How to Fix vCenter 5.5 upgrade to 6.0 VCSServiceManager failed with error code 1603?

I decided to upgrade my home lab‘s vcenter 5.5 to 6.0 few days ago and what I thought would be a straight forward process turned into a 3 days of researching and scratching my head as to what was wrong with the upgrade and more troubling, what was I doing wrong? I knew that with fresh install, vCenter 6.0 installs fine, and I upgraded from vCenter 5.1 to 5.5 without any problems last year. From the logs and error messages, the cause of the issue was not so clear. I mean, “VCSServiceManager failed with error code 1603” doesn’t tell me much. The installation throws that error at the end of the upgrade process and just before that, there is this error about “Microsoft OLE DB Procder for ODBC Drivers,” related to the SQL/DSN:

vmware-vcenter-6.0-install-dsn-permission-error-01There is a hint about permissions issue so I looked at the DSN, it looked fine. Here is the screenshot of the error:  Installation of component VCSServiceManager failed with error code ‘1603’. Check the logs for more details.

VCSServiceManager failed with error code '1603'.
VCSServiceManager failed with error code ‘1603’.

So, after a lot of searching and reading vsphere 6.0 documentation, forum posts where users are having same issue and VMware vCenter release notes tell you to reset the ipv4 stack, none of that helped. I know that my user permissions as far as the server and domain were correct. Then I decided to look into the SQL portion of the puzzle and I realized that the domain user being used to install vCenter 5.5 was not sysadmin on the SQL server. I changed the user Server Roles to sysadmin and upgrade finished just fine. Here is the screenshot of the SQL Server management Studio changes:

vmware-vcenter-6.0-install-VCSServiceManager-error_SQL-permissions-02Successful upgrade:

vmware-vcenter-6.0-install-VCSServiceManager-error_success-upgrade-03When doing any upgrade, remember to make sufficient backup of the data, database and other configuration items. If your vcenter is a VM, make sure to take snapshot of the Virtual Machine before proceeding with the upgrade.

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