ESXi 4.1 upgarde to 5.5

Hi all,
I am in the process of putting together an implementation plan to upgrade a ESXi cluster of 5 servers housing 150 virtual machine to ESXi 5.5. We have no capacity to vMotion the virtual machine between hosts and so we are adding a 6th server to the cluster to aid the process which i detail below. Really I'm just wanting someone to do a quick sanity check on the proposal I have in place and point me in the right direction or any big problems with what i am proposing.
1.Upgrade the firmware on the vSphere 4.1 server.
2. Upgrade vSphere server from 4.1 to 5.5 via in place upgrade (run install over the top).
3. Add a 6th server that is the same make\ model to the cluster.
4. vMotion guests from server 1 to the 6th server.
5. Upgrade firmware on server one and then reinstall ESXi 5.5 and add back to the cluster.
6. And then basically go around all servers moving the guests and then reinstalling ESXi 5.5 and adding to the cluster.

Any flaws in this? Can ESXi 5.5 and 4.1 coexist in the same cluster whilst the upgrades are taking place?

Thanks for looking
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Jay ThomasAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, this is fine.

ESXi 5.5 and 4.1 can co-exist in the same cluster.

But make sure you do not upgrade the virtual hardware version beyond what 4.1 can host (e.g. vm version 4 and 7).

Make sure you also upgrade vCenter Server to 5.5.
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Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
And make sure that all your hardware is FULLY supported by 5.5
Check the Hardware list carefully. Not all hardware that 4.1 ran with will be on that list.
http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php
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wshtyCommented:
If I may add:

since 4.1 is pretty old please check beforehand that your servers are supported to have ESXi 5.5 installed (for example HP does not support the installation of ESXi 5.5 on its DL 380 G5 (http://h17007.www1.hp.com/us/en/enterprise/servers/supportmatrix/vmware.aspx#.VEYp9fmsX4A) - you can still install it though)

//Edit:

not fast enough
i guess my comment is superfluous then:-)

Regards
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Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
@wshty
Not completely superfluous, it just strengthens what I said and makes the point again.
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GG VPCommented:
To add to Andrew's comment,

1. First Upgrade vCenter server 4.1 to 5.5
2. vMotion the VM's to the spare ESXi host and then put the former ESXi host to maintenance mode.
3. Now proceed with the upgrade.
4. Once the ESXi 5.5 is back online, vMotion the VM's from the spare ESXi host.
5. Repeat the steps 2 to 4 for remaining ESXi hosts
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone some reel good tips here, the version 7 thing and HCL. I have one questions however. Does the logon method change from 4.1 to 5.5, as in doesn't 5.5 use single sign on and if so is will there likely be an additional step to the upgrade that anyone is aware of?

Thank you
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
The login method does not change, but SSO is now a requirement for 5.5.

It;s installed as a part of your vCenter 4.1 to 5.5 upgrade.

What are you servers to upgrade ?

If they are HP, DELL, IBM etc download the OEM vendor version from the vendor site.
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
Hello Andrew, they are HP DL 380 G7's. We had downloaded the 5.5 software from vmware. What exactly would i download from the HP site?
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Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
You can get the HP IMage from here.
http://www8.hp.com/us/en/products/servers/solutions.html?compURI=1499005#tab=TAB4

//EDIT
I note that HP do not have a built release above 5.0 for this model although it does appear on the HCL
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I'm not sure what the last post and Edit comment mean....but here are 5.5 U1 and U2 from HP!

HP vSphere 5.5 U2 Sept 2014

HP vSphere 5.5 U1 June 2014

(hosted at VMware, but these are OEM HP Builds for HP Servers!)
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Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
Andrew, it meant that on HP's own site for ESXi HP Built distributions they only list upto version 5.0
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
Hi all sorry for the delay in getting back to you all. We are progressing with the upgrade on Wednesday. Have a question about the ESXi upgrade part. I've not upgraded a host before and my intension was to just install te 5.5 from scratch, ie. Boot it from the disk and install. So I guess it isn't really an I stall. When I use the image as suggested and boot with it will it detect the 4.1 and offer to upgrade it or will I have to do a complete install?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
It will offer options to Upgrade or New Install. I would recommend a new Install.
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
Sorry, U1 , U2, is that the size  ie 1U or 2U server?
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GG VPCommented:
It is Update 1 and Update 2 (like the Service Packs in Windows Server OS)
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
:) ok sorry.

