ESXi 5.0 or 5.1 - Upgrading to 5.5

Have a client running ESXi 5.0 and 5.1 want to upgrade them all to 5.5 to take advantage of the additional memory capacity.

1.) What is involved?
2.) Is it difficult?
3.) Does anyone have documentation the outlines the steps and the process?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
My EE Article, I've written applies to ESXi 5.0 and ESXi 5.1.

HOW TO: Upgrade from VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.1 to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.5 for FREE

1.) What is involved?

It can be done in a few ways, Interactive Upgrade using the CDROM, e.g. download the ISO, Burn to CDROM, Boot Server from CDROM, follow the Wizard, and Upgrade, taking note when asked to PRESERVE VMFS (so you do not overwrite your datastore containing your VMs!)

Or, you can see my EE Article, and perform and offline bundle upgrade, you can also use Update Manager, if you use it.

2.) Is it difficult?

Very easy. See my EE Article or BOOT from CDROM.

3.) Does anyone have documentation the outlines the steps and the process?

See my EE Article.

and make sure that your servers are on the VMware HCL for ESXI 5.5.

VMware KB: Methods for upgrading to ESXi 5.5

Also if you are using vCenter Server 5.0, you will need to upgrade to vCenter 5.5 first.

VMware KB: Installing or upgrading to ESXi 5.5 best practices

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What is you servers? HP or DELL?
tech911Author Commented:

IBM and Dell are a little older (IBM 3650 and 3550, Dell PE 2950's

I will check docs and advise, thank you.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You should be using the OEM version of ESXi 5.0, 5.1 and 5.5, which are downloads from the Vendors websites.

If you have used them before!
I would be careful on the HP unless they are Gen 8 servers. We had a really bad time with some DL380 G6 servers with 5.5 U1. VMware could not dome up with the answer and HP's answer did not work either. On 4 different machines we kept getting PSOD.  We used the HP build updated firmware nothing worked. That was a few months ago they may have worked it out since then I am not sure. We rolled back to 5.1 U2 no problems since.
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