GAPCABIV
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Going From vSphere 5.1 to 6.7 (Maybe 7)

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Wow, seems like forever since I have had a need to be here.

I have a vSphere 5.1 Enterprise + vCenter Server Standard (running on Windows 2012) environment that is, obviously, out of support.  The required DBs are also out of support on a 2005 SQL Server.  We have recently acquired some active licenses from another department in my organization that is currently using vSphere 6.0 but are retiring that environment and I have confirmed with our VMware reps that me and my department can take possession of that other department's licensing and us those to upgrade our vSphere 5.1 to to 6.7 or maybe even 7.  Going to 7 will depending on our backup vendor and if we want to go to a non-LTS version of their product (allowing us to go to 7) or still with the LTS we are running today meaning we can only go to 6.7U3.

Anyway, I have confirmed all of our hardware, host servers, HBAs, 10GB NICs, Storage etc are all on the HCL for both 6.7 & 7. 

Further I am not interested in historical data or doing multiple upgrades to get from 5.1 to 6.7 or 7.  So I will be building a brand new vSphere platform from the ground up.

Our current setup is mostly older VMs (Windows Server 200x) and running on 2 "Very Beefy" HP Proliant DL380 Gen 9 servers.  We have the capacity to run all VMs on just 1 host.

My plan is to put a host into MM and then remove it from the existing cluster.  Wipe it out and install ESXi 6.7 or 7 and install a new vCenter on Windows on that host. Once done and that new host is able to see all of our storage, I will removed all the VMs from inventory on the 5.1 host and add all the VMs to inventory on the new host/vCenter.  Then I will install from scratch 6.7 or 7 on that other host and add it to the new Cluster.  Then I will update all VM Hardware / Tools etc, setup HA, DRS again etc and apply the licensing that I am inheriting from the other department.

Does the plan make sense?  Any caveats or pitfalls to watch for?

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daphnissov
Immortal
Immortal

Some commentary on this plan.

Wipe it out and install ESXi 6.7 or 7 and install a new vCenter on Windows on that host.

Please don't even think of doing this. vCenter for Windows is dead and has been for a while. In fact, it's not even an option in vSphere 7. Using the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) should be the path you take regardless of your target version.

I will removed all the VMs from inventory on the 5.1 host and add all the VMs to inventory on the new host/vCenter.  Then I will install from scratch 6.7 or 7 on that other host and add it to the new Cluster.  Then I will update all VM Hardware / Tools etc, setup HA, DRS again etc and apply the licensing that I am inheriting from the other department.

Assuming you have shared storage here, correct? You will want to ensure that shared storage can be seen and mounted by both versions simultaneously. You'll also want to ensure those VMs are of high enough hardware version. Bringing them all up to v7 or v8 is probably the best. And before doing any of this, make very sure you have good, full backups of all VMs just in case.

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5 Replies
daphnissov
Immortal
Immortal

Some commentary on this plan.

Wipe it out and install ESXi 6.7 or 7 and install a new vCenter on Windows on that host.

Please don't even think of doing this. vCenter for Windows is dead and has been for a while. In fact, it's not even an option in vSphere 7. Using the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) should be the path you take regardless of your target version.

I will removed all the VMs from inventory on the 5.1 host and add all the VMs to inventory on the new host/vCenter.  Then I will install from scratch 6.7 or 7 on that other host and add it to the new Cluster.  Then I will update all VM Hardware / Tools etc, setup HA, DRS again etc and apply the licensing that I am inheriting from the other department.

Assuming you have shared storage here, correct? You will want to ensure that shared storage can be seen and mounted by both versions simultaneously. You'll also want to ensure those VMs are of high enough hardware version. Bringing them all up to v7 or v8 is probably the best. And before doing any of this, make very sure you have good, full backups of all VMs just in case.

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View solution in original post

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a_p_
Leadership
Leadership

Sounds like a good plan, and you actuylly already checked what's required. I assume that you've also checked the storage compatibility!?

Just one thing that you may consider to change is the vCenter Server edition. vSphere 6.7 is the last version that comes with the Windows based vCenter Server edition. Starting with vSphere 7, the only option is the vCenter Server Virtual Appliance. So I'd definitely recommend that you use this one.

André

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GAPCABIV
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Thank you both for your input, particularly regarding vCenter and going with the appliance vs on Windows. 

Yes all the storage is shared and on the HCL as well.

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daphnissov
Immortal
Immortal

What I meant about the storage is that ensuring the ​microcode​ is at a sufficient level to allow mounting by a newer host. Very often, it needs updating, especially if it hasn't been kept updated.

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GAPCABIV
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Yes, I have confirmed that as well.

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