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ESXi 4.1 upgarde to 5.5

Posted on 2014-10-21
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Last Modified: 2014-11-06
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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Question by:Jason Thomas
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 286 total points
ID: 40394152
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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by:Neil Russell
Neil Russell earned 71 total points
ID: 40394162
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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by:wshty
wshty earned 72 total points
ID: 40394166
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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by:Neil Russell
ID: 40394170
@wshty
Not completely superfluous, it just strengthens what I said and makes the point again.
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by:GG VP
GG VP earned 71 total points
ID: 40394183
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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by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40394253
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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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 286 total points
ID: 40394287
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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by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40394299
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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by:Neil Russell
ID: 40394325
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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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 286 total points
ID: 40394498
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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by:Neil Russell
ID: 40394500
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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by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40403594
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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ID: 40403661
It will offer options to Upgrade or New Install. I would recommend a new Install.
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by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40405878
Sorry, U1 , U2, is that the size  ie 1U or 2U server?
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by:GG VP
ID: 40405885
It is Update 1 and Update 2 (like the Service Packs in Windows Server OS)
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by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40406350
:) 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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LVL 117
ID: 40406368
Yes, right click the VM, and select Upgrade Virtual Hardware!
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by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40408068
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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LVL 117
ID: 40408087
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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by:Neil Russell
ID: 40408152
YES! Upgrade to Virtual Machine Version 10 ONLY if you have a defined need that says you MUST have V10.
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by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40408187
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) earned 286 total points
ID: 40408195
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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by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40408199
Great, thank you. Saves me a lot of time.
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LVL 117
ID: 40408269
No problems....
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by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40412679
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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LVL 117
ID: 40412686
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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Author Comment

by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40412693
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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by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40412709
OK. I have the install for SQL.
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LVL 117
ID: 40412875
I was on the way to my Office Desk, are we sorted now?
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Author Comment

by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40412937
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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LVL 117
ID: 40412953
What are you installing ?
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Author Comment

by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40413097
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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Author Comment

by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40413164
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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Author Comment

by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40413221
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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LVL 117
ID: 40413345
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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Author Closing Comment

by:Jason Thomas
ID: 40425808
Many thanks chaps. All upgraded including the ESXi hosts which thankfully the upgrade went without a hitch.
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