Monday, 29 June 2009

Upgrading to ESXi 4.0

Although VMware vSphere came out a couple of months ago, I haven't had the time to try it out yet. Today I took the opportunity to try and upgrade my ESXi 3.5 server to ESXi 4.0. This won't allow me to test out the new VMware features such as Fault Tolerence, but I'll be able to run the latest vSphere client and see how the interface has changed.

I was a bit reluctant to do this because installing ESXi 3.5 on the USB key drive inside my ML115 G5, although not complicated, consisted of a number of steps and manual copying of files (not to mention having to crawl under the desk and physically install the USB stick).

Well the good news is that ESXi 4.0 is a much easier story. The operating system can be installed from CD straight onto the USB key drive, so no need to pull the side off the case. The install is quick and takes about 5 minutes. Then a reboot and to the DOS-like menu that allows for the networking, password etc to be configured.

A download of the vSphere 4 client and registering the licence key (free for ESXi) and everything is ready to go. I re-added the iSCSI and NFS datastores from my OpenSolaris server and fired up the VMs.

I haven't done anything beyond this yet, but for an upgrade I assumed would be a hassle, ESXi 4.0 has been very straightforward.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Upgrading to OpenSolaris 2009.06

I've been absent from this blog for a while because we've been moving house. The move is now complete and broadband installed in the new house so I'm back online and ready to continue blogging. Today, upgrading OpenSolaris.

My storage server, the ML110 G5 has been running OpenSolaris 2008.11. With the release of OpenSolaris 2009.06, I wanted to upgrade and wondered if I should have left a spare slice of disk so I could perform a live upgrade. With the rest of the network dependent on this server for services (DNS, iSCSI LUNs, file and print serving), a failed upgrade didn't appeal.

It turns out that the the upgrade was very easy and a spare slice was not required:

Step one: Upgrade the Package Manager:

$ pfexec pkg install SUNWipkg

Step two: Run the Package Manager and select "Update All".

Wait while the new package requirements are evaluated, downloaded and installed.

Step three: Reboot

That's it. Checking /etc/release now reports:

OpenSolaris 2009.06 snv_111b X86
Copyright 2009 Sun Microsystems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Use is subject to license terms.
Assembled 07 May 2009

Although I'm not an expert in IPS, the OpenSolaris packaging system, my understanding is that the previous version of the operating system is still on the system in the form of a ZFS snapshot, so if I have any problems, I should be able to rollback without too many problems.

Compared with upgrading other operating systems, OpenSolaris has been an absolute dream. Highly recommended.