VMware Upgrade Process - Migrating from vSphere 4 to vSphere 5

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This article will describe the process and various options for upgrading an ESXi server from vSphere 4 to vSphere 5. In principle, all VMware customers, who have valid support and maintenance contracts, have the right to upgrade.

License Correlation

vSphere 4 Edition   vSphere 5 Edition  
Essentials Essentials
Essentials Plus Essentials Plus
Standard Standard
Advanced Enterprise
Enterprise Enterprise
Enterprise Plus Enterprise Plus

Preparation

Because your existing license keys will not be valid for vSphere 5, you will have to apply for new keys from the VMware licensing portal.[1][2]

Please note that the terms for the use of CPU cores and RAM have changed for vSphere 5. Functional differences in VMware vSphere 5 Editions

Backup the host settings in every case before beginning the upgrade process.

Migration via ISO Image

For smaller environments, migration using ISO images is appropriate.[3] With a valid maintenance contract, you can download the ISO image from the VMware licensing portal.

VMware Update Manager

For larger environments, upgrading using the Upgrade Manager from VMware makes sense.[4]

Downgrading Licenses

With an existing support and maintenance contract, you have the right to downgrade.[5]

The correlation of the licenses follows the reverse order for the table above.

Custom VIBs Warning

If you upgrade a host that has user-defined vSphere Installation Bundles (VIBs), an error message will be displayed during the upgrade, if the VIBs are not identical to those in the ISO upgrade file.[6][7]

References

  1. VMware Account Management (vmware.com)
  2. VMware vSphere Upgrade Center – Upgrading VMware vSphere License Keys (vmware.com)
  3. Upgrading from ESX 4.x to ESXi 5.0 using the interactive installer (You Tube Video about VMware KB Article 2004501)
  4. Upgrading to ESXi 5.0 using Update Manager 5.0 (You Tube Video about VMware KB Article 2004501)
  5. VMware vSphere Upgrade Center – Version Downgrade (vmware.com)
  6. VMware vSphere 5 Upgrade Guide (pubs.vmware.com)
  7. VMware Community (communitites.vmware.com)

Additional Information

Related articles

Differences between VMware ESX and ESXi
Mounting VMDK in Windows or Linux
VMware Tools or open-vm-tools