VMware vCenter 4.1 Upgrade/Migration Gotchas

I have recently been doing vCenter 2.5/4.0 to vCenter 4.1 upgrades and migrations for our clients. Upgrades to 4.1 have been more difficult than doing upgrades to 4.0 because vCenter 4.1 requires an x64 version of Windows.

Most of our clients that are on vCenter 2.5 are running it on 32-bit versions of Windows with most of those being Windows 2003.

For these migrations we have mostly been building new Windows 2008 R2 virtual machines and using the new vCenter Data Migration tool – Migrating an existing vCenter Server database to 4.1 using the Data Migration Tool

The data migration tool is handy for backing up the SSL certificates and registry settings from the vCenter 2.5 server and then restoring those to the new vCenter 4.1 server. The tool will also backup and restore SQL Express databases but most of our clients are running full SQL.

On my most recent upgrade/migration I ran into an SQL issue that I hadn’t seen before. In this case the client was running SQL 2005 as their database server for vCenter 2.5. Since they were already running SQL 2005 we didn’t see the need to move the database or upgrade SQL since 2005 is supported by vCenter 4.1.

During the install of vCenter 4.1 the database upgrade processes started as normal but then about 5 minutes into it we received this error “Exception Thrown while executing SQL script” and the install was halted. We immediately looked at the vCenter install log (vminst.log) to investigate what happened. The log had some additional SQL logging information but nothing specific so I then Googled the exception message and the first link in the search results was just what I was looking for.

Upgrading vCenter Server 4.0 to 4.1 fails with the error: Exception Thrown while executing SQL script

The issue was due to the fact that the vCenter database was set to SQL 2000 compatibility mode. The reason it was set like this is because this server was originally SQL 2000 and then upgraded to SQL 2005.

The fix wasn’t as easy as just changing the database to SQL 2005 compatibility because the failed upgrade left the database in an inconsistent state. To correct the issue we first had to restore the database from the backup we made before the upgrade and then change the compatibility mode to 2005.

The other issue we ran into was more of an annoyance than an issue. After upgrading vCenter to 4.1 and installing vCenter Converter we noticed this error in the vCenter Service Status tool “Unable to retrieve health data from https://<VC servername or IP address>/converter/health.xml”. A quick Google search led us to the fix for this. – vCenter Service Status displays an error for com.vmware.converter


5 thoughts on “VMware vCenter 4.1 Upgrade/Migration Gotchas

  1. This is good to know. Most of my upgrades have just been deploying a new database for vCenter, but I will definitely keep these in mind when keeping the existing database. Looks like you found all the bugs for me!

  2. Thanks for the article. When it comes to knowing what changed on new vmware product releases, the details are well hidden to say the least on vmware website. Unless you are frequent visitor to their changelog and updates section, good luck finding the updates.

    I’ve had one client where they were running vcenter 4.0 with sql express but when ended up upgrading to sql 2008 r2 which broke the install when they upgraded to vcenter 4.1.

  3. Good info….this is doubly painful with existing View 4.0 installs as View Manager would only install on 2003r2 32 bit and View Composer had the same requirements…which forced vCenter 4.0 to 2003r2 32 bit.

    I have one environment where we were partway through the pilot and just decided to start fresh since we had some physical servers not yet in production — went with ESXi 4.1 (instead of ESX 4.0), vCenter 4.1 on 2008r2 64 bit, and View 4.5 across the board (had to keep SQL at 2008 SP1 after confirming with VMware that View Composer does truly require that….View Composer had the most stringent SQL db requirements).

  4. Pingback: Upgrading from ESX,VMware Update Manager and Virtual Centre 4.0 to Version 4.1 « TheSaffaGeek

  5. I have just run into the “SQL Exception” error, and my database is running in 2008 compatibility mode (100). What could then be the issue?

    Thanks in advance!

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