VMware vSphere 5 resources

VMware has released vSphere 5. vSphere 5 contains over 140 great new features! There is lot of good information about VMware vSphere 5 on the internet. Here’s a list of VMware vSphere 5 resources good to know:

What’s new in vSphere 5.0

VMware vSphere 5 documentation (format support for iPad, Kindle and PDF)

Online VMware vSphere 5.0 documentation center

VMware vSphere 5.0 features overview

VMware vSphere 5 configuration maximums

VMware compatibility guide


Best practices

Installing ESXi 5.0 best practices

Upgrading to ESXi 5.0 best practices

Installing vCenter Server 5.0 best practices

Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.0 best practices

Migrating to vCenter Server 5.0 using the Data Migration Tool

Product offerings for vSphere 5

vSphere 5 vRAM Compliance, Usage, and Benefits

Entitlement Mapping for vSphere 5.0

Performance best practices for VMware vSphere 5.0

vSphere HA 5.0 Best Practices Guide


What’s new white papers

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0 Platform

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0 Storage

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0 Performance

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0 Networking

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0 Availability

What’s New in VMware vCloud Director 1.5 Technical Whitepaper

What’s New in VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.0 Technical Whitepaper

What’s New in VMware Data Recovery 2.0 Technical Whitepaper

VMware vSphere Storage Appliance Technical Whitepaper

VMware vSphere 5.0 Licensing, Pricing and Packaging


VMware vSphere 5 product binaries

vSphere 5 binaries such as VMware ESXi 5.0, VMware vCenter 5.0, VMware Data Recovery 2.0, vSphere Storage Appliance 1.0 and VMware vShield Zones for vSphere 5 

VMware vSphere 5 Product Evaluation Center

PowerCLI 5.0

VMware Management Assisistent (vMA) 5.0


VMware services to subscribe

VMware Knowledgebase Blog

VMware Technical Publications


Upgrading to VMware ESXi 5

The following three supported upgrade methods to VMware ESXi 5 are available:

Upgrade Method ESX or ESXi to ESXi 5 Upgrade or Patch from ESXi 5.0 to
ESXi 5.n
vSphere Update Manager yes yes
Interactive upgrade from CD, DVD, or
USB drive
yes yes
Scripted upgrade yes yes
vSphere Auto Deploy no yes
esxcli no yes

It is not supported to directly upgrade ESX(i) 3.x to ESXi 5. You must first upgrade ESX(i) 3 to ESX(i) 4 before upgrading to ESXi 5. Another option is to do an fresh installation.

When upgrading to vSphere ESXi 5 there are a couple of things to think about before starting:

– It is now possible to upgrade VMware ESX 4.x and ESXi 4.x to VMware ESXi 5. Prior ESXi 5 the upgrade from ESX to ESXi was not supported (fresh installation needed).

– Make sure using static IP addresses. DHCP addresses can cause problems when upgrading with VMware Update Manager

– Backup your ESX or ESXi configuration:

For ESX back up the /etc/passwd, /etc/groups, /etc/shadow, and /etc/gshadow directories, custom scripts, local VMs, templates, iso and *.VMX files

For ESXi use vicfg-cfgbackup command in from the VMA or esxcli

– If upgrading the host(s) managed by vCenter server, you must upgrade vCenter to version 5 before upgrade ESX or ESXi

– Once you have upgraded or migrated your host to ESXi 5.0, you cannot roll back to your
version 4.x ESX or ESXi software.

– Lopsided boot banks can occur in systems that are upgraded from ESXi 3.5 to ESXi 4.x, and then upgraded directly to ESXi 5.0. vSphere Update Manager assumes the boot banks are both at 250MB.  If it detects one boot bank is smaller than the other it will report an invalid boot disk and won’t even try to upgrade. More information can be found here.

– For most ESXi 4.x hosts, the partition table is not rewritten in the upgrade to ESXi 5.0. The partition table is rewritten for systems that have lopsided bootbanks. Lopsided boot banks can occur in systems that are upgraded from ESXi 3.5 to ESXi 4.x, and then directly to ESXi 5.0.

– The ESXi 5.0 installer cannot detect ESX 2.x instances or VMFS2 datastores. You cannot migrate ESX 2.x instances to ESXi 5.0 or preserve VMFS2 datastores in an upgrade to ESXi 5.0. Instead, perform a fresh installation of ESXi 5.0.

– For ESX hosts, the partitioning structure is changed to resemble that of an ESXi 4.x host. The VMFS3 partition is retained and a new MSDOS-based partition table overwrites the existing partition table.

– Upgraded hosts do not have a scratch partition. Instead, the scratch directory is created and accessed off of the VMFS volume. Each of the other partitions, such as the bootbanks, locker and vmkcore will be identical to thatof any other system.

The three upgrade methods are described with some screenshots.

vSphere Update Manager (VUM) ESX 4 or ESXi 4 to ESXi 5 upgrade

In vCenter open the VUM plug in and import Host Upgrade Image


browse to the VMware vSphere 5i installer ISO


The ISO is uploaded to VUM.

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Create Host Upgrade Baseline


Attach the baseline

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Perform an scan


There is a warning. Click on the 1 to expand the warning


The following warning is displayed that some modules are removed by the upgrade


Click on the Remediate button and follow the steps:


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When the Remediate finish the upgrade is complete and VMware ESXi 5 is installed.


Steps of the interactive upgrade using the CD/DVD from ESX4 or ESXi 4 to ESXi 5





A existing VMFS volume is found and the following selections can be made:


In this example we migrate VMware ESX 4 to ESXi 5 and choose Migrate ESX, preserver VMFS datastore.



Scripted upgrade from ESX4 or ESXi 4  to ESXi 5

Scripted upgrade can be done by using a kickstart text file for example ks.cfg. In this file the following options can be used for the upgrade:

upgrade Upgrades to ESXi 5
installorupgrade Tries to upgrade to ESXi5. If it is not possible to upgrade it will perform a fresh installation.

William Lam has very good information and examples about ESXi 5 scripted installations. For more information see the posts  How to Automate the Upgrade of Classic ESX 4.x to ESXi 5 and Automating ESXi 5.x Kickstart Tips & Tricks