Upgrading from Previous Versions

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(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)

This article is about guiding you through the requirements and steps necessary to upgrade your VMM 2008 R2 SP1 to VMM 2012 R2.

There is no direct upgrade path from VMM 2008 R2 SP1 to VMM 2012 R2. You must first upgrade to VMM 2012 and then to VMM 2012 R2. VMM 2008 R2 SP1-> VMM 2012-> SCVMM 2012 SP1 -> VMM 2012 R2 is the correct upgrade path.

Upgrade notes:

  • VMM 2012 cannot be upgraded directly to VMM 2012 R2. Upgrading it to VMM 2012 SP1 is required

  • VMM 2012 can be installed on a Windows 2008 Server

  • VMM 2012 SP1 requires Windows 2012

  • VMM 2012 R2 requires minimum Windows 2012 (Windows 2012 R2 is recommended)

  • Windows 2012 hosts can be managed by VMM 2012 SP1

  • Windows 2012 R2 hosts require VMM 2012 R2

  • System Center App Controller versions must match the VMM version

To debug a VMM installation, the logs are located in %ProgramData%VMMLogs, and you can use the CMTrace.exe tool to monitor the content of the files in real time, including SetupWizard.log and vmmServer.log.

VMM 2012 Architecture, VMM 2012 is a huge product upgrade, and there have been many improvements.

This article only covers the VMM upgrade.

If you have a previous version of System Center family components installed on your environment, make sure you follow the upgrade and installation. System Center 2012 R2 has some new components, in which the installation order is also critical. It is critical that you take the steps documented by Microsoft in Upgrade Sequencing for System Center 2012 R2 at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=328675 and use the following upgrade order:

  • Service Management Automation

  • Orchestrator

  • Service Manager

  • Data Protection Manager (DPM)

  • Operations Manager

  • Configuration Manager

  • Virtual Machine Manager (VMM)

  • App Controller

  • Service Provider Foundation

  • Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server

  • Service Bus Clouds

  • Windows Azure Pack

  • Service Reporting

Reviewing the upgrade options

This recipe will guide you through the upgrade options for VMM 2012 R2. Keep in mind that there is no direct upgrade path from VMM 2008 R2 to VMM 2012 R2.

How to do it…

Read through the following recommendations in order to upgrade your current VMM installation.

In-place upgrade from VMM 2008 R2 SP1 to VMM 2012

Use this method if your system meets the requirements for a VMM 2012 upgrade and you want to deploy it on the same server. The supported VMM version to upgrade from is VMM 2008 R2 SP1. If you need to upgrade VMM 2008 R2 to VMM 2008 R2 SP1, refer to http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=197099.

In addition, keep in mind that if you are running the SQL Server Express version, you will need to upgrade SQL Server to a fully supported version beforehand as the Express version is not supported in VMM 2012.

Once the system requirements are met and all of the prerequisites are installed, the upgrade process is straightforward. To follow the detailed recipe, refer to the Upgrading to VMM 2012 R2 recipe.

Upgrading from 2008 R2 SP1 to VMM 2012 on a different computer

Sometimes, you may not be able to do an in-place upgrade to VMM 2012 or even to VMM 2012 SP1. In this case, it is recommended that you use the following instructions:

  1. Uninstall the current VMM that retains the database and then restore the database on a supported version of SQL Server.

  2. Next, install the VMM 2012 prerequisites on a new server (or on the same server, as long it meets the hardware and OS requirements).

  3. Finally, install VMM 2012, providing the retained database information on the Database configuration dialog, and the VMM setup will upgrade the database. When the install process is finished, upgrade the Hyper-V hosts with the latest VMM agents.

The following figure illustrates the upgrade process from VMM 2008 R2 SP1 to VMM 2012:

When performing an upgrade from VMM 2008 R2 SP1 with a local VMM database to a different server, the encrypted data will not be preserved as the encryption keys are stored locally. The same rule applies when upgrading from VMM 2012 to VMM 2012 SP1 and from VMM 2012 SP1 to VMM 2012 R2 and not using Distributed Key Management (DKM) in VMM 2012.

Upgrading from VMM 2012 to VMM 2012 SP1

To upgrade to VMM 2012 SP1, you should already have VMM 2012 up and running. VMM 2012 SP1 requires a Windows Server 2012 and Windows ADK 8.0. If planning an in-place upgrade, back up the VMM database; uninstall VMM 2012 and App Controller (if applicable), retaining the database; perform an OS upgrade; and then install VMM 2012 SP1 and App Controller.

