In July VMware released a new version of vSphere client and ESXi. I finally got around to seeing what is new in 4.1. Many of the new or enhanced features either did not impact me, or required vCenter (read: $$$$). However, there were some excellent features that did catch my eye:
This short list of improvements was enough to decide to do the upgrade to the ESXi installation and the vSphere client running on my Windows box. The remainder of this post explains exactly how I performed the upgrade.
Preparing for the Upgrade
The first thing I did was pull down the PDF document vSphere Upgrade Guide, and printed it out. I read through the applicable portions of the document to get an understanding of what the upgrade entailed.
Per the guide, I backed up my ESXi settings using ESXi Configurator. I connected to the host, and then backed up the configuration to my Windows machine. While I was backing things up, I went ahead and backed up (again, to the Windows machine) the smaller-sized VMs. OpenFiler’s boot drive was already backed up, so I was covered there.
One of the new features was decreased memory overhead. I wanted to have the ability to have before-and-after statistics, to see just how much my installation was impacted by the upgrade. I stopped all the machines that were running, then restarted them to eliminate any possible virtual machine memory leaks. Then I printed several applicable vSphere screens for the before conversion, base-line numbers. I plan to detail my observations on the improvements in a future post.
Visit the ESXi 4.1 Downloads page. Be sure to log onto the VMWare site before going to the download page. If I didn’t do that, I would receive the error “Sorry, at the moment you are not authorized to download VMware ESXi 4.1 Installable”. Download ESXi 4.1 (Upgrade ZIP from 4.0 to 4.1), VMWare vSphere Client 4.1, and VMWare Tools for Linux clients. I renamed the upgrade zip to ESXi41_upgrade.zip to save me typing later on.
Upgrade ESXi to 4.1
The following are the steps that I followed. They are modeled after the instructions here.
Now that you have now updated your ESXi host from 4.0 to 4.1 you should update your vSphere Client, CLI versions and VMTools to 4.1 as well.
Simply run the installer. It will only take a few minutes. Then fire it up for the next step of upgrading the tools.
ESXi 4.1 also came with a new vmtools installation, which I applied to each of my virtual machines. I applied it automatically to the Windows clients. I uploaded the vmware-tool-linux ISO to the datastore, and connected it to each Linux VM in turn, then powered them on. I followed the instructions on the VMWare site.
That was all that was needed to upgrade ESXi to 4.1. If I had initially typed the CLI vihostupdate command directly in rather than into Notepad first and then pasting, the entire upgrade might have taken less than fifteen minutes. As it turned out, perhaps one of you might be saved some time by this information.
There are some new settings and options in the new vSphere release that I’ll be investigating as I find the time. I’ll be reconnecting the Kill-a-Watt to the server soon to test the new power saving feature, and that data will be included.