For upgrades to the vCenter Server Appliance, you can deploy a new version of the appliance and import the network identity of your existing vCenter Server Appliance.

VMware product versions are numbered with two digits, for example, vSphere 5.1. A release that changes either digit, for example, from 4.1 to 5.0, or from 5.0 to 5.1, involves major changes in the software, and requires an upgrade from the previous version. A release that makes a smaller change, requiring only an update, is indicated by an update number, for example, vSphere 5.1 Update 1.

For updates to the vCenter Server Appliance, for example, from version 5.1 to version 5.1 Update 1, see Update the VMware vCenter Server Appliance from a Repository, Update the VMware vCenter Server Appliance from a Zipped Update Bundle, and Update the VMware vCenter Server Appliance from the CD-ROM Drive.

Versions 5.0 Update 1 and later and 5.1 of the vCenter Server Appliance use PostgreSQL for the embedded database instead of IBM DB2, which was used in vCenter Server Appliance 5.0. If you use the embedded database with the vCenter Server Appliance, when you upgrade from version 5.0 to version 5.1, the embedded IBM DB2 database is migrated to a PostgreSQL database. The configuration state of your existing database is preserved and the schema is upgraded to be compatible with vCenter Server Appliance 5.1.


vCenter Server 5.1 supports connection between vCenter Server and vCenter Server components by IP address only if the IP address is IPV4-compliant. To connect to a vCenter Server system in an IPv6 environment, you must use the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) or host name of the vCenter Server. The best practice is to use the FQDN, which works in all cases, instead of the IP address, which can change if assigned by DHCP.

Verify that the clocks of all machines on the vSphere network are synchronized. See Synchronizing Clocks on the vSphere Network.

Back up the vCenter Server database.

Create a snapshot of the vCenter Server Appliance.


Deploy the new version of the vCenter Server Appliance.

The new appliance has a default network configuration, and the vCenter Server service is unconfigured and disabled.


Connect to both the old and new appliances in separate browser windows.


In the new appliance, in the vCenter Server Setup wizard, accept the end user license agreement.

The wizard is started automatically on first login. On subsequent logins, you can start the wizard manually, by clicking the Launch button in the Utilities section of the startup page.


In the new appliance, in the Configure Options panel, select Upgrade from previous version.


(Optional) Configure the vCenter Server Appliance to use an external vCenter Single Sign-On instance instead of the default embedded vCenter Single Sign-On.


Click Configure SSO.


On the SSO Settings page, set SSO deployment type to external.


Enter the information for the vCenter Single Sign-On instance.

The external vCenter Single Sign-On instance must be hosted on another vCenter Server Appliance. It cannot be hosted on a Windows machine.


In the new appliance, click Next.


In the old appliance, in the Upgrade tab, Prepare subtab, select source for the appliance role, and click Set role.


In the new appliance, copy the local appliance key.


In the old appliance, go to the Upgrade tab, Establish Trust subtab. Paste the key that you copied in the previous step into the Remote Appliance Key field and click Import remote key.


In the old appliance, copy the local appliance key.


In the new appliance, paste the key that you copied in the previous step into the Upgrade key box and click Next.


Review the list of hosts managed by the source appliance and select the hosts on which to run pre-upgrade checks.

To minimize the chance of problems with the upgrade, run the pre-upgrade checks on all hosts, or at least on the most important hosts.


Review the pre-upgrade check of the source appliance hosts and correct any errors before proceeding.


Confirm that you have taken a backup or snapshot of the source appliance and external database, and click Next.

The new appliance shuts down the old appliance and assumes the network identity of the old appliance. If the old appliance was configured to use dynamic addressing, the new appliance will also use dynamic addressing. When the import is complete, the new vCenter Server Appliance starts.


When the upgrade is complete, click Close.

The vCenter Server Appliance is upgraded and the new appliance will reboot.