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ESX 3.5 Upgrade to ESX 4.1

Posted on 2011-02-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Currently we have 2 Virtual Centers. A vCenter 2.5 and vSphere 4.1. Can the ESX servers share the shared storage between the ESX 4 and ESX 3.5 hosts in different Virtual centers?
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Question by:SRYAN
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LVL 125
ID: 34891537
Yes. (migration is then easier, because you can vMotion off one ESX 3.5 host to a ESX 4.1 host)

Upgrade Virtual Hardware, and VMware Tools and migration complete.
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:flyingsky
ID: 34891548
Do you mind explain what you want to achiev more clearly? I don't seem to be able to understand your question. Thanks.
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Author Comment

by:SRYAN
ID: 34891614
vMotion will not work because the VMs are managed by 2 different Virtual Centers (vCenter2.5 and vSphere4).

My goal is to migrate the VMs from vCenter 2.5 to vShpere 4.

My question is if I added the storage that the ESX 3.5 servers are using in the vCenter 2.5 to the ESX servers in the vSphere 4 infrastructure would this cause any issues? I could then shut down the VMs running in vCenter 2.5. Remove then from inventory and import then into the vSphere 4 environment.
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LVL 18

Assisted Solution

by:flyingsky
flyingsky earned 664 total points
ID: 34891680
ESX4.1(that's the version I tested) will be able to see the LUN that is connected to your ESX3.5, it will be able to see the VMFS file system and all the VMs on the LUN will not be destroyed.
That being said, you can disconnect the LUN from your storage managment software, but NEVER delete the data storage from any ESX host. Deleting DS from host will destroy anything on it.
Hope this helps.
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LVL 125
ID: 34891711
Remove the hosts from VC 2.5.

Add hosts to VC 4.0

vMotion.

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LVL 125
ID: 34891723
or, you could use VMware Converter to MIgrate and Convert from VMs on VC 2.5/ESX 3.5 to new VMs on VC 4.0/ESX 4.1.

this would then give you a roll back position if all went wrong.
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Expert Comment

by:flyingsky
ID: 34891745
A side note to hanccocka's suggestion, in order for the VC4 to manage his ESX3.5 host, you need to setup a license server, which is not needed after you upgrade to 4.1
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 668 total points
ID: 34891770
ESX 3.5 and 4.1 hosts can share the same datastores with no issues.

I would

1.install your new ESX 4.1 hosts
2. install vSphere vCenter 4.1.
3. add new ESX 4.1 hosts to vCenter 4.1.
4. present existing storage LUNs to new ESX 4.1 hosts.
5. remove ESX 3.5 hosts from VC 3.5.
6. add ESX 3.5 hosts to vSphere 4.1
7. vMotion VMs to new hosts. (check CPU compatibility between ESX 3.5 servers and 4.1 servers, e.g. Intel & AMD, do not mix and need more work!)
8. Install and Upgrade VMware Tools on VMs.
9. Upgrade Virtual Hardware.


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LVL 125
ID: 34891783
he should already have license server which is currently giving licenses to ESX 3.5!

but this also needs specifying in vSphere 4.0 config after migration.
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Author Comment

by:SRYAN
ID: 34891797
My Plan:

1. We are currently running ESX 3.5 servers in vCenter 2.5 the virtual machines run on LUN A, B, and C.
2. Present LUNs A, B, and C to ESX 4.1 servers running in vSphere 4 (a new Virtual Center).
3. Shutdown and remove from inventory a VM from ESX 3.5 (vCenter 2.5).
4. Browse data store from ESX 4.1 server (in vShpere 4) and import VM from the share storage on LUN A, B, or, C. Now the Virtual machine running from a different host in a different Virtual Center and has been moved to the new environment.

Will sharing the storage between 2 different Virtual Centers and ESX versions cause any issues?
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:flyingsky
ID: 34891845
Your plan should work no problem. You may want to upgrade the vm hardware version and VM tools after.
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LVL 125
ID: 34891967
if you have no VMotion, or don't trust it yes, that will work, more work but yes.

No issues with storage.
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Assisted Solution

by:VMwareGuy
VMwareGuy earned 668 total points
ID: 34897992
Lots of good stuff, seems like you are over complicating what is right in front of you and very easy.  the only tricky thing is if you plan to run version 4 VMs (ESX 3.5) in the new vSphere 4.1 you will need to maintain a 3.5 license server.  

Hanccocka above had the best plan, but forgot to mention that vCenter 4.1 and any vSphere ESX host must be built on 64bit hardware,  same for the VMware update manager if you use it.  When you move to 4.1 it is best to plan to move everything to 4.1 and not leave anything behind, it will create headaches.  

1)  Build out new servers with vSphere ESX 4.1 and zone them to see the same storage LUNs as what ESX 3.5 is using.

2) Build out new version of vCenter 4.1

3) Add the new 4.1 hosts to the new vCenter 4.1

4) Remove the 3.5 hosts from virtual center 2.5 and then add them to the new vCenter 4.1

5)  if you have vmotion, leverage it to move the 3.5 VMs over the vSphere 4.1 hosts:  if you don't have vmotion do the remove from inventory from 3.5 and add them to the 4.1 inventory, this requires down time of course where as vmotion doesn't.

6)  once the 3.5 VMs are running on the 4.1 hosts, you will need downtime to upgrade the VM tools and virtual hardware to version 7.  

Done deal, end of story.   This is easy stuff, don't make it complicated for yourself.  The only complication is the need for the 3.5 license server if you plan of running 3.5 VMs on the 4.1 hosts, don't do it, the headache won't be worth it, I've done it, the mixed license server thing is a pain in the ass, it may take you an hour of mucking around with the config to get it set right, the documentation on how to do it sucks.  

 
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