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Upgrading ESXi V4.1 (on USB flash drive) to ESXi V5.1

Posted on 2014-09-01
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Select Disk to Install or UpgradeAfter Choosing 1TB HDAfter Choosing USB Flash DriveHi,
 
 I have a test  VMware box with one 8GB USB flash drive and one 1 TB HD on LSI Raid Controller. I installed ESXi V4.1 on USB flash drive and created three VMs on 1TB HD. Then I proceeded to upgrade ESX. After putting ESXi V5.1 in CD-ROM, I rebooted the host.  I am stuck at the screen where I have to choose the Disk to install or Upgrade (Please see three screenshots). I think I need to select 8GB USB flash drive because that is where I installed ESXi V4.1. When I chose USB, then I have to select one of the two options on the next screen. Am I right, at least, when I choose USB flash drive?

On the next screen with USB option, do I choose Install or Force Migrate?

What are the differences between these two choices?

Thanks.
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Question by:sglee
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Accepted Solution

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Mysidia earned 668 total points
ID: 40297533
Install will do a clean installation  any existing config will be wiped during the install, and you will have to reconfigure the ESXi host from scratch.

Force migrate will proceed attempting the upgrade procedure... custom VIBs and drivers  will  no longer be present after the upgrade,  they will effectively be uninstalled.

I guess the real question should by why you have custom VIBs.
Did you use customized media when you were originally installing ESXi 4.x ?

If the custom VIBs are providing vital drivers, then the ESXi host may no longer function  regardless of whether you pick clean install or force upgrade.

In that case you may need to do a rollback to get things working again (worst case),  which may require your original ESXi 4.x installation media to   reinstall.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40297552
Did you use customized media when you were originally installing ESXi 4.x ? --> I did not customize ESXi 4.1. I just used old copy of ESX 4.1 CD (that I created a few years back) and I did not even load LSI raid controller driver.
In order to keep existing configuration with three VMs, I need to use "USB Flash drive" option and choose "Force Migrate"?
I really don't have anything to loose if things go wrong. It is a test VMware box that I set up to test "Upgrade".
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Expert Comment

by:gheist
ID: 40297774
You said ESXi is installed on flash drive. Why you are trying to make install on RAID drive instead?
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Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1332 total points
ID: 40297836
It would normally, ask you to Upgrade your installation, but it is advising that this may fail! (because of custom Vibs).

Hence it's offering you the ability to force migrate at your Risk!

Personally I would always recommend install a new installation of ESXi 5.x, rather than an upgrade, and carrying any issues forward.

If you have nothing to lose, and just testing, select Force Migrate, but only if you have a copy of the VMs.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40299223
@gheist,
"You said ESXi is installed on flash drive. Why you are trying to make install on RAID drive instead? " ---> I was just making sure.

I chose "Force Migrate" and it went smooth. After upgrading to 5.1 was complete, all VMs came up just fine except "Yellow" mark on one of the VMs. I am yet to find out why there was a flag, but Win7 OS came up when I powered it on.
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ID: 40299389
Did it ask a question?
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40299413
@Andrew
Did it ask a question?  ---> Are you asking if there were further questions before migration got underway?
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40308904
I got the update completed. Thank  you.

If I have ESXi V4.1 and bring it up to V5.5, should I upgrade4.1 to 5 or 5.1 before upgrading to V5.5? Or just insert V5.5 CD and perform an upgrade?
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Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1332 total points
ID: 40308912
Just upgrade from 4.1 to 5.5.

There is no need to go to 5.0 and then 5.1.

Was the yellow question mark, asking a question on the VM!
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40308915
Thanks Andy.
As to the yellow mark, let me close this question first and open another question regarding the yellow mark.
I see yellow marks on some Hosts that I manage.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40315457
@Andrew,

 I thought existing version was ESXi V4.1, but I just discovered that current version is ESXi 4.0.0, 171294. Can I still put ESXi V5.5 CD into the CD-ROM and let it perform "Upgrade"?
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LVL 124
ID: 40315558
Yes you can, but a new install is probably recommended!

Also check the HCL, v4.0 is very old, and many requirements have changed, and ESXi 5.5 may not be supported on that hardware.
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Expert Comment

by:gheist
ID: 40315578
It is whitebox machine with LSI (not rebranded) RAID adapter.
You must check all components in vmware HCL.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40315913
There has been no backup software since ESXi 4.0 was Free version. I have been doing Windows backup manually when there were major changes on virtual machines and that is the reason I wanted to go with licensed ESXi so I can buy the backup software.

Therefore I can not do fresh new install.

It is HP Proliant ML350, so it meets the hardware requirements. I hope upgrade goes as smooth as I saw in my test environment.

Just out of curiosity, what is worst situation that I can expect if upgrade does not go well?
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LVL 124
ID: 40316361
You would have to re-install from scratch, and restore all your VMs.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40316850
Andrew
Have you personally run into a situation where this upgrade goes wrong and damage VMs?
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LVL 124
ID: 40316860
Yes, I've seen it.
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Expert Comment

by:gheist
ID: 40316867
Me too.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40316868
I am just curious ... what were some of the reasons for crashes that you remember?
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by:gheist
ID: 40316901
You can read warnings in your post. it will delete vmkfs, and not boot because of incompatible customisation pack installed.
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ID: 40316931
no reason sometimes bad media, sometimes unknown...
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 40316934
Datastore BrowserVSphere ClientI can't afford to have vmkfs going bad during the upgrade.
Let me ask you this then.
As you can see in the screenshots, the Host has FREE ESXi V4.0 and no Virtual machine backup software has been installed; therefore, no VMs have been backed up in the past other than me simply doing Windows backup from each VM after major changes.
Would you recommend that I at least copy Each relevant VM folder from "Browse Datastore" to an external USB before performing upgrade?
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Expert Comment

by:gheist
ID: 40317189
You have been warned with config dialogs that it WILL GO BAD. What else you need?
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