Thursday, February 16, 2012

Virtual Machine Upgrade Process

Please note that this process will require some downtime.

1. Record the current IP configuration of the guest operating system. You’ll end up needing to recreate it.

2. Upgrade VMware Tools in the guest operating system. You can do this by right-clicking on the virtual machine and selecting Guest > Install/Upgrade VMware Tools. When prompted, choose to perform an automatic tools upgrade. When the VMware Tools upgrade is complete, the virtual machine will reboot.

3. After the guest operating system reboots and is back up again, shutdown the guest operating system. You can do this by right-clicking on the virtual machine and selecting Power > Shutdown Guest.

4. Upgrade the virtual machine hardware by right-clicking the virtual machine and selecting Upgrade Virtual Hardware.

5. In the virtual machine properties, add a new network adapter of the type VMXNET3 and attach it to the same port group/dvPort group as the first network adapter.

6. Remove the first/original network adapter.

7. Add a new virtual hard disk to the virtual machine. Be sure to attach it to SCSI node 1:x; this will add a second SCSI adapter to the virtual machine. The size of the virtual hard disk is irrelevant.

8. Change the type of the newly-added second SCSI adapter to VMware Paravirtual.

9. Click OK to commit the changes you’ve made to the virtual machine.

10. Power on the virtual machine. When the guest operating system is fully booted, log in and recreate the network configuration you recorded for the guest back in step 1. Windows may report an error that the network configuration is already used by a different adapter, but proceed anyway. Once you’ve finished, shut down the guest operating system again.

11. Edit the virtual machine to remove the second hard disk you just added.

12. While still in the virtual machine properties, change the type of the original SCSI controller to VMware Paravirtual (NOTE: See update below.)

13. Power on the virtual machine. When the guest operating system is fully booted up, log in.

14. Create a new system environment variable named DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES and set the value to 1.

15. Launch Device Manager and from the View menu select Show Hidden Devices.

16. Remove the drivers for the old network adapter and old SCSI adapter. Close Device Manager and you’re done!

If you perform these steps on a template, then you can be assured that all future virtual machines cloned from this template also have the latest Para virtualized drivers installed for maximum performance.
UPDATE: Per this VMware KB article, VMware doesn’t support using the PVSCSI adapter for boot devices. That is not to say that it doesn’t work (it does work), but that it is not supported. Thanks to Eddy for pointing that out in the comments!

Some issues you might encounter after up gradation:-
• Disks on windows 2008 will go offline after the upgrade. This is highlighted in VMware Knowledge Base article 1013109: “Upgrading virtual hardware in ESX 4 may cause Windows 2008 disks to go offline“. The problems described in the article are unique to Windows 2008 Enterprise and Datacenter editions only.
• Windows 2003 NLB cluster nodes will be destroyed (offline). I found out myself that the upgrade script cannot reconfigure the nlb cluster nodes. You have to connect to the node which is not upgraded and re add the node.
• The hardware upgrade will reboot the server once; many applications need an extra reboot to function correctly. This is because windows will discover the new hardware. For the rest i couldn’t get the answer why it needed an extra reboot.

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