vdz
Contributor
Contributor

Please advise. Thanks

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Hi All,

We have an existing vCenter 4.0 that consists of 3 hosts ESX 4.0. (ESX1, ESX2, and ESX3)

vCenter Server is on Windows server 2003 (64bit).

We are going to get 2 new hosts that will be installed ESXi 5.5. (ESX4, and ESX5)

Ideally we will have 2 DataCenters (A and B).

DataCenterA is to be hosting the 3 existing hosts

DataCenterB is to be hosting the 2 new hosts.

How do I do about the existing hosts? upgrade or fresh install, that topic I have read a lot of discussions which everyone has their own situation and needs to make their own decision.

What I have done so far is that fresh installed/ configured a new vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 (to save Windows server license), it seems to be ready for the new hosts (honestly I have done vCSA before).

Action plans:

DataCenterB:

when the 2 new hosts (ESX4, ESX5) are ready, they will be added to the DatacenterB which I think it should not be an issue.

DataCenterA: it is dependent upon upgrade or fresh install.

Any help/ ideas would be much appreciated.

Regards,

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f10
Expert
Expert

Hi,

With the new SAN here is what you would have in the Infra:

DC B- ESXi5.5 + SAN5.5 (new san)

DC A- ESXi4.x + SAN4.x (old san)

Assumption:

SAN5.5 is also compatible with ESXi4.x

SAN4.x will be decommissioned after the migration is complete because its not supported on ESXi 5.5. This means that all the VMs have to be migrated to the new san for this activity to complete.

All the VMs are currently provisioned on SAN4.x and since it does not support 5.5 yet, IMO here are the options that you have:

Upgrade one of the ESXi hosts to 5.5

Present SAN5.5 LUNs to the upgraded ESXi 5.5 host

Storage vMotion the VMs from SAN4.x o SAN5.5

Once all VMs are migrated to the new SAN, the old storage can be decommissioned.

Alternatively if both Storage Arrays are from the same vendor, you can use the vendor provided tools to do a block level copy from SAN4.x to SAN5.5. In the past for the data migration engagements on VMware I have used Storage vMotion and I must say that there has been a great improvement from ESX3.5 to 5.5. However this also depends on other factors for example, some times doing array level copy and then resignature the VMFS LUNs is easier.

-Arun

Twitter: https://twitter.com/arunpande

Blog: http://highoncloud.blogspot.in/

About VMware Virtualization on NetApp


Regards, Arun Pandey VCP 3,4,5 | VCAP-DCA | NCDA | HPUX-CSA | http://highoncloud.blogspot.in/ If you found this or other information useful, please consider awarding points for "Correct" or "Helpful".

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f10
Expert
Expert

Hi,

Here is what I would have done now that VCVA 5.5 is configured and ready to use:

- For the new ESXi 5.5 hosts, the action plan is to add them to the VCVA instance by creating a new DC.

- For existing ESXi 4.x hosts I would add them anyways to the VCVA 5.5 instance. If the VMs are on shared storage I will do a fresh install on each ESXi 4.x host one at a time by putting the ESXi host in maintenance mode and migrating the VMs to the remaining powered on hots, assuming that there is sufficient resources to failover. You would lose all the current configuration on doing a fresh install hence before doing a fresh install, take screenshots of the Network configuration i.e. Management & VMkernel IPs, port group configuration, license keys and any custom permission. Also check VMware HCL to ensure that the server is compatible and all inbox drivers are available for the server hardware. If there is a custom ISO available from the hardware vendor, you may also use that. Though upgrade might work fine, I personally prefer doing a fresh install for the various reasons that you would have already read about Smiley Happy.

I would also recommend that you go through the following VMware KBs, it explains various details that you should be aware of before doing an upgrade:

VMware KB: Methods for upgrading to ESXi 5.5 

VMware KB: Installing or upgrading to ESXi 5.5 best practices 

-Arun

https://twitter.com/arunpande

http://highoncloud.blogspot.in/

About VMware Virtualization on NetApp

Regards, Arun Pandey VCP 3,4,5 | VCAP-DCA | NCDA | HPUX-CSA | http://highoncloud.blogspot.in/ If you found this or other information useful, please consider awarding points for "Correct" or "Helpful".
vdz
Contributor
Contributor

thank you Arun for helpful response.

Your approach is what I was thinking, however I have a little issue with  the shared storage ie not supported by the vMware ESXi 5.X that makes me to purchase a new vSan which is on its way.

How would you go about the new shared storage? How would you move them across to the new shared storage? Thank you in advance

Regards

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f10
Expert
Expert

Hi,

With the new SAN here is what you would have in the Infra:

DC B- ESXi5.5 + SAN5.5 (new san)

DC A- ESXi4.x + SAN4.x (old san)

Assumption:

SAN5.5 is also compatible with ESXi4.x

SAN4.x will be decommissioned after the migration is complete because its not supported on ESXi 5.5. This means that all the VMs have to be migrated to the new san for this activity to complete.

All the VMs are currently provisioned on SAN4.x and since it does not support 5.5 yet, IMO here are the options that you have:

Upgrade one of the ESXi hosts to 5.5

Present SAN5.5 LUNs to the upgraded ESXi 5.5 host

Storage vMotion the VMs from SAN4.x o SAN5.5

Once all VMs are migrated to the new SAN, the old storage can be decommissioned.

Alternatively if both Storage Arrays are from the same vendor, you can use the vendor provided tools to do a block level copy from SAN4.x to SAN5.5. In the past for the data migration engagements on VMware I have used Storage vMotion and I must say that there has been a great improvement from ESX3.5 to 5.5. However this also depends on other factors for example, some times doing array level copy and then resignature the VMFS LUNs is easier.

-Arun

Twitter: https://twitter.com/arunpande

Blog: http://highoncloud.blogspot.in/

About VMware Virtualization on NetApp


Regards, Arun Pandey VCP 3,4,5 | VCAP-DCA | NCDA | HPUX-CSA | http://highoncloud.blogspot.in/ If you found this or other information useful, please consider awarding points for "Correct" or "Helpful".

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vdz
Contributor
Contributor

Thank you very much again Arun.

Every single points you made are spot on.

The final point, they are both the same Dell vendor (MD3000i old one and MD3200i new one). From your experience, which approach (vMotion or Dell tools) is the most appropriate for my environment?

One last question please:

currently I have installed vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 in the existing vMware 4.X, how would you migrate this server to the new vMware 5.5? Much appreciated.

Regards

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f10
Expert
Expert

Apologies for the late reply.

IMO Storage vMotion is easy to use feature but might be time consuming if you have too many TBs of data to migrate. I have relied heavily only Storage vMotion when doing data migration between two different Storage vendors. You can calculate the estimate time that it will take for Storage vMotion by considering the average throughput of your Storage array and then dividing it by the the total data to be migrated. You can also consider the total simultaneous migrations that vCenter supports per VMFS datastore.

Unfortunately I haven't worked on Dell yet Smiley Happy so cant help you on this one. I would suggest raising this question on the DELL community site and someone should be able to share their inputs. Regarding vCVA 5.5 I guess you should be able to use the same Storage vMotion feature to migrate the vCVA VM across to the new datastore provisioned on the new SAN.

-Arun

https://twitter.com/arunpande

http://highoncloud.blogspot.in/

About VMware Virtualization on NetApp

Regards, Arun Pandey VCP 3,4,5 | VCAP-DCA | NCDA | HPUX-CSA | http://highoncloud.blogspot.in/ If you found this or other information useful, please consider awarding points for "Correct" or "Helpful".
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