Arkady
Contributor
Contributor

Upgrading virtual machine hardware

Hello,

We are migrating virtual machines from ESX 3.5 U4 to ESX 4.1. VMWare tools will be upgraded.

Question about upgrading virtual machines hardware (from 4 to 7).

Any benefits to upgrade hardware for existing virtual machines? Will it improve performance?

Any potentials issues after upgrade?

Thank you in advance!

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6 Replies
marvinms
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

When I went from 3.5 to 4.0, I needed the hardware upgrade for CBT.

One downside I experienced was that when it upgraded the NIC it retained the original NIC and did not bring over the WINS settings during the upgrade. This is a Windows issue simular to when you remove a NIC from a physical server and add another one, the system still remembers the old one until it is removed from Devices.

The way to remove the extra (old) NIC is to run the command display and remove the ghosted device.

Be sure to logon to each VM after it is upgraded and wait for the upgrade to complete and re-boot it when prompted to complete the process, then check the WINS settings.

Good luck,

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Virtual Hardware Version 7 offers five new features.

  • Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) virtual devices —  Provides support for running Windows Server 2008 Failover Clustering  configurations.
  • IDE virtual device — Ideal for supporting older  operating systems that lack SCSI drivers.
  • Hot Plug support — For virtual devices and hot add  support for memory and virtual CPUs – List  of supported Operating Systems
  • VMDirectPath for Virtual Machines — VMDirectPath  I/O device access enhances CPU efficiency in handling workloads that  require constant and frequent access to I/O devices by allowing virtual  machines to directly access the physical hardware devices. Read  More >>
  • Change Block Tracking — Use to increase Backup and  Recovery times.
  • VMXNET Generation 3 — See the feature below
    • MSI/MSI-X support (subject to guest operating system kernel support)
    • Receive Side Scaling
    • IPv6 checksum and TCP Segmentation Offloading (TSO) over IPv6
    • VLAN off-loading
    • Large TX/RX ring sizes
    • IPv6 Support

(Info above straight from http://gestaltit.com/all/tech/virtualization/simon/do-i-upgrade-to-vmware-virtual-hardware-version-7... )

One day I will virtualise myself . . .
jtbbeaumont
Contributor
Contributor

In our environment, we have a 7 host 4.0 cluster and a 12 host 3.5 cluster.  One of my co-admins does not want any of the VM's on the 4.0 cluster upgrade because they think that the version 7 VM's will have a negative impact on the 3.5 cluster upgrade process.

We get a huge advantage in backup speed by going from v4 to v7.

DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

You can have a mixture of version 4 and 7 hardware in a cluster. I don't know that I have ever seen anything to suggest that performance is affected in any way. The only issues would be if you had to migrate any guests back to the 3.5 cluster.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
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jtbbeaumont
Contributor
Contributor

Yeah Dave, you were the one that answered my question about this in another thread.  Thanks BTW

It would be nice if VMware stated somewhere that their upgrade process should be followed on a per cluster basis because the other admin in the group is really spooked by the comments in the beginning of the upgrade guide about how each step should be followed IN ORDER to ensure successful upgrade path.

If this is written somewhere maybe I could use that to make my case on why moving VM's on an already upgraded cluster to v.7 will have no ill effect on the upgrade process of the other cluster.

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Arkady
Contributor
Contributor

The good thing is that upgrade can be done via Update manager which creates snapshots in case of any issues.

VMware says that hardware upgrade is recommended but in the end this is a customer call. I am sure VMWare in future releases will come up with more features that require latest hardware and make sense to have it. I just was looking for a feedback from people who already upgraded hardware to find out if they experienced any issues

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