Upgrading from VMM 2012 SP1 to VMM 2012 R2

To upgrade to VMM 2012 R2, you should already have VMM 2012 SP1 up and running. VMM 2012 R2 requires minimum Windows Server 2012 as the OS (Windows 2012 R2 is recommended) and Windows ADK 8.1. If planning an in-place upgrade, back up the VMM database; uninstall VMM 2012 SP1 and App Controller (if applicable), retaining the database; perform an OS upgrade; and then install VMM 2012 R2 and App Controller.

Some more planning considerations are as follows:

  • Virtual Server 2005 R2: VMM 2012 does not support Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 anymore.

    If you have Virtual Server 2005 R2 or an unsupported ESXi version running and have not removed these hosts before the upgrade, they will be removed automatically during the upgrade process.

  • VMware ESX and vCenter: For VMM 2012, the supported versions of VMware are from ESXi 3.5 to ESXi 4.1 and vCenter 4.1. For VMM 2012 SP1/R2, the supported VMware versions are from ESXi 4.1 to ESXi 5.1, and vCenter 4.1 to 5.0.

  • SQL Server Express: This is not supported since VMM 2012. A full version is required.

  • Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO): The PRO configurations are not retained during an upgrade to VMM 2012. If you have an Operations Manager (SCOM) integration configured, it will be removed during the upgrade process. Once the upgrade process is finished, you can integrate SCOM with VMM.

  • Library server: Since VMM 2012, VMM does not support a library server on Windows Server 2003. If you have it running and continue with the upgrade, you will not be able to use it. To use the same library server in VMM 2012, move it to a server running a supported OS before starting the upgrade.

  • Choosing a service account and DKM settings during an upgrade: During an upgrade to VMM 2012, on the Configure service account and distributed key management page of the setup, you are required to create a VMM service account (preferably a domain account) and choose whether you want to use DKM to store the encryption keys in Active Directory (AD).

  • Make sure to log on with the same account that was used during the VMM 2008 R2 installation: This needs to be done because, in some situations after the upgrade, the encrypted data (for example, the passwords in the templates) may not be available depending on the selected VMM service account, and you will be required to re-enter it manually.

  • For the service account, you can use either the Local System account or a domain account: This is the recommended option, but when deploying a highly available VMM management server, the only option available is a domain account.

    Note that DKM is not available with the versions prior to VMM 2012.

  • Upgrading to a highly available VMM 2012: If you’re thinking of upgrading to a High Available (HA) VMM, consider the following:

    • Failover Cluster: You must deploy the failover cluster before starting the upgrade.

    • VMM database: You cannot deploy the SQL Server for the VMM database on highly available VMM management servers. If you plan on upgrading the current VMM Server to an HA VMM, you need to first move the database to another server. As a best practice, it is recommended that you have the SQL Server cluster separated from the VMM cluster.

    • Library server: In a production or High Available environment, you need to consider all of the VMM components to be High Available as well, and not only the VMM management server. After upgrading to an HA VMM management server, it is recommended, as a best practice, that you relocate the VMM library to a clustered file server. In order to keep the custom fields and properties of the saved VMs, deploy those VMs to a host and save them to a new VMM 2012 library.

    • VMM Self-Service Portal: This is not supported since VMM 2012 SP1. It is recommended that you install System Center App Controller instead.

How it works…

There are two methods to upgrade to VMM 2012 from VMM 2008 R2 SP1: an in-place upgrade and upgrading to another server. Before starting, review the initial steps and the VMM 2012 prerequisites and perform a full backup of the VMM database.

Uninstall VMM 2008 R2 SP1 (retaining the data) and restore the VMM database to another SQL Server running a supported version. During the installation, point to that database in order to have it upgraded. After the upgrade is finished, upgrade the host agents.

VMM will be rolled back automatically in the event of a failure during the upgrade process and reverted to its original installation/configuration.

There’s more…

The names of the VMM services have been changed in VMM 2012. If you have any applications or scripts that refer to these service names, update them accordingly as shown in the following table:

VMM version

VMM service display name

Service name

2008 R2 SP1

Virtual Machine Manager



Virtual Machine Manager Agent


2012 / 2012 SP1/ 2012 R2

System Center Virtual Machine Manager



System Center Virtual Machine Manager Agent


See also


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