VMware Upgrade

Hi everyone,

I am planning an upgrade of our current VI3 architecture. We are currently running version 3.0.1 build 42829. Virtual center is currently at 2.0.1

We are going to be upgrading to version 3.5 update 4, and VC 2.5

Our current environment consists of two ESX hosts in one cluster. We have DRS, Vmotion, HA, and approximately 40 VM's.

ESX hosts boot from local drives (mirror SAS). VM's are residing on four SAN datastores.

I have been going over the steps I believe need to be done, but just wanted to see if anyone sees any errors or perhaps ran into some gotchas that I may be overlooking.

Here is my attack plan:

1. Backup all VM's with Vranger and complete a file level backup with Backup exec
2. Backup the VC database
3. Upgrade SQL from version 2000 to 2008. I have already run the SQL upgrade advisor
4. Turn off all VM's (everyone will be out of the office and prod will be down)
5. Patch both ESX hosts as per KB http://kb.vmware.com/kb/7557441
6. Upgrade Virtual center to version 2.5
7. Install new VI client on admin stations
8. Upgrade any outdated firmware on ESX hosts (IBM x3650's)
9. Upgrade ESX hosts to version 3.5
10. Test

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks!!
Syntax-MontrealAsked:
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robocatCommented:

Looks fine.

If your servers have enough free resources, there's even no need to power down the VM's.

Just put one host in maintenance mode and let it move all VM's to the other machine. Upgrade this host and move the VM's back.  Do the same for the other host.

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3nerdsCommented:
I don't see any flaws in what you are planning. When I did our upgrade from 3.0 to 3.5, I upgraded VC to 2.5 and then moved all of the VM's to one server. Upgraded the server that was empty to 3.5, migrated all of them over to the host now running 3.5 and then upgraded the other 3.0 server.

Although I did not need to do any DB work during all of this.

Good Luck,

3nerds
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Syntax-MontrealAuthor Commented:
I am thinking of using vmotion to move them all to one server, but I am not sure one host can handle the load.
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robocatCommented:


Even if not all vm's can be handled by one host, perhaps you could only shutdown the non-essential servers and ensure availability of the critical servers.

It all depends on your business needs.

A quick look at the free resources on each server should tell you what is possible.
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3nerdsCommented:
Also you said that you have HA running. HA won't allow you to bring up more VM's then it feels the other boxes in the cluster can handle should one fail. Seeing that you only have 2 in the cluster if HA is running you should be ok.

Regards,

3nerds
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vmwarun - ArunCommented:
Please note that SQL Server 2008 is not a supported DB in VirtualCenter 2.5.

Check Page 19 of this doc -
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_35/esx_3/r35u2/vi3_35_25_u2_installation_guide.pdf


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za_mkhIT ManagerCommented:
Your logic is fine!
Can I ask if you are going through all the pain now, why not just use this opportunity to upgrade to vSphere? BTW vCenter 4 supports SQL 2008
 
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vmwarun - ArunCommented:
za_mkh has again stolen my words :-)

I concur with his ideas of directly upgrading to vSphere 4.0
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Syntax-MontrealAuthor Commented:
Can a straight upgrade be done to vSphere, or must I go to version 3.5 first, then to vSphere.

Any licensing changes?
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3nerdsCommented:
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r40/vsp_40_upgrade_guide.pdf

You can update directly.

Regards,

3nerds
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robocatCommented:

I would strongly recommend against upgrading any production environment to vSphere 4.0 at this time.

The product has only been released very recently, and it is against best practices to do upgrade to a product until it has been proven to contain no major issues.  You should always wait a few months after a release before upgrading, otherwise you could be confronted with unexpected behavior, data loss, incompatibilties with 3rd party products, ...

Stick to 3.5 update 4 for now, this is a proven and very stable release.



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za_mkhIT ManagerCommented:
Yeah Robocat point is valid too!
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