I'm trying to work out what is the best way to move an existing ESX3.5 server to a ESXi 4.0 server. Having read the documention its not too clear on the best way to do this.
It mentions if I want to keep my existing vmfs filesystem then I need to move the guests to ESX4i host first. All my VMFS filesystems are stored on SAN rather than locally. Surely I should be able to install ESXi 4.0 over the top of ESX 3.5 which is installed locally and then just pick up all the vms which are on the SAN store?
You upgrade ESX 3.5 to ESX 4.0, not ESXi.
Do you have centralized infrastructure with vCenter? Then upgrade will look like:
1. Upgrate vCenter from 2.5 to 4.0
2. Migrate all VMs from one host, put host in Maintenance mode.
3. Upgrade host to 4.0 with Update Manager
4. Go to 2 untill all hosts are upgraded.
If you have VMotion license, it won't even affect VMs. VM can be VMotioned from 3.5 to 4.0 and back.
VMware vExpert '2009
This is a stand-alone 3.5 installation without a VirtualCenter etc i.e. its managed directly. There is no other hardware that can be used to move the VMs onto.
The reason we are looking to move from 3.5 to 3.5i was that to move to 4.0 would require extra license purchases which is not possible at this time. 4.0i provides all the capability required from this stand alone server.
ESX3.5 to ESX4.0 is a migration I can see a few going for as this was initially a 3.0 machine (which required a purchased license - ESX3i was not free at the time), 3.5 was provided as a free upgrade but now 4i provides all the capability that was need so we only need to move to that.
Actually I do not see any global improvements in ESXi 4.0 comparing to ESX 3.5 except of disk thin provisioning.
All other functionality is almost the same.
You can't upgrade ESX 3.5 to ESXi 4.0. It will be a clean install. The best way I think is to install ESXi4.0 to USB Flash key and boot from it. So you can just reboot server and boot from hard disk into ESX 3.5 if you want.
VMware vExpert '2009
To clarify the reason for moving from ESX 3.5 to ESX4i is for licensing reasons. Existing 3.5 users who do not have an active subscription do not get a free upgrade to 4.0. Thus to go to 4.0 it would require spending un-necessary money. ESX 4i provides all the capability and is free thus we can use this without spending money.
A clean install is not a massive issue to me - the issue is about loosing all existing VMs. Would I be able to install a fresh install of 4i and then import the existing VMs from the SAN VMFS filesystems into 4i? i.e. when I attach/import the SAN filesystem will it wipe it when it tries to import it or can it just mount the current filesystem?
I can install 4i onto a second disk so I still have the 3.5 installation should i require it.
if you have a working esx 3.5 release then don't go to esxi 4.0.
You can upgrade esxi 3.5 to esxi 4.0. You can only migrate your vm's if you upgrade to esxi 4.0.
Unless you have a critical reason, i would wait until the first service pack release.
If you need the exact features, then upgrade, but if esx 3.5 works, then just keep running it.
I would never do an in place upgrade, unless you can revert.
With that said assuming you have a simple network config, the upgrade should be trivial.
disconnect the datastore. install esxi 4.0.
connect the data store, detect the volume.
register the machines.
boot them up.
Don't upgrade the virtual hardware in case you have to roll back.
This is exactly what I am trying to check whether I can upgrade the runtime to the 4i software then import the VMs off the VMFS filesystem. The way the install guide talks it says that when you install ESX4i it will blank the existing VMs/VMFS filesystem. I would be amazed if it did but the way its written it does sound like it does
Do you have extra space outside of the ESX 3.5 host ?
I understood that downtime is not really a concern for your upgrade. So what I would do in that case, I would export all VMs to Virtual Appliances or use a software like vRanger Pro to backup your VMs. Then install ESXi 4.0 on your server and restore virtual appliances or from vRanger Pro.
hi have you figure out how to upgrade this? i have same reason to upgrade from esx 3.5 to esxi 4.0 due to licencing... and clean install is not a problem unless vmfs stays
i have local iscsi disks though, and cannot "detach" it during regular instalation, so i suppose it just wipes the vmfs partition, is there any workaround?
one option is to install it on usbkey/separate hdd while scsi is disabled in bios but then will esxi recognize it after enabled?
can i attach storage later without wiping it out? (i guess i can, hopefully wipeout "feature" works only during setup)
one more thing, are VMs from esx 3.5 fully compatible with esxi 4.0? so in worst case scenario i just backup/copy them over to new vmfs
Did anyone upgraded from ESX 3.5i to 4.0i? I would like to hear that experience. What needs to be taken into consideration? I'm running single ESX 3.5i host with 4 VMs and utilizing local data store.
I have not tried a reinstall yet but I have noticed that on a 3.5i machine which has been reinstalled with 4.0 did not delete its vmfs filesystems which were stored on SAN (which were also being used by other ESX4 servers. It detected they were already there so I could add them to the inventry. Interestingly it would not detect a 3.21 format vmfs filesystem but it would detect 3.31.
so i run new install of esxi 4.0 over esx3.5 (not esxi3.5), i used customized HP version of esxi from HP website and used emebeded version not instalable (just create usb bootable flash drive and put it into internal usb slot) ... everything went smoothly.. it recognized existing local storage and didnt overwrite a thing... so i am very pleased... i can even boot back to old esx3.5 if i like... i havent done upgrade vmwaretools and upgrade hardware commnads (in case i need to go back to esx3.5) on VM's yet but i dont expect any trouble there...
one thing to remember if you run instalable version of esxi 4.0 it will wipe out storage u install it on (e.g. local disks) so be carefull.