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upgrade ESX 4.0 to ESXi4.4 u 1

Posted on 2011-03-10
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
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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by:paulsolov
paulsolov earned 250 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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coolsport00 earned 250 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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Netscaler Common Configuration How To guides

If you use NetScaler you will want to see these guides. The NetScaler How To Guides show administrators how to get NetScaler up and configured by providing instructions for common scenarios and some not so common ones.

 
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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.
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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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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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