Thursday, September 22, 2011

vSphere 5 whitebox: ESXi upgrade with USB installer

Finally took some time to upgrade my ESXi whitebox which is running on ESXi 4.1 with custom driver to support the onboard Marvell LAN chipset.

The installation screen was different in this case and I took some pictures using my mobile.  My CD Rom happen not to work and I need to create a ESXi installer onto an UDB Drive to install on another USB Drive.

First I would just go through the tools I used to create a USB installer.

I use unetbootin version 5.55 and use the ESXi 5.0 installable image to create the USB installer.
This time it works.  Unlike in ESXi 4.1, it has to be using version 4.94, any higher version breaks the installation.

My ESXi 4.1 was installed on a 2GB USB disk.  So with ESXi 5.0 which required 4GB scratch disk, it is definitely not possible.

I did some google of cause and found USBIT.  What it does is, it creates a backup (clone image) of my 2GB disk and restore to my 8GB disk.  That boots up proper.  But my 2GB disk cannot be used as it is only seen with 4MB of space.  I have to use a HP USB Storage Format tool to format back to a normal 2GB disk.

Here you can see my 8GB USB disk purchased just to install ESXi 5.0 as the scratch disk required 4GB.

Choosing install will start the gathering information process.  After which I will be presented with either to Install or Force Migrate*.  This happens when you have custom VIBs on your current ESX server when performing upgrade.
After choose Force Migrate*, it will display the customer VIBs warning which there is no replacement in the ESXi 5.0 installer I am using. (You will not encounter this if you have create a new ESXi 5.0 image with customer VIBs using image creator)

A confirmation screen will be shown again that you cannot downgrade from ESXi 5.0 (why would I upgrade if I want to downgrade? Hmm...)

After upgrade installation is complete I was shown with the screen and everything works fine and I proceed to upgrade my vCenter using the steps from my previous post as my vCenter is a VM sitting on top of this whitebox, so I cannot use Update Manager to upgrade my ESX server.

Just for fun.  Do you like the default yellow and black display or a white and black display?
Use the keyboard F4, to play around.

Update 23 Jan 2013
Did my upgrade from ESXi 5.0 to 5.1.  UNetbootin 5.83 can be used to place the ESXi 5.1 Installer into a USB Drive.

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