VMWARE - Upgrade vsphere 4.1 to 5.1

Hi all,


We are just in the process of adding 2 new ESX hosts which will be connected to our existing vcenter server across a WAN froma remote site. Im thinking it will make sense to install 5.1 but Im going to have to upgrade my existing Vcenter server to do this. My question is which would be easiest:

1) Would it be easier to install a new vshere server to manage the 2 remote hosts so that they are separately managed.

2) In order to add the host under my existing vsphere cluster it will have to be upgraded to 5.1. Is this process worth doing just to add the 2 new remote hosts?

Hope this makes sense.
MJB2011Asked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You will need to check your Licenses at MyVMware for licenses for vCenter Server 5.1 and ESXi 5.1.

You existing vSphere 4.x ESXi licenses will still be valid, but you will need a new  vCenter Server 5.1 license.
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Paul SolovyovskyConnect With a Mentor Senior IT AdvisorCommented:
I would upgrade the current vCenter since 5.1 has a lot of new features and is more stable.  To add another vCenter server would require an additional license and if you can minimize the cost that is a benefit.  

Either option will work but if you're on 5.1 in both environments it makes troubleshooting much easier since you don't have disparate versions of the same software running.
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MJB2011Author Commented:
OK thanks thats what I was thinking.

OK the process of upgrading 4.1 - I know there is KB's on VMware. Do you have any recommended guides? things to look out for etc?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
1. Not really, with vCenter Server 5.1 comes a little more effort in the installation! Also check your WAN latency and speed, otherwise your vSphere ESXi 5.1 servers will become disconnected. Becuase VMware now have SSO!

2. Yes to support ESXi 5.1 you will need to upgrade to VMware vSphere vCenter 5.1.

Also make sure your servers support ESXi 5.1.

Check the VMware HCL (Hardware Compatability Lists) here

http://www.vmware.com/go/hcl

So what new features do you require of 5.1 at present?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Check the VMware HCL (Hardware Compatability Lists) here

http://www.vmware.com/go/hcl
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Complete the vCenter 5.1 upgrade, if you are going to do it, and then use Update Manager to update your hosts.
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MJB2011Author Commented:
In terms of managing ESX hosts across a WAN I know its probably not recommended and they probably will be come disconnected at some point but I would still prefer to manage all Hosts from a single Vsphere server where possible.

Hardware is fine.
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
You should be able to, just make sure you create another datacenter for it.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
you could always Link to vCenters via Linked Mode!
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MJB2011Author Commented:
OK will check that out.

I cant seem to find the vcenter install for 5.1 they all seem to be appliance installs which is all very confusing. Does anyone have a link to the 5.1 upgrade download?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
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MJB2011Author Commented:
THanks for that.

One more question. Im not going to upgrade the existing 4.1 hosts until we have budget. If I upgrade vsphere to 5.1 will more existing hosts and licences still be valid? The point of the upgrade is obviously to add the 2 new hosts.
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