Before you begin the upgrade to vCenter Server, make sure you prepare the vCenter Server system and the database.

The following items are prerequisites for completing the upgrade to vCenter Server:

VMware vCenter Server 5.0 installation media.

License keys for all purchased functionality.

If you do not have the license key, you can install in evaluation mode and use the vSphere Client to enter the license key later. If the vCenter Server that you are upgrading is in evaluation mode, after the upgrade, the time remaining in your evaluation period is decreased by the amount already used. For example, if you used 20 days of the evaluation period before upgrading, your remaining evaluation period after the upgrade is 40 days.

If you do not intend to use evaluation mode, make sure that you have new license keys during an upgrade. Old license keys are not supported in vCenter Server 5.0.

The installation path of the previous version of vCenter Server must be compatible with the installation requirements for Microsoft Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM/AD LDS). The installation path cannot contain any of the following characters: non-ASCII characters, commas (,), periods (.), exclamation points (!), pound signs (#), at signs (@), or percentage signs (%). If your previous version of vCenter Server does not meet this requirement, you must perform a clean installation of vCenter Server 5.0.

Make sure the system on which you are installing vCenter Server is not an Active Directory primary or backup domain controller.

Either remove any ESX Server 2.x hosts from the VirtualCenter or vCenter Server inventory or upgrade these hosts to 3.5 or later.

If you are upgrading to vCenter Server 5.0, update any ESX/ESXi 4.1 hosts to version 4.1 Update 1 or later. See Knowledge Base article 2009586.

Make sure that the computer name has 15 characters or fewer.

Run the vCenter Host Agent Pre-Upgrade Checker.

Make sure that SSL certificate checking is enabled for all vSphere HA clusters. If certificate checking is not enabled when you upgrade, HA will fail to configure on the hosts.

In vCenter Server 4.x, select Administration > vCenter Server Settings > SSL Settings > vCenter requires verified host SSL certificates. Follow the instructions to verify each host SSL certificate and click OK.

In VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 6 or later, select Administration > Virtual Center Management Server Configuration > SSL Settings > Check host certificates and click OK. When you enable SSL checking in VirtualCenter 2.5, the hosts are disconnected from vCenter Server, and you must reconnect them.

If the vCenter Server 4.x environment that you are upgrading includes Guided Consolidation 4.x, uninstall Guided Consolidation before upgrading to vCenter Server 5.0.

If you use vCenter Guided Consolidation Service in the VirtualCenter 2.x environment, complete the consolidation plan before you upgrade to vCenter Server 5.0. The upgrade to vCenter Server 5.0 does not preserve or migrate any data gathered by the vCenter Guided Consolidation Service. After the upgrade, all of the data is cleared, and you cannot restore it.

Back up the SSL certificates that are on the VirtualCenter or vCenter Server system before you upgrade to vCenter Server 5.0. The default location of the SSL certificates is %allusersprofile%\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter.

vCenter Server 5.0 uses TCP/IP Ports 80 and 443 for the VMware vSphere Web client. You cannot run vCenter Server on the same machine as a Web server using TCP/IP port 80 (HTTP) or port 443 (HTTPS) because doing so causes port conflicts.

Verify that the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the system where you will upgrade vCenter Server is resolvable. To check that the FQDN is resolvable, type nslookup your_vCenter_Server_fqdn at a command line prompt. If the FQDN is resolvable, the nslookup command returns the IP and name of the domain controller machine.

Verify that DNS reverse lookup returns a fully qualified domain name when queried with the IP address of the vCenter Server. When you upgrade vCenter Server, the installation of the web server component that supports the vSphere Client fails if the installer cannot look up the fully qualified domain name of the vCenter Server from its IP address. Reverse lookup is implemented using PTR records. To create a PTR record, see the documentation for your vCenter Server host operating system.

If you use DHCP instead of a manually assigned (static) IP address for vCenter Server, make sure that the vCenter Server computer name is updated in the domain name service (DNS). Test this is by pinging the computer name. For example, if the computer name is, run the following command in the Windows command prompt:


If you can ping the computer name, the name is updated in DNS.

