Upgrading ESXi 4.1 to 5.1 today and thought I would share the Steps

1) Upgrade the Licenses by logging into myvmware.com

2) Download the new 5.1 package, and downnload Vcenter server. You can get the whole package that is about 3.4 Gb in size but it is not bootable.

3) Upgrade Vcenter Server from 4.1 to 5.1

4) once upgrade I got this message when trying to login with windows credentials.

  1. “A general system error occurred: Authorize Exception”
  2.  – To Resolve I added domain admins group and administrators group to the local admins group of the Vcenter server. See this link http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1015639

5) Got everything installed but I noticed the Web management services wasn’t starting. After troubleshooting extensively I found this to be the solution.

  1. Uninstall Vmware Consolidation manager
  2. Uninstall Vcenter Server
  3. Reinstall Vcenter Server

6) Installed and configured update manager from the 3.4Gb DVD

7) Next I noticed that there were four nics not showing up on the new host that I just introduced into my environment. After some digging I found that this was most likely the cause of some ASYNC drivers missing. This is what I did to fix it.

  1. Logged into http://myvmware.com -> Products & Downloads -> View all downloads -> VMware vSphere 5.1 -> Drivers & Tools.
  2. Searched for the driver of the NICs that weren’t showing up properly and downloaded it to my vCenter Server.
  3. Unzipped the file
  4. Opened vCenter server and went to the update manager.
  5. Selected Patch Repository
  6. Imported the Patch that I just downloaded
  7. Scanned the machine with update manager and re-mediated.

8) vMotioned all the VM’s off one ESXi host at a time so there would be very little downtime. Once they were all off I downloaded the latest vSphere 5.1 ISO file from VMware website. It should be about 300MB in size.

  1. Opened the Update manager in vCenter
  2. Selected Baselines and Groups
  3. Created a new Baseline using the 300MB .ISO file from earlier
  4. Selected the host in vCenter and went to the update manager tab
  5. Attached the new baseline to the host
  6. Hit Remediate
  7. After about 1 hour or so the host came back up and all was well.

8) Once this was done on all the Hosts I was back in business but was still running old virtual hardware. I shutdown all the VM’s and upgraded the hardware, fired them back up and was good to go.