Well today I’ve been upgrading a couple of my servers from VMware ESXi 3.5 and ESXi 4.1 to ESXi 5.0. For the most part this went smoothly and without any drama.

The HP DL360 G5 upgrade from ESXi 4.1 to 5.0 went smoothly and the upgrade process maintained all the settings and configuration properly. The hardware health monitors were working before and after the upgrade without the need for any additional fiddling. I used the VMware ESXi 5.0U1 ISO from HP.com for this server.

The HP ML110 G5 needed to be a reinstalled as it was running ESXi 3.5 and there is no direct upgrade path to 5.0. After recreating the vSwitches and associated VM port groups I was up and running. I used the HP.com image once more and to my surprise the hardware health monitoring now shows the RAID status of the SmartArray E200 controller. In the past, when using the HP providers on ML110G5 hardware, purple screens were common. Now, the server seems stable and displays the storage health status. A win for the day!

Note that this server needed a further tweak as the SCSI passthrough of the SCSI attached LTO3 drive stopped working after the installation of ESXi5.0. A bit of Googling revealed that the following would solve this problem:

esxcli storage nmp satp rule add --satp=VMW_SATP_LOCAL --vendor="HP" --model="Ultrium 3-SCSI"

So the VM could now see the attached tape drive. However VMware appear to have changed their passthrough or SCSI subsystem since ESXi3.5 and as a result I’ve had to reduce my tape block size. In the past I was able to read and write 512kB blocks (tar -b 1024)¬† however I’ve had to drop this to 128kB blocks (tar -b 256). If I get some time, I will attempt¬† to work out the exact limit and update this post.

For the Dell PE840 upgrade, I used the Dell ESXi 5.0 customised ISO. Again, the upgrade from 4.1 preserved the configuration of the server. To my dismay the RAID status of the PERC 5/i was now missing. Turns out the Dell ISO is lacking the providers for storage health. Long story short, after some searching I got the health status back. I initially tried the Dell OpenManage VIB (OM-SrvAdmin-Dell-Web-6.5.0-542907.VIB-ESX50i_A02.zip) which didn’t appear to change much. The useful info was here on the RebelIT website which referred to using the VIB from LSI.com. This made sense as the Dell PERC 5/i is basically a LSI MegaRAID SAS 8480E. I downloaded the VIB (VMW-ESX-5.0.0-LSIProvider-500.04.V0.24-261033-456178.zip) from LSI.com. Note that the 8480E is not listed as supported by this release, but it works – PHEW! I guess the Perc 5/i is getting old in the tooth now, but given it works like a champ there is no need to upgrade. Note that I had to extract the .zip file and then install the VIB from the server’s console as:

esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/vmware-esx-provider-LSIProvider.vib

So now all three servers have been upgraded to ESXi 5.0 and have full hardware health status available which is being monitored via Nagios. Now the fun begins, upgrading the hardware version and VMware Tools for all the VMs….

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