Ensure that the ESXi host management interface has a valid DNS resolution from the vCenter Server and all vSphere Clients. Ensure that the vCenter Server has a valid DNS resolution from all ESXi hosts and all vSphere Clients.

If your database server is not supported by vCenter Server, perform a database upgrade to a supported version or import your database into a supported version. See Supported Database Upgrades.

Perform a complete backup of the VirtualCenter Server or vCenter Server database before you begin the upgrade. The VirtualCenter 2.5 database schema is not compatible with vCenter Server 5.0. The vCenter Server 5.0 installer upgrades your existing VirtualCenter Server database schema with extra fields, making the database unusable by VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 6.

To remove the DBO role, you can migrate all objects in the DBO schema to a custom schema. See the VMware knowledge base article at

You must have login credentials, the database name, and the database server name that will be used by the vCenter Server database. The database server name is typically the ODBC System database source name (DSN) connection name for the vCenter Server database.

Review Supported Database Upgrades.

To use a newly supported Microsoft SQL database, such as Microsoft SQL 2008, you do not need to perform a clean installation of vCenter Server if your existing database is also Microsoft SQL Server. For example, you can upgrade a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 database to Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and then upgrade VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 6 or higher to vCenter Server 5.0. When you migrate the database from Microsoft SQL Server 2000 to Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or higher, set the compatibility level of the database to 90.

JDK 1.6 must be installed on the vCenter Server machine. In addition, sqljdbc4.jar must be added to the CLASSPATH variable on the machine where vCenter Server is to be upgraded. If it is not installed on your system, the vCenterServer installer installs it. The JDK 1.6 installation might require Internet connectivity.

If you are upgrading from VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 6 with the bundled SQL Server 2005 Express (by installing vCenter Server 5.0 on a different machine and keeping the database), you do not have to perform a clean installation of vCenter Server.

Your system DSN must be using the SQL Native Client driver.

Grant the following permissions to the vCenter user in the vCenter database:

GRANT ALTER ON SCHEMA :: <schema> to <user>;
GRANT REFERENCES ON SCHEMA :: <schema> to <user>;
GRANT INSERT ON SCHEMA :: <schema>  to <user>;
GRANT CREATE Procedure to <user>;

Grant the following permissions to the user in the MSDB database:

GRANT SELECT on msdb.dbo.syscategories to <user>;
GRANT SELECT on msdb.dbo.sysjobsteps to <user>;
GRANT SELECT ON msdb.dbo.sysjobs to <user>;
GRANT EXECUTE ON msdb.dbo.sp_add_job TO <user>;
GRANT EXECUTE ON msdb.dbo.sp_delete_job TO <user>;
GRANT EXECUTE ON msdb.dbo.sp_add_jobstep TO <user>;
GRANT EXECUTE ON msdb.dbo.sp_update_job TO <user>;
GRANT EXECUTE ON msdb.dbo.sp_add_category TO <user>;
GRANT EXECUTE ON msdb.dbo.sp_add_jobserver TO <user>;
GRANT EXECUTE ON msdb.dbo.sp_add_jobschedule TO <user>;

To use a newly supported Oracle database, such as Oracle 11g, you do not need to perform a clean installation of vCenter Server if your existing database is also Oracle. For example, you can upgrade your existing Oracle 9i database to Oracle 10g or Oracle 11g and then upgrade vCenter Server 4.x to vCenter Server 5.0.

The JDBC driver file must be included in the CLASSPATH variable.

Either assign the DBA role or grant the following permissions to the user:

grant connect to <user>
grant resource to <user>
grant create view to <user>
grant create any sequence to <user>
grant create any table to <user>
grant create materialized view to <user>
grant execute on dbms_job to <user>
grant execute on dbms_lock to <user>
grant unlimited tablespace to <user> # To ensure sufficient space

After the upgrade is complete, you can optionally remove the following permissions from the user profile: create any sequence and create any table.

By default, the RESOURCE role has the CREATE PROCEDURE, CREATE TABLE, and CREATE SEQUENCE privileges assigned. If the RESOURCE role lacks these privileges, grant them to the vCenter Server database user.

To use a newly supported IBM DB2 database, you must use vCenter Server 4.0 Update 1 or higher. Previous releases of VirtualCenter or vCenter Server do not support DB2 databases.