Best way to upgrade ESXi 5.0 to 5.1

Hi,

Is it better or easier to upgrade using Update Manager - or just boot esxi 5.1 ISO from CD and reinstall

Is there any advantage at all in using Update Manager for the host upgrade?. Ie retain network settings? or other settings.
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philb19Asked:
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coolsport00Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Sorry for the delay...was past my bedtime :) You need to upgrade vCenter Server software on your VM FIRST, yes. THEN upgrade the Host it resides on, & all others.

When you upgrade your Hosts via VUM, VUM needs to 'push' the ISO to your Hosts for the upgrade. Since it's several hundred MB in size (over 300MB), upgrading Hosts via VUM could take a little while...about the amt of time you experienced.

As far as having different ESXi versions - well, it doesn't really hurt much of anything. The tendency to frown upon such configurations is due to the potential of running into feature discrepancies between Hosts....or at least VMs as far as Virtual Hardware and VMware Tools versions of VMs go. To see if vCenter is upgraded, log into vCenter with the vSphere Client and click on vCenter in the left pane (far top vCenter object) and then look at its version/Build number on the right just above the tabs. That'll tell ya. Also, you may not see W2012 if you're not on 5.1 U1...I think the U1 version is when 2012 began to be supported.

Regards.
~coolsport00
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ecarboneCommented:
Personally, I use the 5.1 iso. Boot from that, and it will upgrade 5.0
In my opinion, if you have a small number of hosts, this is the easiest way to go.

Once 5.1 is installed, upgrade vSphere Server and the clients and update manager.

Once that is done, you can use upgrade manager to download patches.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If you currently use and are familiar with VMware Update Manager - use it!

otherwise BOOT from CDROM/DVD ESXi Installer and perform an Upgrade, it will not overwrite the VMFS partition or VMs.

Make sure you use the correct version, e.g. download HP, IBM or DELL OEM versions from the vendsors website, if you hardware matches.

5.1 U1 is the latest version from VMware.
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coolsport00Commented:
To answer your question explicitly...yes; using VUM allows retention of Host configuration settings (NTP, Networks, etc.). If you do a reinstall (which is typically what I do), it's a 'fresh' install with NO residual (legacy) versions retained on the Host. If you have a small environment (i.e. less than say 5-6 Hosts), you could choose either VUM or using an ISO. The decision on which to use is really just a matter of preference. You'll have just about the same amt of downtime regardless of which upgrade method you choose, because you obviously can't upgrade all your Hosts...you need 1-2 (or more, again depending on your env size) to keep your VMs up while upgrading your Hosts.

Before transferring to the org I'm currently with, at my old org...I only had 4 Hosts, so it was easy for me to just use an ISO, install ESXi (only took 8-9mins), then config'd my settings in the Config tab (another 10mins'ish). My current org I have 13 Hosts & I still do the same....again, because I like 'fresh' installs. My configurations aren't extensive. And, if you do use some advanced features in your infrastructure, like vDS...remember vDS is a vCenter configuration, not Host. So, you'll retain that configuration. And that reminds me, don't forget to upgrade vCenter 1st before doing your Hosts.

Good luck!
Regards,
~coolsport00

p.s. I'm sure you've probably done so, but don't forget to check your Host hardware on VMware's HCL just to make sure it's compatible.
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philb19Author Commented:
Thanks I was going to use ISO from vmware - is this not ok?  I have Dell servers do I need to download from them? Generic esxi 5.1 or Dell model spacific ?   Also when you say upgrade vsphere server what is this ? You just mean vcenter server upgrade with vmtools?
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ecarboneCommented:
When I updated esxi on my dell T620, I used the iso from dell. It was modified to include the drivers.
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coolsport00Commented:
Yep..it is ok; but what the vendor-specific ISOs provide is, not really drivers per se as much as it supposedly incorporates ability to monitor your hardware (openmanage?). Most necessary drives are already in the VMware-provided ISOs. And, I think you can download vendor-specific ISOs from VMware as well. I did that with my HP server. It didn't have Insight Mgr embedded with it though, so I'm thinking that's what you may get by downloading from the vendor specifically (the needed addt'l pkgs to monitor your server hardware).

Yes, upgrade vCenter *SERVER* before your Hosts, assuming you use vCenter. If not, then it's a moot point.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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philb19Author Commented:
Still confused with this
Yes, upgrade vCenter *SERVER* before your Hosts, assuming you use vCenter. If not, then it's a moot point.


I have Vcenter on a VM. So Im guessing i just upgrade the host it resides on. -when you upgrade vcentre Vm - you just mean the vmtools?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You need to download VMware vCenter Server 5.1 (not VMware Tools), and Perform an in-place Upgrade (not the easiest of upgrades to perform, it can often fail!).

You need to uprade vCenter first to support ESXi 5.1!

then you can upgrade your hosts from 5.0 to 5.1.
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ecarboneCommented:
The Dell-specific ISO does not contain OpenManage.
It contains drivers specific to the server you are installing ESXi on.

There may be another ISO that DOES contain OpenManage. Not sure.

But Dell support insisted that I use their ISO vs the 'standard' ISO from vmware.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
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philb19Author Commented:
Hancock - thanks again.

2 things

1 I did the upgrade today with update manager. - took a while hung on 22 % host appeared to disconnect for 20 minutes. But eventually all was good. I used the iso from Vmware. all appears to be working.

2. We have added a new host that came from dell with esxi 5.1. It was introduced to cluster while i was away. Everything worked but i understand its not good to have mix of different esxi in the cluster - hence the upgrades im doing now. I dont believe the vcenter server is or has been upgraded to vcenter 5.1 - how do i tell.? Everything appears to be working. 1 thing is i dont see the option to install windows 2012- pehaps maybe all hosts in cluster are not at 5.1 YET!
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ecarboneCommented:
If you launch the vSphere client then go to Help | About, you will see the version of the vSphere client as well as the vCenter Server.

Also, regarding 2012 ... check out this article:
http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2006859
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ecarboneCommented:
cool ... 5.0U1 is when 2012 was first supported. I think that's what you meant  ;-)
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coolsport00Commented:
@ecarbone - no...actually meant 5.1 U1 as I wasn't sure. (didn't verify) Thanks for the clarification :)

~coolsport00
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philb19Author Commented:
thanks looks like i have 5.1.0 vcenter server and client - fromhelp about in client
so with 2012 windows - i have running already done by choosing win2008r2 during install all is working ok - dont know if i have 5.1 update 1 installed ? what version number is that?
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ecarboneCommented:
This article shows the version numbers that are part of U1, and it also shows the order in which components should be installed:

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2037630
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You need to install vCenter 5.1!
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philb19Author Commented:
previous post - I stated I did have vcenter 5.1.0?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, whoops, it does not really matter if you use the Windows 2012 or Windows 2008 R2 template to install Windows 2012.

ESXi 5.1 U1 is Build 1065491

vCenter Server 5.1 Update 1 is either 1064983 or 1065152
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