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Install vmware ESXi 5.1, have existing ESXi 4.0

I am currently running vmware ESXi 4.1 on a Dell PowerEdge T610.  It is installed on the internal SD card on the server.  There are 2 datastores on the local Hard Drives on the server.  Both contain several VM's.

I want run ESXi 5.1 on this server instead of the current version.  How I want to perform this installation would be to remove the current SD card containinig ESXi 4.0 and put in a new SD card and install ESXi 5.1.  I would rather do a clean install than have to upgade the current version.  

My questions are:

Will the new installation effect any of the exsiting datastores?

Will the datastores containing the VM's still be able to opened and run when the new installaion is installed?

I was told I would need to recreate the networking (virtual switches, ip address for the host) will this create any problems for the current VM's?

Is there anything I can do to make sure the existing datastore are not deleted or altered, so that they won't become unoperational?

If anything goes wrong can I just fall back to the old SD card with the current version of ESXi 4.0 and be right back up and running?

Any help would be appreicated here.  If somebody thinks there is an easier way then please suggest it.  Thanks!
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Michael McGuire
Asked:
Michael McGuire
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2 Solutions
 
coolsport00Commented:
While doing the reinstall, your VMs would be down. During the install, you have the option to choose "Install while preserving existing VMFS" (2nd option), and that's what you want to do.

Since you are doing a complete reinstall, yes...you'll need to reconfigure your Networking settings on the Hypervisor. Just document them before doing the install.

Yes, you should be able to just power cycle your Host and plug back in the old SD and be golden, as long as you didn't proceed too far in the upgrade, like upgrading your VMFS to v5 and upgrading VM Hardware to 8 as well as VMware Tools.

Regards.
~coolsport00
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coolsport00Commented:
BTW - I did a complete reinstall myself. I only have 3 Hosts in my environment, and no crazy network settings (very basic/standard) so recreating my settings only took about 3mins per Host....

~coolsport00
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Follow my Article here, you will have no issues with your VMs.

HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

at the end of the installation, just re-register your VMs with the Inventory.

Browse Datastore, Right Click VMX, and Add to Inventory.

Just make sure you have a valid backup of your VMs.

Check server is on the HCL

Check the VMware HCL (Hardware Compatability Lists) here

http://www.vmware.com/go/hcl
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Michael McGuireSystems AdministratorAuthor Commented:
Exellent comments from both.  Seems that everything should be fairly straight forward.
Hanccocka is there anyway to view you next article: connect and continue to configure the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1?

Thanks for everyones help!
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