One last question relating to the process then I'll shut the topic down. The current guests are at V7. Os there a quick way to update these to V10 without doing a V2V and selecting V10 ?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, right click the VM, and select Upgrade Virtual Hardware!
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew. Is that the same as right click upgrade vmtools as I do not see the "upgrade virtual machine" option?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
It's only in the list when the VM is OFF!

Upgrade Virtual Machine Hardware. (it's not reversible!)

But ensure you update VMware Tools first!

and you ONLY need to upgrade if you require the features!
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Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
YES! Upgrade to Virtual Machine Version 10 ONLY if you have a defined need that says you MUST have V10.
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
Hi. we are going to deploy server 2012 VMs once updated to 5.5. I assume the 2012 virtual machine will get built as a version 10 machine (or am i wrong) in which case i thought i must update all machines to version 10 that are on the cluster else how would i administer them together if the 2012 VM is via the web client only?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I'm afraid Wrong!

You only need to select version 4, 7, 8, 9 or 10, depending upon what features you require.

You can manage all versions, using the vSphere Client or Web Client.
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
Great, thank you. Saves me a lot of time.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
No problems....
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
UTTER NITEMARE!
Basically I came across so many errors when attempting the upgrade of the vsphereserver that I decided to un-install  vsphere and start a fresh deploying 5.5 - bad idea as that failed to. I then decided to try and install version 5.0 so as not to install SSO but that failed with error too. I am attaching the log file that the system advises to read after the install fails. It would appear the failure is with the Tomcat server service but I would really appreciate someooen taking a look and giving me any tips.
Also, Is there a build document that describes how to setup SQL for readiness for the 5.5 install?

Thank you.
vim-vcs-msi.log
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
as I've posted many times, and posted in http:#a40403661

I always recommended new installs.

At what stage are you at now?

Start with a new virgin server OS. vCenter Server can be install as a virtual machine (recommended!)
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
Hi, i am coming at it from 2 angles. I have a server on my desk which i am doing a fresh 2008R2build and will then deploy 5.5. I am also remoted on to the original vSphere server doing a cleanup, basically removing anything that relates to vmware and sql. What i need though is a short install guide that relates to the sql part?
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
OK. I have the install for SQL.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I was on the way to my Office Desk, are we sorted now?
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
Here's the error i get on the vsphere install part:

It's a new install so i have no idea what it means.
ssl.jpg
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
What are you installing ?
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
Hi, the SQL chap has just had a look at the SQL install (re-installed SQL)
The install is running now. Will report back shortly and advise on what was done if the install is successful.

Many thanks thus far.
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
Right. Got everything installed and have logged onto the vcenter via the browser. On top of the screen in yellow i see an error:
Could not connect to one or more vCenter Server systems:
https://MyServer/MyDomainl:443/sdk

And when i go to vCenter and then data Centers there is just a blank white screen i assume because of teh message above. Any ideas Andew?
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew. I have now created the cluster and added the hosts back to it, all loolks fine.
If i go to administration and "identity sources" i can see vsphere is associated with my domain. So next i launch a browser and logon using my domain username and passwor and I'm able to log on. But, the inventory list shows "0" for everything, i can't see hosts or clusters?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You need to make sure you set permissions for your AD users. (this is normal for any install).

Administrator@vpshere.local has complete access, and you should be able to view all resources.

Assign an AD admin group at the root of your DC/vCenter Server.
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Jay ThomasAuthor Commented:
Many thanks chaps. All upgraded including the ESXi hosts which thankfully the upgrade went without a hitch.
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