We are gearing up to migrate from vSphere 4.1 to 5.5
Currently we have 4 hosts (3 ESX and 1 ESXi) and two EqualLogic SANs. We are running a Windows vCenter Server on a VM with a SQL database on the vCenter server. We have purchased 3 Dell R720 servers to act as the new ESXi hosts. We have also purchased 2 EqualLogic arrays for added storage. My question is what is the best route to take regarding the upgrade / clean install? I want to do a clean install on all 3 ESXi hosts but am trying to figure out if I should (or can) use the vCenter Server Appliance. I know the Appliance cannot talk to a SQL database (only Oracle) so if I install the Appliance, how will I migrate all the virtual servers to the new ESXi hosts? The setup and configuration of a Windows based vCenter server is much more complex than configuring the appliance, right?
Our environment is rather small, with about 75 VMs (mostly all servers) and 4 ESXi hosts.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
You can take backup from your ESXi hosts configurations and restore that on your hosts after clean install but as I know, upgrading from ESXi 4.1 to 5.5 is possible and supported.
So you can do in place upgrade.
Also upgrading vCenter 4.1 to 5.5 is supported, so you can do it, just you need to read upgrade document carefully because vCenter 5.5 database schema is different with vCenter 4.1.
You need to setup vCenter SSO as well.
Also by the way, you saved your performance data and any other information on your DB.
You can do clean install.
This is what you will have to do.
First deploy a vCenter 5.5 Appliance in the environment.
Now move all the hosts to new VC as it supports hosts of version 4.0 and above.
After you move, upgrade/clean install one host at a time. And everything happens without downtime. You will be easily able to manage the hosts too using vCSA.
Make sure the two hosts have sufficient capacity to host one hosts VM's when its undergoing the install.
I agree with Abhilash.
One thing to keep in mind is the process to backup your vCenter Database is very different on the appliance opposed to the Windows Box. You have to run some scripts to acutally back up the database if it lives on the native database on the applicance, however if you keep the database on SQL not much changes other then you are removing Windows out of the equation.
Also vmwares roadmap is pretty well pushing most things to appliances, so it not a far stretch to say at some point the appliance will just be the defacto setup.
"......however if you keep the database on SQL not much changes other then you are removing Windows out of the equation."
But the Appliance only supports Oracle databases. I will have to use the embedded PostgreSQL since we don't use Oracle here.
>>> Our environment is rather small, with about 75 VMs (mostly all servers) and 4 ESXi hosts.
The vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 supports up to 100 hosts and 3,000 virtual machines.
Yeah true sorry, was getting it mixed up with orchestrator. When we used the appliance we always used the built in PostgreSQL one which doens't have great backup stragies