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ESXi 3.5 to 4.1 free

Posted on 2011-09-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I want to do an upgrade on esxi 3.5 server to 4.1 free. There are 2 guest machines that I really want to protect during the upgrade process. is this a pretty straight forward upgrade? how should I back up these incase that I need to restore them? what about configuration ? is that all going to be retained after the upgrade? will the datastore get formatted? anything that I should watch out for?
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Question by:Delmiroc
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14 Comments
 
LVL 122
ID: 36552538
Checkout my Backup Guide to see how you can backup

VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide

The easiest method is to complete the upgrade to a USB Flash drive or SD card, this will then not change any thing on the existing disk, and you have a rollback plan.

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

Once, you have installed, the new ESXi 4.1 installation will detect the existing datastore, and you can then just add your VMs to the Inventory. (Browse Datastore, Right Click VMX file, and Add to Inventory).
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coolsport00 earned 1600 total points
ID: 36552847
You can either use the Datastore Browser or Veeam FastSCP (http://www.veeam.com/vmware-esxi-fastscp.html), or WinSCP (http://winscp.net/eng/download.php) to connect to your host and do a copy/paste of the VMs to some storage location. You 1st have to enable SSH on your ESX 3i host (see here how to do so: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1003677).

If you can remember to do so, what you can do is just do a reinstall using the current 4.1 version and, when the install detects you have a current VMFS volume, make sure you select to KEEP it (in other words, do not overwrite it). I recommend as @hanccocka suggests and do the install on a USB and SEPARATE your datastore storage from your hypervisor install.

So, let's answer your questions explicitly....
-Just as a precaution, I would make a copy of your VMs using either of the few methods above. Your VMs will need to be powered down to do the copies though.
-Is the upgrade easy? Well, I recommend ou install 4.1 on a USB. Since you copied your VMs to another source, what I suggest you do is remove the datastore which will wipe it clean of the old hypervisor (3i) and free up all the space on your disk (***NOTE: THIS WILL DELETE YOUR VMs, SO AGAIN, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A COPY OF YOUR VMs BEFORE DOING THIS). You can then re-add the storage (which will reformat it as well), & you can copy the VMs back to the datastore using 1 of the above methods. When the copy is complete, go into the Datastore Browser window, go into each VM folder, rt-click on the .vmx file and select 'Add to Inventory'. If you are prompted if you copied/moved the VM, select the appropriate option. (copied would be fine)
-For your host (ESXi) configuration, doing a reinstall will wipe this out. So, what I suggest is document your configs. Since it's a single host, and you're not using vCenter, I suspect there isn't much to configure. I would suggest to use vCLI to potentially copy your ESXi configs, then restore them to 4.1, but not sure that works with legacy version to vSphere version.
-IF you only want to do anything as mentioned above, but just upgrade, look at one of these 2 easy pictorial blog on how to do so
http://cisconet.com/os/vmware/505-how-to-upgrade-free-esxi-35-to-esxi-40.html
http://technodrone.blogspot.com/2009/05/esx3i-to-esx4i-update.html

Let us know if you need further assistance.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:prak_seafarer
ID: 36553896
the vm does not get effected by the upgrade. you can take ovf templates of these vm's as backup and upgrade the esxi. alternately what u can do is if a shared datastore is there you can move the vm's to that datastore and upgrade the esxi one by one.

-prakash.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:S00007359
ID: 36556150
do u have a single esxi server managed by vi cleint or multiple esxi hosts managed with vcenter.? please advsei so i can provide some alternative ideas
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Author Comment

by:Delmiroc
ID: 36556264
I have 2 esxi servers, they are not managed by vcenter. They are both esxi 3.5. I just want to do an upgrade and keep it as simple and as safe as possible. I thought that migrating the guest to the other esxi with the vm converter would be safe. My question is once I have moved guests to one of esxi 3.5 servers can I move them back to now upgraded 4.1 esxi?



Thanks,
Delmiro
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 36556323
Yes; then you can upgrade hardware & tools on the VMs.

~coolsport00
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LVL 122
ID: 36556324
Yes, you can do that if you wish. VMware Converter is used by some as a backup tool.
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Author Comment

by:Delmiroc
ID: 36556655
ok I will give it a try later this week..let you guys know how it goes.
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Author Comment

by:Delmiroc
ID: 36556683
I should have probably asked this to begin with but can someone tell me what are really the benefits of upgrading from esxi 3.5 to 4.1 ... we aren't using iscsi or vmotion or anything fancy like that.. I've heard that they are some improvements on the network utilization anything else? Thanks!
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LVL 122

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 400 total points
ID: 36556801
Later support for new Operating Systems. If you do not require any of the new features, do not uprade.
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LVL 40

Assisted Solution

by:coolsport00
coolsport00 earned 1600 total points
ID: 36556808
One of the biggest reasons is potential USB support, but if your host doesn't support it, no real reason to upgrade...at least with the amt of VMs you have. There are some minor performance enhancements, but again, nothing you would notice.
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Author Comment

by:Delmiroc
ID: 36556810
ok thanks
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:S00007359
ID: 36557476
Another thing u can do it to use veeam backup - 30 day trail. backup your vm's to usb or on a share, and then import them in the second esxi host.

upgrade ur first esxi host and see how it goes.

cheers
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:Delmiroc
ID: 36718501
Thanks
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