vCenter SSO 5.5 Backwards Compatability: Mixed Mode Install

While at a post #vFourmAU event last week a group of us where talking about SSO in vCenter 5.1 and what a disaster it had been (credibility wise) and that VMware had done their best to improve the experience in the 5.5 release. Out of that conversation came word that if people where looking to upgrade from 4.x or 5.0 to 5.1 as an interim step to 5.5, you could install SSO 5.5 in that 5.1 Environment so as not to go through the relative pain that SSO 5.1 brings to the table…that is to say SSO 5.5 was backwards compatible.

http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2013/10/backwards-compatible.html

That post above goes through a little background and case examples where it might be relevant to run SSO 5.5 mixed in with vCenter5.1.

While I have been doing a bunch of upgrade testing in the ZettaGrid Labs for 5.0 to 5.1/5.5 Upgrades I thought I’d go through the process of installing SSO 5.5 into the environment before upgrading the rest of the vCenter components to 5.1. My main driver here was the opportunity to not have to configure an SSO database and to be ahead of the game when it comes time to jump to 5.5.

vCenter 5.0 to 5.1 Upgrade Mixed Mode SSO 5.5 Install:

Load up the vCenter 5.5 Installer and select vCenter Single Sign On Install. You can see I’m running this installer on a vCenter 5.0 Update 2 instance. The aim here is to have this version upgraded to 5.1 while utilizing the mixed mode capability of SSO 5.5

Run through the installer as you would for a standard SSO 5.5 install

One of the differences to point out here with SSO 5.5 is that the infamous [email protected] account has been replaced with a domain name, in this case I’m rolling with the default vsphere.local domain.

Much like an AD install, you have the ability to choose the default first site name…which does use Default-First-Site is left unchanged.

Once the SSO Service has been installed you can swap out the vSphere 5.5 Media for the 5.1 version and proceed with the upgrade of the Inventory Service and the Upgrade of vCenter it’s self. Both installs ask you for the SSO information relating to the SSO service as shown below. 5.1 will default to [email protected] so you need to modify that to reflect the account details as configured during the SSO 5.5 installer.

Once both the Inventory Service and vCenter have been upgraded, the final step for mixed mode is to install the vCenter 5.5 Web Client as the 5.1 Web Client will not recognise the SSO 5.5 install so you will be unable to modify the Configuration until it’s installed. I did run into a few issues with the install from a 5.0 environment, but that was more due to the fact that I had expired certs in the 5.0 Web Client SSL Folder, which the 5.5 installer checks and than attempts to copy into the new install location. While on the vCenter Single Sign On Information page I got an error saying the SSL cert was invalid, however it was not reflecting the Lookup Service URL as you would assume…but actually doing a check against c:\ProgramData\VMware\vSphere Web Client\ssl\rui.crt which it validates and copies to the new install location.

Once installed it’s business as usual and we have a fully operational mixed mode environment ready for action.