aj800
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Migrate older VMs to newer host cluster?

EVC/Compatibility question:

I have a few older standalone ESXi 6.5 hosts (free version) running on HPE Gen7 servers (Xeon 'Nehalem' Generation).  Each has only one or two VMs and we would like to decommission these hosts with as little downtime as possible.  We have a vSphere environment running vCSA 6.7, and where the hosts there are running on Gen8 hardware (ESXi 6.5, Xeon 'Sandy Bridge' generation).  This is all part of an extended plan to move everything to new Gen10 hardware.  The first part is getting the VMs running on these standalone hosts into this vSphere environment so we can have the availability, versatility & redundancy vSphere offers.

We plan to put the VMs running on these older standalone hosts into their own new host cluster within vSphere, but until we get those new hosts stood up and brought into vSphere, we plan to temporarily move to and run those VMs within the existing vSphere host cluster so that we can live migrate them once the new hosts are integrated into vSphere (in their own cluster) and once the vDS is extended to them.

My question is, if EVC is set to 'Sandy Bridge' on the existing vSphere host cluster, what do I need to do to connect the older standalone hosts to vSphere and migrate the VMs on them to these hosts?

My tentative plans so far, with my EVC question above fit in to each scenario:

Option 1:

1. In vSphere, add old hosts to inventory (Datacenter level, but not to the existing host cluster)

1a. Apply 60-day ESXi Evaluation license temporarily

2. Extend vDS (Distributed Switch) and vMotion network settings to old Gen7 hosts - add uplinks on standalone host to uplink group on vDS (there is already a port group on the vDS for the Vlan used on the VMs)

3. Migrate the Gen7 VMs to the Gen8 hosts [See EVC compatibility question above]

4. Remove old Gen7 hosts from inventory

5. Create new host cluster, set EVC to' Nehalem'

6. Add Gen 10 hosts (Skylake generation) to new cluster

7. Extend vDS (Distributed Switch) and vMotion network settings to new hosts - add uplinks to uplink group on vDS (there is already a port group on the vDS for the Vlan used on the VMs)

8. Migrate those VMs to new Gen10 hosts

9.  Power off VMs at earliest convenience, set cluster EVC to 'Skylake' once all VMs have been power cycled and running at Skylake

Option 2:

1. In vSphere, add old hosts to inventory (Datacenter level, but not to the existing host cluster)

1a. Apply 60-day ESXi Evaluation license temporarily

2. Extend vDS (Distributed Switch) and vMotion network settings to old host - add uplinks on standalone host to uplink group on vDS (there is already a port group on the vDS for the Vlan used on the VMs)

3. Create new host cluster, set EVC to 'Nehalem'

4. Add new Gen 10 ESXi 6.7 hosts to vCenter inventory

5. Migrate the Gen7 VMs to the Gen 8 hosts [See EVC compatibility question above]

6. Remove old hosts from vCenter inventory

7. Power off VMs at earliest convenience, set cluster EVC to 'Skylake' once all VMs have been power cycled and running at Skylake

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1 Reply
Lalegre
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Hey aj800​,

The analysis you did is correct with the two options, but let me choose the Option 2 and modify a little bit in red:

  1. In vSphere, add old hosts to inventory (Datacenter level, but not to the existing host cluster)
  2. Apply 60-day ESXi Evaluation license temporarily
  3. Extend vDS (Distributed Switch) and vMotion network settings to old host - add uplinks on standalone host to uplink group on vDS (there is already a port group on the vDS for the Vlan used on the VMs)
  4. Create new host cluster, set EVC to 'Nehalem'
  5. Add new Gen 10 ESXi 6.7 hosts to vCenter inventory and to the newly created cluster in Nehalem mode.
  6. Migrate the Gen7 and Gen 8 VMs to the newly created cluster.
  7. Remove old hosts from vCenter inventory
  8. Power off VMs at earliest convenience, set cluster EVC to 'Skylake' once all VMs have been power cycled and running at Skylake.

What I modified was the no need of migrating the VMs to the Gen8 as an intermediate step as you are already configuring the cluster in Nehalem mode so the new servers will get that EVC level. After you finish if you are not going to mix Gen8 and Gen10 you can disable EVC completely without need to power-off the VMs. Of course VMs will need power-cycle as you pointed to get the new CPU features.

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