vCenter Server Install/Upgrade Gotcha when using Custom Install

Starting to prepare now for an upcoming vSphere 5.0 to 5.5 upgrade project and was building my thought process on upgrading the vCenter Server. Should I propose Simple Install or Custom Install? VMware’s recommended method is Simple Install where all components are installed in a single machine/VM. This method puts all components  in the default location in C:\ drive.

But we know that there are customers who have an OS policy that disallows use of C:\ drive for any application other than the OS itself. In this scenario, you will be forced to use the Custom Install method.

But there is one major gotcha with this as I have experienced in my vSphere 4.1 to 5.1 upgrade last year. I was actually surprised that this is still the case in vSphere 5.5. Look at KB 2044953. There is known issue when installing Web Client in a different directory other than the default. Web Client will not work and will throw an HTTP 404 error. The workaround is to re-install web client back to the default directory. There is another alternate workaround stated in the KB to put Web Client in a directory that does not contain spaces. I have not tested this though.

A very short post but I hope this helps vSphere Admins who are planning to upgrade to vCenter 5.5.






Upgrading vCenter 5.5 to 5.5 U1 with vCenter Heartbeat installed [Part Three]

This is the last part of this 3 part series. In Parts One and Two, I discussed about this new “re-cloning” method for upgrading vCenter Server with heartbeat and started configuring the Primary vCenter server. In this part we will continue the configuration focusing on the Secondary vCenter Server.

1. Start the newly cloned vCenter Server. Make sure that both Principal and Channel NIC’s are disconnected before powering ON the VM. Also make sure that the vCenter Server Heartbeat service is stopped and set to Manual.

2. Reconfigure the IP address of the  Channel Nic from to

3. Launch the vCenter Server Heartbeat Configure Server wizard and click the Machine tab. Change the physical server identity to Secondary.

4. Click the Public tab, configure the correct IP addresses, and click Finish. In my lab, I am changing the Management IP back to

5. Change the server name to the Secondary node’s previous Management name and add it to a Workgroup. Reboot when requested. In the screenshot below, I am changing the hostname back to vc02.vc10

6. Review the Principal NIC’s IP Address before connecting the Principal NIC. This is to make sure we won’t have an IP conflict. The Channel NIC can also be connected.


7. Using the Service Control Manager, configure the VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat service Startup Type to Automatic. DO NOT Start the service just yet!

8. Join the server to the domain and reboot when requested. So now I am joining my vc02 server from WORKGROUP back to the lab.local domain.


9. When the secondary comes back up, we have basically brought up the 2 vCenter Nodes back to its original states but now upgraded to Update 1. Initiate Full replication and synchronization from Primary to Secondary

vc13           vc14

10. Uninstall and re-install the vCenter plugin.Navigate to the Applications: Plug-ins page, select the VirtualCenterNFPlugin and click Uninstall.

11. After the plug-in has been removed from the plug-ins list, click Install. Navigate to the location of the vCenter Server plug-in (the default location is C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat\R2\plugins\VMwareVirtualCenter\ and select the VirtualCenterNFPlugin.dll file.


12. After the plug-in has been added, select it, click Edit, then enter the credentials used to connect to vCenter Server.


That’s it folks!! To cover all grounds, do a failover test to check that everything works just fine.