESXi hosts to 4.1 without problems, production yet to come.



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