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Can vcenter 4 manage vsphere 5 esxi hosts?

Posted on 2011-09-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Can vcenter 4 manage vsphere 5 esxi hosts?

We have vCenter 4 and some vSphere 4 Ent Plus hosts. Half of our vSphere 4 Ent Plus licenses were upgraded to vSphere 5 Ent Plus.

Can I upgrade my ESXi 4 hosts to ESXi 5 and still be able to manage them with vCenter 4? Or do we also need to purchase or upgrade our vCenter 4 license?
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Question by:mike_lfcu
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:danm66
ID: 36550181
no.  always upgrade your vcenter server first
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LVL 118
ID: 36550200
You will need to install vCenter Server 5.0 on a Windows server, or a quicker method would be to download the new vCenter 5.0 Server Appliance.

BE WARNED. The vCenter 5.0 Upgrade/Migration of vCenter Server 4.x is problematic, possibly leaving you with no vCenter functioning Server.
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LVL 118
ID: 36550222
I would be intrested to know, as an aside, why you have upgraded to ESXi 5.0, so quickly? Is there a specific new feature in ESXi 5.0, you require?
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LVL 118
ID: 36550244
See here for EE user, where vCenter upgrade has gone wrong....
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/Q_27312257.html

and as Consultants, we've seen many more of these in the wild, go horribly wrong!

Our Advice, at present is to hold off any vSphere 5.0 upgrades at present, new installs of ESXi 5.0/vCenter 5.0 - okay.

VMware Tools issues, Windows 8 issues it's a bit of a mess.
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Author Comment

by:mike_lfcu
ID: 36550283
@hanccocka we were upgraded to these licenses from a order screwup with VMware. We originally just needed some vSphere 4 licenses upgraded to vSphere 4 Ent Plus, to match some other licenses we have...

From what I'm hearing, these new 5 keys are useless until I have a vCenter 5.0 license.
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LVL 118

Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 250 total points
ID: 36550348
ESXi 5.0 requires vCenter 5.0. - that's the deal.

you can execersie a downgrade right (there are downgrade rights, and in light of vSphere 5.0 issues, and also vRAM Tax, believe are quite helpful here!).
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LVL 118
ID: 36550355
oh, you have NO vSphere vCenter 5.0 License?

If you have Support and Subscription, you should qualify?
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LVL 118
ID: 36550361
you should qualify for upgrade, and should have the vCenter 5.0 License Key, in the Licenses, if you login and check your VMware Account.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:danm66
ID: 36550441
VMware only sells licenses for the current/latest version... so ,like hanccocka said, log into the vmware license management page, and downgrade your vSphere 5 licenses to 4.x licenses and then you can import those into vCenter's license manager and license your new 4.x hosts.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:danm66
ID: 36550454
I just went through the same thing a couple of days ago for 2 new hosts.  it's not a big deal except that vmware's license management site is a pain to navigate unless you use it alot.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 36550540
Best plan of action I found was as follows.

Create A NEW Server with VCenter 5 on it.
Detatch each host from your VCenter 4 and attach it to your new vcenter 5, repeat for all Hosts
Now with each host on your VCenter 5 server you can:

Put host into maintenance mode, All vm's migrate to other hosts.
power off host, put in a DVD with the ESXi5 ISO on it and boot
Do a CLEAN install of ESX5i on host
configure host settings etc
ensure cluster is using host.
Repeat for each Host until all hosts have ESXi5 on them

Worked a treat in my environment. Didn't trust the UPGRADE route of either VCenter or ESXi. And we were running all systems without issue in a day.

ONLY issue we have is with VRanger backup not working correctly buts thats another story......
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Author Closing Comment

by:mike_lfcu
ID: 36550773
This worked! Looks like I can upgrade back to 5 when we're ready too.
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