VMware vSphere

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

This guide will assist you with the VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade process instead of migrating to VMware vPostgres.  While running the vCenter 6 upgrade on an existing installation with SQL Express, you will receive the following message:

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

This will basically migrate your SQL database to VMware vPostgres.  But you can continue utilizing SQL Express after performing the following steps.  Although SQL Express is not recommended for production environments, this may have been adequate for SMB environments with 2-3 hosts and a minimal number of virtual machines.

First you will need to know the ODBC System DSN utilized by the system.

SQL Database Configuration

One of the steps required, is to change the SQL Express authentication from Windows to SQL.  Launch SQL Management Studio and logon to the SQL Instance for vCenter.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Right-Click the server instance VIM_SQLEXP and click Properties.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

We will need to ensure that SQL Server and Windows Authentication mode is selected.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Assuming that this was just now changed from Windows Authentication to mixed-mode authentication, SQL will inform us that a restart of the SQL instance is require before mixed-mode authentication takes effect.

vCenter_6_SQL_Express_Upgrade_04

Now we will proceed to create a SQL account named vcenter.  You can use any name, and you can also utilize the built-in sa account.  If you utilize the sa account, ensure that this is not disabled.  We will opt to create a new account instead.

Click on Security, Logins, right-click and select New Login.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Enter the login name, password and uncheck Enforce password expiration.  Also select the default database as VIM_VCDB.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

On the User Mapping area, select VIM_VCDB and check the db_owner option and click OK.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Grant the user sysadmin rights in Server Roles.

vCenter_6_SQL_Express_Upgrade_05b

Remember to restart the SQL Server instance for mixed-mode authentication to take effect.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

System DSN Configuration

Now we will need to proceed to edit the System DSN.  Firstly, we need to stop the VMware VirtualCenter Server service.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Launch the ODBC Administrator from Administrative tools, click on the VMware vCenter System DSN and click Configure.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Click Next.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Check the SQL authentication option, enter the login ID created above and password.  Click Next.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Click Next.  As we have configure the default database to be VIM_VCDB, the default database is already configured for us.  Otherwise, you will need to select it now.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Click Finish.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Click Test Data Source.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Ensure the test is successful.  If not, review the previous steps.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Registry Configuration

Next, we will need to adjust the registry.  Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware VirtualCenter and change DbServerType to Custom.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Change registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware VirtualCenter\DB key 2 with value vcenter.  This is the name of the SQL account we created above.  If you utilized a different account, use that account instead.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Database Password

Next we will need to reset the database password by running the following command:

C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\VirtualCenter Server\vpxd.exe -p

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

You will be prompted to enter the password utilized for the vcenter account twice.  This is the SQL user password.

VMware vCenter 6 SQL Express Upgrade

Verification

Restart the VMware VirtualCenter Server service and ensure that you can logon to vCenter using the client.

vCenter_6_SQL_Express_Upgrade_21

Proceed to upgrade vCenter to version 6.

Reference

VMware KB Upgrading to vCenter Server 6.0 without migrating SQL database to vPostgres (2109321)

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