Upgrade VMware 4.1 to 5.1 Essentials Plus

I am planning an upgrade from VMware 4.1 to 5.1. and have 3 esxi host with a windows Vcenter Server.
 
I want to do a fresh install in order to get past the 2 TB disk read limit. Also I don't want any down time.
 
Here is my plan...
 
1. Vmotion everything off ESXi host # 1 and leave ESXi host 2 & 3 in production.
 
2. Remove ESXi Host # 1 from the cluster
 
3. Erase ESXi Host # 1 with a fresh install of VMware 5.1.
 
4. Setup a new windows Vcenter 5.1 Server on ESXi Host # 1
 
5. Attach to one of the remaining 4.1 host and migrate VMs over to the new 5.1.
 
Is step 5 possible?

6. Erase 1 of the remaining ESXi 4.1 host with a fresh install of VMware 5.1 and start building a new cluster.
 
Does anyone see any flaws in this plan, or have any suggestions?
 
Thanks!
dheinmillerAsked:
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coolsport00Connect With a Mentor Commented:
What I would do first is build your vCenter Server; If you're wanting to do everything from scratch, just build up a new Windows VM (if not done already) & install vCenter & the components). By the way, the upgrade is, from a high-level, fairly straight-forward, but from a vCenter Server & vCenter Server "component" level, quite extensive. You need to make sure you have self-signed or CA certs ready. Get vCenter & all components installed, go through the "cert process", import the certs into all vCenter components, then upgrade the remainder of your infrastructure - i.e. Hosts & VMs.

Also, as far as your storage goes, to make 'clean' upgrade to VMFS5, I recommend using Storage VMotion to move VMs off each datastore then re-add them back with the new file system. Once upgraded, you migrate VMs back onto it (them).

Also, when done upgrading each Host, add the Host in the Cluster so you can migrate VMs back on to it to be able to perform uprade on the other Hosts, but do NOT yet upgrade VMware Tools or Virtual Hardware on the VMs until ALL HOSTS are upgraded. That way, your VMs can migrate to legacy Hosts in the event of high-resource usage in the Cluster (i.e. DRS event) or a Host failure (HA event).

Regards,
~coolsport00
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bluedanCommented:
Yes, it would worked and step 5 will work because vCenter 5.1 suppprts ESXi 4.1
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coolsport00Connect With a Mentor Commented:
A good blog to use is Derek Seaman's blog as he goes through each step of the install/SSL import process:
http://www.derekseaman.com/2012/09/vmware-vcenter-51-installation-part-1.html

~coolsport00
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, Step 5 is possible, seems a good plan.

Check the HCL, ESXi 5.1 requirements have changed alot since 4.x.
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