Upgrade strategy guidance.

Hello. Newbie to the forum and getting conflicting advice from a couple of people so I wondered if any of you would be able to assist me?

We are a small company and I have inherited a vSp Cluster (2 HPDL360G9 servers with HPP2040 iSCSI)  as outlined below. It has had a couple of hardware problems (A/C borked and it shutdown due to overheat being main concern) however it is also old, out of support, unpatched and a security risk.

I have good local archive options however the system is running 10 live images (RedHat & MS WinSer) so I cannot take it out of production and need to keep the images active. My gut feel is to export the VM's and perform a complete rebuild and soak test on the cluster before recovering. This is because I want to fully test the server once the new OS is in to allow me confidence the heating did not bring permanent damage.

I have a standby server (equally old) with enough tin to host the VM's whilst the cluster is shredded and was thinking of using this as a staging server.  This is to keep us stable and in support for another year so I am looking at Term not outright purchase. The production instances are going to be shifted up to a cloud IaaS later. I just need them stable now so need to sort this.

My problem is I am getting a lot of conflicting advice.

1. Fail to one side of the cluster, check hardware, load new VM O/S(7), performance test, fail over, upgrade test. Do other side. 


2. Export to standby server, rebuild live cluster, soak test, transfer applications back.

Also the licences. As it is out of support and ancient I would prefer to get a new licence and install fresh.

I currently show as having V5.5 vCen Server 5.5 Essentials for vSphere (VCS5-ESSL-C) which is running an HA pair of 2 CPU boxes with iSCSI. Plus a licence VMW vS 6 Essentials Plus for 1 processer 6 CPU's (VS5 ESSL PL C). I am getting conflicting advice on the replacement needed.

3. I have two votes for vS Essen Plus Kit (Term, annual subs - going to cloud next year) as this includes 3 dual CPU servers, HA failover etc.


4. I have three votes for one of the upgrade SKU's but this seems a messy way of doing it and I am going to assume that they are expecting the licence to be upgraded is in support already?

All help and suggestions or alternatives accepted in goodwill. TIA.


(Hardware etc)

2 x HP ProLiant DL360 Gen9 servers, (each 2xE5-2630 + 128Gb)
1 x HP P2040 iSCSI MSA (Modular Smart Array) – 24 SAS drives, split to two zones with two pools.
2 x HP ProCurve 2530-24G switches (iSCSI Network separate from LAN)
1 x Netgear ReadyNAS for snapshots.

vS HA enabled
vS DRS disabled (licence block)
vS EVC disabled

Sorry if some of this is basic to some of you however I am a plumbing and WiFi guy by nature.


Always learning. Happy to help.
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At a quick glance:
Your HP DL360 G9 servers supports up to VMware vShpere version 7.0.
On the Stroage I found the HP MSA 2040 SAN, this is your HP P2040 if so it would only be supported up to version 6.5.

In the following link you can verify the compatibility of the hardware

In this other link you can verify from which version to which version you are upgrading and also verify the compatibility between the vcenter version and the eSXi hosts version.

If your future plans are to migrate to the cloud in a year or less, spending on new VMware licenses may not be justified.
If you had an overheating shutdown of your equipment, you should perform a hardware check of your equipment and a complete maintenance of them.
If your Software and Subscription contract is current or you have been renewing it, you are entitled to version 6.0 and you should upgrade your 5 licenses to 6 licenses.

Attached is a link about VMware vSphere licenses.

VMware vSphere Compute VirtualizationLicensing, pricing and packaging

If the Standby server is identical to the others, you can install and configure VMware vSphere on it and use it to migrate the VMs or during the upgrade process if necessary.





Enrique Espinel
Senior Technical Support IBM, Lenovo, Veeam Backup and VMware vSphere.
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