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ESXi 4.1 to 5 - upgrade or fresh install?

I am upgrading my vSphere environment from ESXi 4.1 to 5.0. I am trying  to decide if there are any advantages to doing a fresh install vs a  simple upgrade. Is there an advantage to the new GUID partition tables  over the old MSDOS based partition tables?

How would I go about doing a fresh install and restoring my config? I  know the configs are quite different from 4.1 to 5. Can I just take a  backup of my 4.1 config, do the fresh install of 5, then restore the  backup and it will be upgraded to work on 5? Or would I have to  reconfigure it manually?

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Expert
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sewallgeek wrote:

I am upgrading my vSphere environment from ESXi 4.1 to 5.0. I am trying  to decide if there are any advantages to doing a fresh install vs a  simple upgrade. Is there an advantage to the new GUID partition tables  over the old MSDOS based partition tables?

VMware do states any such recommendations. However it is clearly driven by environment, downtime and flexibility. However I would personally do fresh as downtime involved in fresh or upgrade is zero. So if you have opportunity to start from fresh, why not. It is generally observed when you upgrade from 1st version to 2nd it works fine but when you want to go with 3rd version it might get broken. GUID partition is specifically selected to be able to create large partition and this is helpful if you are using SSD's. I do not know any other reason why GUID is selected.

How would I go about doing a fresh install and restoring my config? I  know the configs are quite different from 4.1 to 5. Can I just take a  backup of my 4.1 config, do the fresh install of 5, then restore the  backup and it will be upgraded to work on 5? Or would I have to  reconfigure it manually?

I do not think it is possible. Remember even though you are migrating from ESXi4.x to ESXi5.0 there are still changes which might be a problem. Secondly if you are worried about reconfiguation, remember you have 60 days evaulation period, you can always use host profiles do such post configuration seamlessly.

With Great Regards, TechS vExpert 2012-2017 | VCP3-5 | VCAP5-DCD | VCP-NV | vSAN Specialist | VDI | Germany
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when you upgrade from 1st version to 2nd it works fine but when you want to go with 3rd version it might get broken.

Great point. MIght as well do the fresh install now than be forced to a version or 2 down the line.

if you are worried about reconfiguation, remember you have 60 days evaulation period, you can always use host profiles do such post configuration seamlessly.

So can I revert to an eval license, create a host profile, fresh install, then apply the host profile? Or is that pretty much the same as a backup/restore?

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Enthusiast
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host profile is a good way of going about it.

Thanks | http://virtualvm.info/
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So can I revert to an eval license, create a host profile, fresh install, then apply the host profile? Or is that pretty much the same as a backup/restore?

Remember you are doing fresh install here. It means fresh install of vCenter and ESXi. But if you're going to revert current host to license mode they will be in expired state.

With Great Regards, TechS vExpert 2012-2017 | VCP3-5 | VCAP5-DCD | VCP-NV | vSAN Specialist | VDI | Germany
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>  there an advantage to the new GUID partition tables  over the old MSDOS based partition tables?

it support more than 2TB VMFS storage if you have GUID partition.

Also if you have 3rd party driver, use Image builder as part of PowerCLI and customize the Installer ISO with compatibile drivers that you are looking for incoperate with ESX50 and upgrade it. it avoid loosing your 3rd party drivers.

--Nithin
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Techstarts wrote:

Remember you are doing fresh install here. It means fresh install of vCenter and ESXi. But if you're going to revert current host to license mode they will be in expired state.

I've already done an in-place upgrade of my vCenter. That shouldn't stop me from a fresh install of my hosts, right?

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Immortal
Immortal

Fresh is advisable to upgrade.  When you upgrade you are inherting old, outdated settings.  a NEW OS has new advantages you may miss by simply upgrading.

So FRESH install.

configuration doesn't take that long, take a couple of screen shots..or learn how do to host profiles, but you learn something by doing, and somtimes configurations WERE done in the past to work around issues in older versions of ESX.  Newer versions will have better optimizations, so doing a fresh configuration will allow you see what these changes are.

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Immortal
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The GUID Partition Tables really only offer you the ability to install on disks which are greater than 2TB in size.  Since you're reusing the same machine which presumably has a <2 TB disk already, you're not going to see any benefit.  Also, you're already using ESXi, so your partition table likely won't change that much regardless of whether you use GPT or MS-DOS style partitioning.  The main

Honestly I don't think there is a preferred way here.  Some people feel more comfortable with fresh installs and some people prefer the convenience of upgrading.  Either method will work fine.

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