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Migrating from ESX 3.5 to ESX4.1 or ESXi4.1?

Posted on 2010-08-24
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Last Modified: 2013-11-11
Hi,

We would like our current ESX 3.5 servers.

We have some questions about the migration paths specially now that they have just released ESX 4.1.

Here are the questions:

1.) What would be the easiest way to go from 3.5 to ESX 4.1
2.) Are ESX 4.1 and ESXi4.1 different platforms? If yes, how do we migrate from 3.5 to ESX 4i? Can we migrate from 3.5 to ESX 4 and then move to ESX4i? Or does ESX4i needs to be installed from scratch?
3.) We want to migrate ASAP and we understand that perhaps installing from scratch will be require extra work. Are there any mayor adventages of going with ESXi4.1 compared to ESX4.1?

Thank you.
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Question by:llarava
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coolsport00 earned 250 total points
ID: 33513718
1. The easiest way, IMO, is to disconnect your SAN, or whatever storage you have data/VMs on and do a fresh installation. This does a couple things -> a. it's fresh...not potential for upgrade failure/issues; b. it's easy :)

2. Yes ESX and ESXi 4.1 are different. See Comparisons here: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1023990; The main difference between the 2 is the addition of the service console in ESX. But, with the next major release, ESX will be going away & only ESXi will be offered.

3. Major advantage of going with ESXi is the fact that you won't have to migrate to ESXi later when ESX is done away with. The only extra work involved with installing from scratch is reconfiguring your hosts. Since v. 4.1 has a VMDK the config files are on, there is now no easy way to backup your current configs then restore them to your new hosts. Now, though my recommendation is to do fresh installs, you can indeed do an upgrade via Update Manager. It's just not my preferred method. I also recommend reviewing VMware's Upgrade resources:
http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/upgrade-center/resources.html
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r41/vsp_41_upgrade_guide.pdf

Regards,
~coolsport00
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by:bgoering
bgoering earned 250 total points
ID: 33513797
If you have vCenter and Update Manager use that to upgrade your ESX hosts from 3.5 to 4.1.

As coolsport00 indicated they are different platforms and architectures so far as the management functions are concerned - see his link.

VMware has stated that 4.1 is the last release for for the ESX platform - however they haven't provided an easy upgrade path from ESX to ESXi - It is an install and start from scratch.

I just performed the upgrade and elected to stay with ESX figuring that whenever the discontinue ESX a better upgrade path will be provided. You can look at the thread I created for it here: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/Q_26382678.html

Good Luck
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