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Geo87
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Upgrading our ESXi 5.0 hosts and vCenter Server 5 to 5.5 Enterprise Plus

We are upgrading 4 hosts from ESXi 5 to 5.5

We are adding 4 more hosts with clean ESXi 5.5 installs

We are also upgrading our vCS 5 to the vCSA 5.5

Using Enterprise Plus Licensing

Issue:  I am trying to figure out the best way to make this transition.  Our 4 hosts are running about 100 VMs and the 4 hosts we are adding are clean slates.

This is what I am thinking... Please help me out guys

1. After the 4 new hosts are setup in the Data Center running clean ESXi 5.5 I will deploy the vCSA ovf and register the 4 hosts with the Linux based appliance.

2. Now I have 4 new ESXi 5.5 hosts registered and running with vCSA 5.5 but I still have my 4 old hosts with ESXi 5 and registered to the old WIndows vCS running about 100 VMs

3. At this point I am thinking of shutting down the VMs on my older 4 hosts and removing them from the Windows vCenter Server Inventory and simply registering them with the new vCSA

4. Will all my VMs be transferred over with the hosts if I shut them down and put the hosts into maintenance mode????

5. Now I should have all 8 hosts registered with my new vCSA.  But the original 4 hosts still need to be upgraded to ESXi 5.5

6. Move the 100 VMs to the new 4 hosts running ESXi 5.5 and upgrade the 4 older hosts.

7. Now I should have 8 hosts with ESXi 5.5 using the vCSA

Cheers!

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alexanderjn
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Pretty much.

To make things easier you could deploy the OVA for vCSA in your current vCenter (If I recall correctly importing an OVA using vCenter lets you set some options that would otherwise have to be configured at the vCSA shell). After making sure the vCSA is online & configured, you can then install ESXi on all your new hosts, add them to a cluster in the vCSA, and put some test VMs on there to confirm networking is correctly configured. Once that's done (and assuming old and new hosts are using the same shared storage) you can shutdown the vCSA, remove it from Windows vCS inventory, register it on one of your new hosts, and power it on. Now you have two environments (5.0 and 5.5). Next if you disconnect a host from the 5.0 vCS (with VMs running on it), you can then connect it to the 5.5 vCSA. Assuming standard vSwitchs with networking portgroups that are identically named in both environments, you will now be able to vMotion VMs from the 5.0 host to the 5.5 cluster. At that point you can repeat with all remaining hosts until everything has been transitioned without downtime. This will leave a bunch of old objects in your old 5.0 vCS, but if that's getting trashed it's not a big deal.

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Geo87
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Now I am thinking about how to get my DC registered to the new vCSA which is running on an old host...  Or do I not need to worry about that yet?

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alexanderjn
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Assumption: You don't care about the historical data in your old vCenter database

I would say in step 3 instead of shutting down any VMs, just detach each host from the v5 vCenter and connect it to the v5.5 vCenter. Once that's done you can vMotion all of the VMs to the new hosts and then take your time rebuilding the v5 hosts. One caveat to this would be if you're moving from a Standard virtual switch to a DVS. In that case you'll need to temporarily have redundant standard and distributed virtual switches on either the v5 host being migrated or the new v5.5 hosts.

Hope that helps

-Alex

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alexanderjn
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Not sure I understand "get my DC registered to the new vCSA"

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Geo87
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Alexander, your assumption is correct. We do not have any historical data like resource pools, vApps, Folders, or performance statistics that we want to keep, only the VMs and their vmdk's

So in Step 3 you are saying to detach the host from Windows vCS that runs our DC and keep all the VMs running on the host.  Then deploy the vCSA to that host so I can map a static IP/hostname to the vCSA in DNS. From there just add the 4 new hosts that are clean slates.  Then I can migrate the remaining 3 hosts from the old Windows vCenter Server by removing them from the Windows vCS inventory?

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alexanderjn
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Pretty much.

To make things easier you could deploy the OVA for vCSA in your current vCenter (If I recall correctly importing an OVA using vCenter lets you set some options that would otherwise have to be configured at the vCSA shell). After making sure the vCSA is online & configured, you can then install ESXi on all your new hosts, add them to a cluster in the vCSA, and put some test VMs on there to confirm networking is correctly configured. Once that's done (and assuming old and new hosts are using the same shared storage) you can shutdown the vCSA, remove it from Windows vCS inventory, register it on one of your new hosts, and power it on. Now you have two environments (5.0 and 5.5). Next if you disconnect a host from the 5.0 vCS (with VMs running on it), you can then connect it to the 5.5 vCSA. Assuming standard vSwitchs with networking portgroups that are identically named in both environments, you will now be able to vMotion VMs from the 5.0 host to the 5.5 cluster. At that point you can repeat with all remaining hosts until everything has been transitioned without downtime. This will leave a bunch of old objects in your old 5.0 vCS, but if that's getting trashed it's not a big deal.

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Geo87
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We are doing this overnight so downtime is not a problem.

Just to confirm, this is my guideline for the upgrade:

1. Detach the Host running my DC from the Windows vCS.

2. Use vSphere Client to connect directly to that host and deploy the vCSA (Configure Static Hostname/IP, etc)

3. Now I can use the Web Client to import the 4 new hosts that have ESXi 5.5 and configure their networking to match the Host running my DC, the DG, DNS,etc

4. Then detach the remaining 3 hosts from the Windows vCS and use the add host wizard to import them to the vCSA

5. From here just make sure all networking and storage is setup correctly

6. Migrate the VMs to the ESXi 5.5 Hosts

7. Upgrade 4 old hosts to 5.5

8. Upgrade VMs to Hardware Version 10 with VUM

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alexanderjn
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That should work

Geo87
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Thanks Alexander, I appreciate your expertise Smiley Happy

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alexanderjn
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Happy to try and help. If you're using Standard vSwitches this should be pretty smooth. Distributed vSwitches make things a tiny bit more involved.

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