I'm currently upgrading our VMWare environment from vSphere 4.0 to 4.1. First, I moved the vCenter installation from a 32bit physical box into a 64bit VM on a vSphere 4.0 ESX host.

I have since upgraded a test ESX host to 4.1 using the Update Manager, which is also running on the same VM as the vCenter Server. So far so good.

Now I need upgrade the ESX 4.0 host to 4.1 on the same box that hosts the vCenter & Update Manager installations.

Are there any known issues with this? Probably due to lack of understanding of the internals of the upgrade process, I'm slightly nervous about this. Is there any real need for the vCenter Server and/or Update Manager to up/available during the host upgrade?


2 Answers 2


If you just vMotion your VC/VCUM VM to a different host you won't have any problems, it's how I did my lab boxes in fact. If you don't have vMotion capability then I'd strongly recommend manually moving them to a different host, trying to do it on the same host as the VC is a recipe for disaster as you'll lose your VCUM mid-process.

  • We don't have vMotion yet. Our license doesn't provide it to us until we go to 4.1 (which spawned the upgrade). Also, cold migration of the VM that VC & VCUM are on isn't supported (also requires the vCenter be online). Would it be difficult to manually migrate the VC/VCUM virtual machine?
    – user57592
    Oct 19, 2010 at 19:45
  • Not at all, just shutdown the VC/VCUM VM then restart the VSClient but point it at a host that will remain up, log in as root/password, then start the VC/VCUM VM on that specific host and away you go.
    – Chopper3
    Oct 19, 2010 at 20:02
  • Wouldn't you need vMotion for this? I don't believe cold-cloning is supported without vCenter running. When I log into the host directly through the vSphere Client, I don't get the option to move VMs (or at least I don't see it).
    – user57592
    Oct 20, 2010 at 14:19
  • no, you just close down the guest VM, close down the VM itself, then add it to the other host - a little manual and 'ghetto' but it does work.
    – Chopper3
    Oct 20, 2010 at 14:23

Erm. vCenter running on a VMware ESX guest? This rings big alarm bells for me. How are you going respond to a problem that's affecting the vCenter guest, but needs vCenter?

  • 1
    We have over 80 different VC installations in total with three-quarters ran as VMs. It's not only supported but encouraged by VMWare as you gain the benefits of HA without the cost of their heartbeat application. I don't understand your concern, can you expand please.
    – Chopper3
    Oct 19, 2010 at 19:36
  • Yes - this ran through my head in the past too. However, we went for it all the same. We did encounter some issues with vCenter (to do with hitting the 4Gb limit in SQL Server Express - why did VMware tempt us into that?), and this was easy enough to resolve once we figured out what host vCenter was running on.
    – dunxd
    Oct 19, 2010 at 19:58
  • It's the chicken and egg thing for me. Totally agree with the HA bit, but I prefer to keep the manager out of the managed environment. Personal preference, I guess. Oct 20, 2010 at 12:16

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