If you are interested in VMware View, you might have noticed that version 5.1 came out recently.  You might also know that it contains some eagerly awaited enhancements like View Storage Accelerator, Improved Persona Management options and ability to have a standalone View Composer machine, amongst other things.  For those reasons, I thought I should upgrade my 5.0.1 environment to 5.1 and play with it.  Before I did that, however, I made sure to go through the VMware View 5.1 Upgrade Guide to check for any compatibility issues before starting (by looking at the compatibility matrix) as you don’t want to upgrade, only to lose access/functionality due to compatibility issues.  It also helped me have an overview of the process and the order in which things should be upgraded.

As always, the guide mentioned above is the definitive document that you should be referring to, when looking to upgrade a production environment but if you’re looking for a quick overview of the process, here are some quick notes I took during the upgrade.  Think of it as an overview of the process.  Please note that these steps assume that only the View environment needs upgrading.  If your environment needs a compatible version of vSphere/vCenter as well then please refer to the upgrade document mentioned above for further details.


  • Look at the upgrade guide first.  Check out the compatibility matrix and read the upgrade overview chapter, as a minimum.
  • Make sure the existing environment is working as expected.  There is nothing worse than hitting a problem and not knowing if the problem existed before or not.
  • Ensure that backups of all servers concerned (if configured) were successful on the previous night.
  • Shutdown all servers that will receive an upgraded component (if possible) and take snapshots of all of them (to be deleted once the upgrade is successful and functionality is confirmed).
  • If View clients older than 5.0.1 are being used in the environment, it would be best to upgrade them first to 5.1 as otherwise, the clients will lose connectivity after the upgrade, until they are upgraded to the correct version.

Connection Server Upgrade:

  • Once ready, go to the first connection server to be upgraded and log into the View Administrator Console.
  • View Composer operations such as refreshing, recomposing, desktop provisioning etc. are not supported while the environment is being upgraded.  So, make sure all such operations are disabled, until the entire environment has been upgraded, verified and updated agents have been deployed.
  • If possible, it’s good to have all pools disabled.
  • Confirm that all upgrade prerequisites are met.
  • If there are security servers present, go to “More Commands” in the “View Configuration > Servers” section, and select “Prepare for Upgrade or Reinstallation”.  Do that for each security server in the environment.  As IPSec configuration changes after the upgrade, this step is necessary to break that relationship, to re-establish later on after the upgrade.  If the pairing is not broken now, it fails when re-establishing the pairing later after the upgrade.  Please note that this step is only necessary for installations where IPSec is used to protect traffic between the two servers.  If it’s not enabled then the option mentioned above won’t be enabled.
  • Check if Windows Firewall with Advanced Security is set to “On” for all profiles.
  • If there are more than one connection servers, stop the “View Connection Server” Service on all servers.  Do not stop VMwareVDMDS Service as it’s required for the upgrade.
  • Run the installer (VMware-viewconnectionserver-x86_64-5.1.0-704644.exe).
  • On the welcome screen, click “Next” to continue.
  • Accept the EULA and click “Next” to continue.
  • As this version requires that trusted CA-issued certificates are used for vCenter and Composer, a warning message comes up, saying that either valid certificates should be provided or after the upgrade, the self-certified certificates should be accepted as valid, before the servers can be used again.  Click “OK” to dismiss that warning and continue.
  • On the next screen, enter a “Data Recovery” password and confirm.  This is to provide backup of the View Connection server, in case disaster strikes.  After the password has been entered, click “Next” to continue.
  • On the following screen, keep the default “Configure Windows Firewall automatically” and click “Next” to continue.
  • On the next screen, choose the preferred option regarding sharing of information on the “User Experience Improvement Program”.  Click “Next” to continue.
  • At this point, the program is ready to run the installer.  Click “Next” to start the upgrade.
  • The upgrade takes a few minutes.  Once complete, click “Finish” to complete the upgrade, optionally going through the “Readme” file.
  • Once upgraded, double-click “View Administrator Console”.  The splash screen should come up and now it also shows the version information.  Make sure it says: Version 5.1.0 (704644).  The same information can also be seen after logging into the View Connection Server and checking the “About” section (as in previous versions).
  • After the upgrade, the Connection server, View Composer and vCenter Servers all show up as red.  That’s OK for now until either certificates from a trusted CA are installed on those machines or their self-certified certificates are accepted as valid.  Click on the vCenter Server in the right-hand pane and details come up, showing a warning message about having an “Untrusted Certificate”.  If the plan is to install a trusted certificate, then don’t press “Verify”.  Otherwise, click it.  A box comes up, announcing that the certificate is invalid and clicking “View Certificate…” reveals more information.  Click “Accept” at the bottom to accept the self-signed certificate as being valid.  Doing that should turn the vCenter server icon green (refresh the dashboard if it doesn’t).  For the connection server, it’s OK to be red as client connection attempts to the server should still succeed.
  • Make sure that the license is present in its usual place and valid.
  • If disabled, enable a pool and verify that the desktop can be reached using the connection server.  Version 5.0.1 client should work fine with the new 5.1 connection server but if you have older ones, then I hope you read the preparation section correctly and upgraded the clients before upgrade.  If the connection was successful, then so was the upgrade.
  • If there are more than one connection server to upgrade in the environment, stop the “View Connection Server” service on the server just upgraded and start repeating the same upgrade steps for all remaining servers.
  • Copy the GPO templates from a View server to the DCs for management.

I can confirm that the upgrade also fixes the problem that View 5.0.1 (build 640055) admins faced after an upgrade, when the View Administrator Console presented a blank page and nothing appeared.  The fix was to use admin-<build number>.swf file from a previous version e.g. 5.0, which worked fine.  The problem/solution is documented here.  I reproduced the problem in my environment before upgrading and the problem doesn’t exhibit itself after the upgrade.

That pretty much covers the connection server upgrade process.  If successful up until now, then upgrade is going well and the following steps are quite simple to follow.  Don’t continue if there are issues and especially any major ones.  It’s important that they are resolved before continuing as rolling back from here will be comparatively much easier than to rollback with more servers upgraded.

Since this is a lot of text already (especially if you’re reading from a mobile client!), I’ll break this post into two and hopefully will be able to post the second part of this article soon, which will discuss upgrading the other components of a View setup with some post-upgrade considerations.

Update: Part II of this post is out now.  Click here to read it.