VMWare ESX UPgrade

Jack_son_
Jack_son_ used Ask the Experts™
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WHat is an easy way to upgrade to ESX 4.1, also while migrating this to a new physical server?
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Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Easiest thing to do is just do a complete reinstall. Just document your host configs, then install from fresh...

~coolsport00

Author

Commented:
okay, would this affect the hosts or VM's, i'm guessing it would just affect the overall management?
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
The host and posssibly the VMs. If your VMs are on a SAN, simply disconnect the SAN from your host to mitigate the potential of overwriting your VMFS volume (datastore). If your VMs are local, just migrate them (vCenter Converter Standalone, Veeam FastSCP, WinSCP, or Datastore Browser works) off, do the upgrade, then migrate them back.
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Author

Commented:
so would have to shut down the entire system and all the vm's?  

what about just doing the upgrade to 4.1, would this be less of an outage?

Commented:
use update manager in vcenter server to update to esx4.1

Commented:
you would still need to shutdown the vm's I think
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
Whether you use Update Mgr or not, there will be some downtime; can't get around that cuz the host would need to go in maintenance mode and VMs powered down....or migrated off. Do you have only 1 host? If not, just transfer your VMs to a 2nd host while you do the install. The downtime will be migrating the VMs off your host, UNLESS you have VMotion. If you dont have it, then you'll need to power down VMs and, if you have vCenter, do a cold migration (should only take a minute to migrate). If you don't have vCenter, then you'll have to do a simple copy/paste using Veeam FastSCP or WinSCP (both free tools), or you could use vCenter Converter Standalone (free) to copy/convert them to a new datastore location/host, which keeps the orig VM live while the conversion goes on, minimizing downtime. You repeat the procedure moving the VMs back to the updated host, then you need to update the VMware Tools on each VM (requires a reboot).

Hope that helps.

~coolsport00

Author

Commented:
okay, thanks.  Also, how about updating the management server and database to 4.1?
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
vCenter? Well, you should really do your vCenter Server 1st. Is it a 64bit OS already? Is it a local DB or remote (on SQL or Oracle)? I *highly* recommend looking through the Upgrade Guide (http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r41/vsp_41_upgrade_guide.pdf), and even looking at these videos (only about 7mins long each I think) on the different parts of upgrading:
http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/upgrade-center/resources.html.

Hope that helps...

~coolsport00
Commented:
In the upgrade we did from 2.5 to 4.1 VC we had the DB copied to another SQL box.
Build a new 64 Windows R2 server installed VC 4.1 on it connected to the DB and then made a a license server for the ESX 3.5 hosts, disconnected the hosts (one at a time) from the 2.5 VC and connected the hosts into the 4.1 VC.
Then upgrade hosts from 3.5 to 4.1 as we went along.

One thing if using DRS make sure DRS is set to manual before even coping the DB.  Otherwise the VC goes nuts when bring the hosts in with VM's on them.

Author

Commented:
Okay, thanks for the info.  When I do the VCenter server, will this cause any issues, I'm guessing it will just affect the Management or will I need to shut down all the VM's?
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
It shouldnt as it is backward compatible: http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r40/vsp_compatibility_matrix.pdf (see pg. 3). No need to shut down VMs when doing vCenter. VMs are on a host, not vCenter. Go thru those videos...i watched them last yr...really good :)

Author

Commented:
Also, would this affect licensing in any way from ver 4.0 to 4.1?
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
No..
Commented:
The central management of the VM's is unavailable until the VC on-line again and the hosts will need to be connected which bring in the VM's on the hosts.  If DRS is being used it will unavailable, HA is suppose to still work.
One can still manage the hosts and vm's if necessary be pointing the vi-client at a host.

Author

Commented:
okay, thanks, so the impact would be to: DRS and management.  The hosts, VM's and datastores would not be impacted.  Also, if I move it to a new server during the upgrade, will this still hold true?
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
VMs/datastores not impacted if you select to not overwrite VMFS during install. Moving to a nrw server? Same steps pretty much hold true. I think I've really answered all that you're needing. If you have any other questions/problems, please open a new post.

Thanks.
~coolsport00

Author

Commented:
okay, thanks again!

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