Question : How to upgrade from ESX 3.5 to ESXi 4.1 without having to manually reconfigure everything

I have been playing various upgrade scenarios in my lab and my home environment for a while now. All of these have been very simple, just a few vSwitchs, a NTP configuration, maybe an iSCSI target to configure, etc. That being the case my ESXi 4.1 has been a clean install and manual configuration that only takes a half hour or so.

Now I hope to complete the ESX to ESXi conversion in my main systems. These systems are a bit more complex than my lab and home system with many vnics, vSwitches, VLANs, FC HBAs, fault tolerent networking setups, and the list goes on. There are not a lot of servers, but manual configuration of each one could take hours and be error prone.

My question is how is the best way to get there withough having to manually reconfigure everything after a clean ESXi install. Is it possible to backup a ESX 3.5 configuration and restore it to ESXi 4.1 directly? If not could I backup an ESX 3.5, restore it to ESXi 3.5, then upgrade that? Maybe upgrade ESX 3.4 to ESX 4.1, then backup that and restore it to ESXi 4.1?

It seems to me that VMware is pushing us to move from ESX to ESXi by discontinuing the ESX product after this release, but they haven't appeared to make any tools available to facilitate such an effort.

Perhaps if I just keep the ESX architecture and do the normal upgrade process now, by the time 4.2 or 5.0 or whatever else is next comes out it will be easier.

Thoughts anyone?

Answer : How to upgrade from ESX 3.5 to ESXi 4.1 without having to manually reconfigure everything

I have actually 'plugged' VMware on the config restore process. For ESX/i 3.x....yes, you can do that, but for 4.x it's not because of the the new architecture in 4.x. I don't know why it's so hard, but they have as yet to provide me with the files that need to be copied then restored for 4.x version.

I would agree with you on keeping with ESX...I certainly am (and I just like it better...I like the COS and not CLI). My recommendation is that...stick with ESX until VMware 'forces' folks to ESXi. By then, I'm most certainly sure they will have a b/u process for ESX configs. You can use update mgr so you don't have to go through all the reconfig's; but me personally I always do 'fresh' installs. I trust that more than upgrades. I don't mind going through the reconfig's. It gives me a chance to relook at things and verify things are done properly.

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