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Upgrade from VMWare ESX 3.5 to ESXi 5.0

Posted on 2011-09-15
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
Hi!

I have one 64bits hardware with VMWare ESX 3.5 installed with severall virtualized guests. They are stored in a local storage within the server.
I want to upgrade to ESXi 5.0.

My question:

- If I move or relocate the virtual machines to an extenal storage connected to the ESX by iSCSI, then do a fresh install of the ESXi 5.0 in the same server.... will I be able to import again the VMs to the local storage and use them without problems?

- If possible, can I move or relocate the ESX 3.5 VMs without VCenter? What's the best way to do it?
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Question by:rafaeldemartin
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by:Luciano Patrão
Luciano Patrão earned 50 total points
ID: 36543769
Hi

You can import the VMs into the new vSphere install without any problem.

But be aware of some issues regarding new features. Also virtual Hardware and VMware tools, will be upgraded(when you choose to).

Upgrading to Virtual Hardware 8, can encounter some issues in Windows 2008 servers(with disk boot).

Jail
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36543772
First/foremost, verify your hardware is supported for v.5 on VMware's HCL.


1. Yes, you can migrate, then reimport the VMs to the local datastore after you upgrade

2. The best way to do this is with Veeam FastSCP (a SCP tool from Veeam). You have to power down the VMs, then copy them to the storage you want. Once you're done upgrading, copy the VMs to your host, go into each VM folder, rt-click on the .vmx file and select Add to Inventory. Once the VMs are added, you'll need to upgrade VMware Tools.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36543775
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36543782
Actually, that was a 'cached' search. Here is a 'reset' HCL URL:
http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?deviceCategory=server
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by:rafaeldemartin
ID: 36543815
Thank you very much for the quick answer!

I checked and my HW is supported but I will re-verify :)

I have several Windows 2008 R2 servers, which issues can I encounter? Can I prevent them?
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ID: 36543882
No need to move any of your servers. (although make sure you have valid backups).

Shutdown your Virtual Machines, Install ESXi 5.0 to a USB/SD card.

Boot ESXi 5.0, it will find your existing VMFS3 datastore, Browse the datastore and VM folders, Right Cick and Add the Virtual Machines to the Inventory.

Upgrade Time - 5 - 30 mins.
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ID: 36543900
Personally, at present as there are issues with VMware Tools, Windows 2008 R2, I would not change *ANYTHING* on your Virtual Machines, and Leave at Version 4.0!

Or hold off your eager upgrade, and wait for VMware to get all this correct!

e.g. VMware Tools issues, Windows 8 Lack of Support, the list continues, Be Warned if you go to ESXi 5.0 in Production, EE will not be able to help you! (or VMware Support), until U1 is out!
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36543902
Good catch @hanccocka. Yes, you don't "have" to move your VMs, as during the install process, you'll be asked if you want to overwrite your existing datastore. I almost never recommend that to posters SOLELY for the fact as a precaution and the potential to overwrite data/VMs. So @rafaeldemartin, if you can remember to NOT overwrite your existing datastore, as @hanccocka mentions, no need to move your VMs. Once you've completed the install, you can add them back to inventory as I suggested above.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36543910
Unless there's a 'need' to go to v.5, I would just recommend going with 4.1. you can then upgrade to 5 when the bugs are hashed out...
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by:rafaeldemartin
ID: 36544126
So, let me see if I understood...and ask some more questions...

1- Better to install ESXi 4.1 U1 untill 5.x is fully tested, right?

2- Install ESXi to a USB card and boot my server from it (off course after the backup of my VMs) --- I found this link to do it http://www.vladan.fr/how-to-install-esxi-40-on-usb-memory-key/  --- do you recommend another one?

3- After booting from the USB drive, upgrade VMs HW and tools to 4.1.

4- I will boot the new ESXi 4.1 U1 from the USB drive but ESX 3.5 will keep installed on the server's hd, right? What happens if after the upgrade, somehow the server boots from the HD instead of the USB drive? Will I be in trouble?

5- When installing updates to the ESXi, will it be allways installed to the USB drive?
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coolsport00 earned 225 total points
ID: 36544230
1. Yes
2. Yes, you can use that site, and VMware has a KB as well
3. Yes
4. Yes, IF you do an upgrade. What I personally recommend is doing a clean install of 4.1. That wipes out everything and provides a fresh install of the current version. So, what you do after you move or b/u your VMs, is go into the Config tab and document all your configs. After your ESXi install, you have a reference of all your configs and reconfiguration won't take as long (not that it's long to begin with).
5. Yes.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36544232
Here's the KB on USB:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1020655
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 225 total points
ID: 36544385
3- After booting from the USB drive, upgrade VMs HW and tools to 4.1.

NO, I would not do this straight away there is no need, your virtual machines will run fine, you'll just not have the ability to use new features of a version 4.0 VM.

Test, wait, and then when you are happy proceed, this way, you can always role back.

What's the hurry, in upgrading.....do not rush take it easy...
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ID: 36544395
If you set the BOOT method on your server, the default will be to BOOT from the USB flash drive.
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by:rafaeldemartin
ID: 36544409
Thank you very much for all your help!
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by:Luciano Patrão
ID: 36545085
Hi

Sorry that my first answer was a bit simple, but I was in a hurry when I write the answer. But as always the rest of the guys add a real help and provide a more detailed answers.

Jail
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