Migrating ESXi 3.5 virtual machines to 4.0 version on the same host

Hi,

I have existing ESXi 3.5 host with 3 virtual machines on it. Host runs on 4 internal SATA disks, which form RAID 10 array.
Now, I bought 2 additional 15k rpm SAS disks, which I will put into host and will form RAID 1 array. I also added 16 GB of RAM to host.

Well, my intention is to get the best of the host regarding performance, so I wish to:
- use newly inserted SAS disks in RAID 1 array as root for all my VM's
- use old SATA RAID 10 array as storage array for VM's (like 2nd partioins for DATA, for example)

So, I am looking for best plan how to migrate existing hosts to new confgiguration under the same host machine.
Should I install ESXi 4.0 fresh new on new SAS RAID1 array, and then somehow pull out existing VM's from old SATA RAID 10 array, and convert them? Is this a good idea?

Suggestion welcome!
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Andrej PirmanAsked:
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ryder0707Commented:
- after I install new ESXi 4.0 on new SAS RAID1, this RAID1 will be boot array, and old VM's will be just files on old RAID10 array. Which toold should I use to move them over to new RAID1 store?
A: Datastore browser via the vSphere client, you have the option to move folder/files

- also, since all old VM's together are larger than new RAID1 store, will it be possible to resize VM's while moving them from old RAID10 to new RAID1?
A: Do you mean thick to thin disk? Yes you can while doing storage vmotion

-how to upgrade virtual hardware?
- Using latest vSphere client, login to your esxi4 and right click any VM in the inventory to upgrade the virtual hardware
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ryder0707Commented:
Yeah you can do that if you dont mind to reconfigure the host
So raid 1 for esxi4 with its own default local datastore and 2nd datastore based on the raid10
Once the new esxi4 is ready, register all VMs, upgrade vmware tools & upgrade virtual hardware, you might want to write down guest ip config as you would want to use the latest paravirtualized network driver vmxnet3 vNIC, so you will have to remove the existing vNIC and reconfigure their IP settings
But before you do anything, i suggest to backup all the VMs image to a safe location
You can easily download them using veeam fastscp
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Andrej PirmanAuthor Commented:
Thank you for fast reply!

Well, much more clear, but still need to check procedure:
- after I install new ESXi 4.0 on new SAS RAID1, this RAID1 will be boot array, and old VM's will be just files on old RAID10 array. Which toold should I use to move them over to new RAID1 store?
- also, since all old VM's together are larger than new RAID1 store, will it be possible to resize VM's while moving them from old RAID10 to new RAID1?
- and most important - how to upgrade virtual hardware?

Thanks a lot!
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Andrej PirmanAuthor Commented:
Hmmm...
I installed ESXi 4.0 on new RAID1 array, and sucessfully connected to it with vSphere client. But I cannot find an option to import virtual machines...

I moved 1 VM from old RAID10 store to new RAID1 store, and operation was sucess.
But in vSphere client I cannot see this VM, neither an option to import it.

I am running ESXi, not ESX, so I do not have vMotion.
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Andrej PirmanAuthor Commented:
Ups...I found it!
Browse new datastore (where moved VM is now), right-click on .vmx file of VM and select "Add to inventory".

But as you say...just in case...I'll backup all VM's first :)
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Andrej PirmanAuthor Commented:
Yax...ok, I think I've got the principle.
Since my old VMs are alltogether 800 GB, but actually using only 100 GB, I first need to relogin into old ESXi 3.5 and edit all VM disk settings to use smaller disks. Only then I'll be able to:
- first, run new ESXi 4.0
- then move over all VM's from old RAID10 datastore to new RAID 1 datastore
- add moved VMs to new ESXi 4.0 inventory
- upgrade VMtools
- and finally reconfigure VMs on OS level to use primary partitions (located on small-but-fast RAID 1) only for system, and add 2nd partitions to VMs for use as data store

Did I get it right?
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ryder0707Commented:
"I first need to relogin into old ESXi 3.5 and edit all VM disk settings to use smaller disks."
How you plan on doing this exactly? You can't just change from thick to thin manually, it wont work
Either you use vmware converter to change the disk size or make them thin disk during sVmotion

Also be careful when installing esxi, it will wipe out your target disk clean, that is why always backup before you start

The rest is fine except you missed to upgrade the virtual hardware :)
Let me know if any part is not clear
Cheers!
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Andrej PirmanAuthor Commented:
Thanx, everything is clear. :)

...except tiny detail, which is that I don't have sVmotion. Is it free? And does it work on ESXi?
Because the main problem is, that I only have 20/20 Mbps optical line to the server, so using Converter on 300 GB VM disk would take days to finish :)

What I did now is "Add to inventory" all those old VMs from old RAID 10 datastore, and run them with new ESXi 4.0. When I find out how to convert them remotelly with reasonable speed, I'll migrate all of them to ESXi 4.0 datastore and update hardware.
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ryder0707Commented:
Yes for sure, its free during eval and eval is for 60 days so you have 2 months to try it :)
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Andrej PirmanAuthor Commented:
Thanx for advice
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