ESX3.5 to ESX4.1 questions

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My company has asked me to look at upgrading our ESX infrastructure and have been asked to look at certain areas the hosts are ESX3.5 and are running in VC2.5 and these require to upgraded to ESX4.1 and VC4.1, I have checked the hardware and it is compatible for with ESX4.1 so that is not an issue however I have a few questions:

1. is it possible to migrate data from VC2.5 to 4.1 if so is the a best practices for doing this?

2. I have been asked to look at these areas and would like to know how best to tackle them      
VM & LUN ratio/placement?
CPU/memory resource allocation?
Define & apply ESX host firmware baseline?
Root password & usage?
Hardware alerting including HP SIM integration?

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
1. Yes, it is possible to migrate to migrate data from VC 2.5 to vCenter 4.1 U1, using the Data Migation Tool. It really depends on whether you want to keep your existing history and configuration, as to whether you want to do this, most of our clients decide, they want a new VC 4.1 U1 installation and database. Also the Data Migration Tools sometimes, fails, leaving with you to have to complete a manual installation.

Upgrade Guide

2. I'll try an answer you other areas, I'll start with the HP Systems Insight Manager, if you are using ESX 4.1, you can install the HP Systems Management agents and Systems Management Homepage, so there is no issue here for management.

Root user and password management, depends on company policy, some of our clients lock create and pasword for the root account, and then lock it in the vault, and then create new management accounts for logging into the server directly for audit purposes. (or integrate with Active Directory).

If using ESX 4.1 U1, which requires updatges, you can use VMware Update Manager in vSphere vCenter to manage and create baselines, we generally only recommend applying updates, if you have issues.

CPU/Memory Resource Allocation, - allocate what you need for VMs, and fine tune later, if over provisioning.

VM/LUN placement, every organisation has different methods, we generally prefer to allocate smaller LUNs, between 500 - 800GB, and some prefer to allocate a LUN per VM, it depends on the storage, and whether using SAN Snapshotting to recover a single VM from SAN snapshots.

Any further questions please post.

Author

Commented:
Thank you for your reply

the ESX nodes in question are standalone and there is no HA or DRS on them as they are just licensed with just ESX standard edition currently, but managed by Vcenter 2.5 so was thinking of starting a fresh as there is little config to carry over.

do you have any documentation on  setting and configuring HP Systems Insight Manager for ESX4.1?

regarding VM/LUN there are only 3 VM per node and as these nodes only have physcial storage was wondering how best to look at this really to be honest i didnt see an issue with how they were but wondered what deeper aspects I shopuld be looking at here?

what fine tuning would you recomend for the VMs I was thinking of looking at including resource pools however there is no DRS involved?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
if you have no HA or DRS involved, I would just recommend a fresh VC 4.1 install. Fresh ESX 4.1 install.

Systems Insight Manager setup is the same for adding any server with Insight Manager Agents, do you currently use Insight Manager for managing yout HP estate? because HPinsight Manager server setup and configuration, is a project in itself.

I would not use resource pools unless you are going to chargrback, of limit various departmental server to resources, otherwise distribute the resources equally.

If you only got 3 VMs per host, a single lun should be fine, but it depends on what the vms are, eg do put all exchange vms on the same lun etc also what storage underpins the LUN RAID 10 etc, Fibre Channel, or ISCSI etc
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
what are you hp servers?

Author

Commented:
the HP servers are HP Proliant ML350 G6,
the VM's are 2 DCs and unsure at this time what the other VM is

there is no SAN involved in these just local storage,  

regardinggoing for fresh ESX4.1 hosts why would you prefer this option comapred with an upgrade here?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
if it was me personally, I would switch an upgrade to ESXi 4.1 u1, small footprint installation, can be installed on usb or flash drive, leaving your local storage as datastores for VMs.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Just checking the HCL, both ESX 4.1 U1 and ESXi 4.1 U1 are supported and certified for your servers.

Your HP Management Agents are here for ESX 4.1 U1

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodTypeId=15351&prodSeriesId=3884315&prodNameId=3884316&swEnvOID=4091&swLang=8&mode=2&taskId=135&swItem=MTX-5dae61a3e2ab438ea49d717617

and Systems Management Homepage

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodTypeId=15351&prodSeriesId=3884315&prodNameId=3884316&swEnvOID=4091&swLang=8&mode=2&taskId=135&swItem=MTX-4f80ae1f7c69452a8b6fc97fc5

If you do decide to do ESXi 4.1 U1 (not the "i"), ensure you download the HP OEM version, because it has the in-built Agents, in the code, no need to install.

HP OEM ESXi 4.1 U1 download here

https://h20392.www2.hp.com/portal/swdepot/displayProductInfo.do?productNumber=HPVM06
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Compare the differences between ESX and ESXi (the replacement for ESX).
http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/esxi-and-esx/compare.html

Here is the VMware KB on installing 4.1 on USB/SD:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1020655

Any other questions, please ask.
Dariusz TykaICT Infrastructure Specialist Senior

Commented:
If you still want to migrate from 3.5 to 4.x here are some useful videos regarding this task:
http://vmwaretips.com/presentations/vc4upgrade/
http://vmwaretips.com/presentations/esxiupgrade/

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the input Ijust have one question is it possible to upgrade 3.5 ESXI servers to ESX4.1 can you mix the upgrades and or can you only upgrade ESX to ESX and ESXI to ESXI?

Thanks
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Theres not really an upgrade from the ESXi product to ESX, because they are different architectures.

the upgrade usually consists or a reinstall.

It is possible for ESXi ESX 3.5 4.0 and 4.1 servers to coexist in the same farm or datacentre
VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
Commented:
esx to esx, or esxi to esxi have upgrade packages.

but its often quicker and easier with less baggage to perform clean new installs, and refer to your documentation you have to setup hosts.

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