Upgrading vSphere vCenter Appliance 5.1 to 5.5

In VMware KB Upgrading vCenter Server Appliance 5.0.x/5.1 to 5.5 (2058441) the procedure for upgrading an existing 5.0/5.1 vSphere vCenter Server Appliance is outlined, walking you through the steps required including deploying a new 5.5 vCSA and transferring the data from the old instance to the new one. Straight forward procedure, but there is one small caveat in this process.

One important thing to remember, and something I don´t feel that the knowledge-base article highlights well enough is that the new v5.5 appliance should not be configured in any way when deployed.

In my opinion there should be a new step between steps 1 and 2 in the KB article, detailing that the default blank values should not be changed at all.

When using the “Deploy OVF” wizard in the Web Client or Desktop Client, you get asked for network details like IP, subnet, gateway and hostname. In order for the new appliance to successfully import your old data, and take over the old appliance details like hostname, IP adress and so forth, all these values should be left blank while importing to ensure a successful upgrade.

If you do this, the upgrade succeeds as anticipated, and the old vCenter Server Appliance is powered down and the new one takes over.


  1. I have a nice catch-22 for You :-)

    If you’ve upgraded Your vCenter Server Appliance to 5.5 and vHW 10.
    What do You do if You need to add more memory to it (or CPU). Now think of this as a non-technical admin :-)

    You can only make changes to a vHW10 VM through the WEB UI.

  2. Hello Christian,

    I have a question about the upgrade process but it might be a dumb one and I am missing something. In your post you say that all the default ip, hostname and gateway should be left blank but in the upgrade KB from VMware it says that you need to have both the admin interfaces up on both appliances. Is that not true and is there another way around it?

    1. That´s not a dumb question, not at all! The default (when left blank) is to utilize a DHCP server, and not provide a static IP. So, if you don´t have a DHCP server available in the management network, you do need to provide a static IP for it to be able to access the admin interface.

      1. So if I supply it with a IP since where I am at we cant use DHCP, then it should be fine when I upgrade it? The reason why I ask was I am concerned by what you said that the appliance should not be configured what so ever.

  3. We executed an upgrade from 5.1 to 5.5 and the storage and hardware views are not available. I’m sure I can find other issues if I look. Do you have $0.02 on the matter?

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