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Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Vmotion "older" CPUs and newer CPUs...

So I need to add another server to our farm. Problem is my farm is comprised of 5000 and 7000 series INtels. All the new stuff is 5100 and 7100 series. According to the CPU compatibility charts I can't vmotion between these processors. You can't buy stuff with compatible CPUs anymore and I don't want to replace my $60,000 worth of hardware so I can add one more box that has a compatible CPU. This kinda stinks because I can see this happening every year as my farm grows. None of the new boxes can VMotion with the older ones. It is like you have to buy everything all at once or you are hosed.

So I guess this isn't really much of a question, but is everyone else frustrated by this? What is the workaround or solution.

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9 Replies
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Immortal
Immortal

I think you'll see this addressed over the comming years.

There are certain work arounds which allow chipset features to be masked, which can help.

Generally though it's a case of powering off the vm's and performing a cold migration.

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Immortal
Immortal

What is the workaround or solution.

set the CPU masks accordingly (read KB entry 1377)

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Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Generally though it's a case of powering off the vm's

and performing a cold migration.

I guess that works, but I kinda ruins any hope of creating large HA/DRS clusters then.

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Hot Shot
Hot Shot

What is the workaround or solution.

set the CPU masks accordingly (read KB entry 1377)

Doesn't this create instability issues within the VM?

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Immortal
Immortal

No - the VM simply doesn't see all features of the CPU (which it probably wouldn't use anyway)

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Contributor
Contributor

Just make sure any CPU masks you use are officially supported if you want to count on them for a production environment.

I ran into a similar issue. My approach to the issue is to make sure I buy new servers with newer non-vmotion compatible CPU in pairs (or more). That way, I at least can Vmotion among those and use cold migration where necessary.

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This will be my replacement strategy as well.

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Contributor
Contributor

What is the workaround or solution.

set the CPU masks accordingly (read KB entry 1377)

Of course, that KB is as clear as mud. Problem is you typically aren't going to have extras of the old hardware because it's expensive, no longer made, and in a production environment.

Plus you have the whole problem of VMware not supporting masking.

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Immortal
Immortal

Of course, that KB is as clear as mud.

Well.... it isn't really clear but if you search for CPUID (google) you find a lot of sites explaining every bit (including the differences between the CPUs).

The Intel developer manuals are useful too (if you use Intel based ESX hosts).

>Problem is you typically aren't going to have extras of the old hardware because it's expensive, no longer made, and in a production environment.

You don't need them - you only need to know which CPU was used.

Plus you have the whole problem of VMware not supporting masking.

Yepp - that's a problem.

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