In place upgrades are not advisable for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that it is often a very complex process to switch back if needed and it doesn't provide a good way to test the upgrade without impacting the existing site.
In our case, we created a brand new farm for SharePoint 2010 along with two new databases instances (one for search and one for everything else) and then copied the content databases from the 2007 farm to the 2010 and did the DB Attach upgrade. Not only does that give you total control over the process but it also lets you easily attempt the upgrade any number of times should something go wrong. It also lets you completely test the converted site without impacting users of the live site. When everything is ready just tell your DNS folks to change the mapping from the 2007 farm to the 2010 farm which makes it appear as an 'instant' upgrade to end users.
This approach also lets you correct any configuration issues that might exist in the 2007 farm and are otherwise complex to correct. This would be things like using the wrong service accounts or forgetting to use SQL Aliases instead of actual database names during the installation of SharePoint.
Here is the official starting point for planning such an upgrade.