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ahrensimmons
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Upgrade Strategy

I am in the process of re-vamping our vmware environment. We have two (2) ESX 2.5.4 servers (with shared SAN storage) and two (2) ESX 3.0.1 servers (with shared SAN storage). The shared storage is separate for both sets of servers.

We have purchased two additional servers and ESX licenses. The end goal is to have six (6) VMWare ESX 3.5 servers, and with one shared storage backend. My question is how do I go about the upgrade.

Should I upgrade bother sets in place, build the new servers, and then merge the environments? Or should I build the new servers, merge the environments, and then upgrade the old systems.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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kjb007
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In my oppinion:

(1) Yes -- Always better to re-build than upgrade in my oppinion (unless you have no choice )

(2) Yes -- You will need to upgrade virtual hardware and the tools after migration

(3) Yes

vExpert/VCP/VCAP vmwise.com / @vmwise -KjB

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TCP
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Hi!
What maximal downtime?
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ahrensimmons
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The short answer is as much time as I need. Obviously, the less time the better, but I want to make sure this upgrade is done correctly, and if that means more time, then so be it.

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dpomeroy
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When you say they are on separate storage, do you mean separate hardware or just that they don't have access to each others LUNs? And what do you mean by merging, multiple SAN storage to one SAN or just reconfigure so all ESX servers can access all the LUNs, and/or creating one cluster in VC?

Personally I like to keep servers that are not VMotion compatible separate, it sounds like you might not have VMotion compatibility between all these servers.

If you are getting new servers I would start a new environment with those two, and then move stuff into the new environment.

Don Pomeroy

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ahrensimmons
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Sorry, I should have been more clear.

All of the servers are on the same SAN, they are simply zoned for different LUNs. By merging I mean I want all six servers to see the same LUNs, which will ultimately be newer, larger LUNs.

We do not have VMotion enabled, but this may be something we enable with this upgrade. The problem is that we are using blade servers, and each server only has two (2) NICs. Once I enable VMotion, that will only leave one NIC for client traffic, which has been our hesitation in the past. Although, if VMotion does not require a dedicated NIC anymore, that may change things.

So your recommended strategy would be:

1) build new servers and present new storage

2) migrate VMs from old servers to new servers

3) Once the old servers are no longer hosting VMs, upgrade them to the new version and add to the environment

Is that right?

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TCP
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You can add additional nics to blade servers.

I'm using IBM HS20 Blades with two teamed nics (traffic separates by vlans).

You can merge your SAN by zone reconfiguration.

I think if you do not have any important VM's and configurations on 2.5.4 destroy hosts and VMFS reinstall they on version 3.5 than upgrade hosts 3.0.1 to 3.0.2 than to 3.5.

Ideal it's build absolutely new configuration with all hosts installation on 3.5.

All VM's you need migrate to temporary storage than deploy they on 3.5

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kjb007
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In my oppinion:

(1) Yes -- Always better to re-build than upgrade in my oppinion (unless you have no choice )

(2) Yes -- You will need to upgrade virtual hardware and the tools after migration

(3) Yes

vExpert/VCP/VCAP vmwise.com / @vmwise -KjB
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