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upgrade ESX 4.0 to ESXi4.4 u 1

Posted on 2011-03-10
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I have been researching to see if we could upgrade our ESX 4.0 hosts to the newest version 4.1 U1.

 I checked to see if our hardware would be compatible with 4.4 U1.

They are. We have (2) PowerEdge 2950III and (2) PowerEdge R710.

 I was told to update the Bios and firmware to the latest versions.
 I was told to turn on VT with in the BIOS.

Here are my questions:

1. If we upgraded to 4.1 U1, would the ESXi servers  only be able to host 64-bit VMs or would I be able to migrate back my 32-bit VMs.

2. Is it better to upgrade or to do a clean install?

3. I have already download Esxi 4.1 U1 and vsphere 4.U1 Installable, which it downloaded an iso image. Is this what I am to download to do the upgrade?

4. What is the best way to upgrade from ESX 4.0 32-bit to Esxi 4.1 U1 64-bit?

5. If I turned on the VT within BIOS, using Esx 4.0, would I be able to host existing 32-bit and create 64-bit virtual machines?

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Question by:MECIT
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10 Comments
 
LVL 42

Assisted Solution

by:paulsolov
paulsolov earned 1000 total points
ID: 35099086
1. If we upgraded to 4.1 U1, would the ESXi servers  only be able to host 64-bit VMs or would I be able to migrate back my 32-bit VMs.

32 bit VMs are have no issues with 4.0 or 4.1

2. Is it better to upgrade or to do a clean install?

If possible, always.  If you want to be proactive install ESXi as after this version it will be ESXi only and you will need to do a clean version anyway.  If you do it now you'll be able to do an in place upgrade

3. I have already download Esxi 4.1 U1 and vsphere 4.U1 Installable, which it downloaded an iso image. Is this what I am to download to do the upgrade?

If you want to go with ESXi then yest


4. What is the best way to upgrade from ESX 4.0 32-bit to Esxi 4.1 U1 64-bit?

ESX 4.0 is 64 bit already just as ESXi 4.1.  Clean install is the only way

5. If I turned on the VT within BIOS, using Esx 4.0, would I be able to host existing 32-bit and create 64-bit virtual machines?

Yes, no issues


Keep in mind before you do anything upgrade vCenter to 4.1.  If you have vCenter on a 32 bit server you'll need to install on a Windows x64 box or wipe and reload
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LVL 40

Accepted Solution

by:
coolsport00 earned 1000 total points
ID: 35099132
1. Yes, you can certainly use 32-bit VMs. It's just the hypervisor, since the advent of vSphere (4.x) requires the host to be 64-bit.
2. Always better to do a clean install
3. There is an 'update' install, and an 'update 1 ISO (installable)'. The ISO is for a (re)install and the smaller download is the upgrade file. (used with update mgr typically)
4. Best way - if you have vmotion, migrate VMs off your host. Take note of your host configs (under configuration tab -> ntwkg, dns/routing, VM startup/shutdown, etc.), install the new version, reconfig your host, migrate VMs back, upgrade VMware Tools on your VMs.
I Highly recommend you go through the upgrade guide, though:
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r41/vsp_41_upgrade_guide.pdf
Also, you have to upgrade vCenter, if you have that. The vCenter Windows OS needs to be 64-bit.
5. Yes...enabling VT is req'd for creating/having 64-bit VMs.

Hope that helps.

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:MECIT
ID: 35099147
If I am not able to power on a 64-bit vm , would it be because I do not have VT enabled in the BIOS.

if that is the case, I should turn it on then create a 64-bit vm and install vCenter 4.1 and then upgrade to Esxi 4.1.
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35099161
Typically, yes. You can power it on, but you'll get an error about CPU not supporting 64-bit guest OS.

2nd question...yes, if you want to use vCenter within a VM. I think most do, but not all. (I do)

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:MECIT
ID: 35099282
What is the best way to update the BIOS and firware to the newest version?

Correct me if I'm Wrong:

1. Copy Configurations on Host
2. Update BIOS and Firmware
3. Enable VT within BIOS
4. Boot of .iso image to load 4.1.U1
5. Configure host
6. Create vm (64-Bit) for vCenter
7. Migrate some servers back over to host
8. Upgrade VMTools on all my VMs
9. Done

What about DRS and HA ? I probably will have to reconfigure these options as well.
 
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Author Comment

by:MECIT
ID: 35109769
If I have a MD300i attched to the ESX hosts, would I have to update the firmware on the SAN before I upgrade the hosts to 4.1 U1.
0
 
LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35109797
For your prev post...that looks ok, but again, I *highly* recommend going through the Upgrade Guide.

Yes, you will have to recreate/reconfigure your Cluster.

For your next post - No.
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Author Comment

by:MECIT
ID: 35109938
I will go and review the upgade guide before any changes are made.

For now, if I enabled VT in the bios it should not affect our current environment. I wanted to test out the Data Recovery within vmware but the vm is a 64-bit.

What would be the best way to reboot the esx host to get into the bios?
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35109951
No, it won't affect it negatively.

Put host in Maint Mode, then rt-click on it and select reboot.

~coolsport00
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Author Closing Comment

by:MECIT
ID: 35109991
I appreciate everyones help. Thank you
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