How To Migrate From vSphere 4 to vSphere 5

There are a number of different ways to migrate from vSphere 4 to vSphere 5. You could upgrade vCenter server to vSphere 5 then put your hosts into maintenance mode and upgrade your ESXi hosts to ESXi 5, but it’s almost just as easy to rebuild vSphere from scratch. Plus you get the benefit of having a clean migration, rather than an upgrade install. Here’s how to migrate from vSphere 4 to vSphere  5 without any downtime.

  1. Migrate all VMs from a host (put it in maintenance mode and accept the prompts).
  2. Remove the ESXi 4 host from vSphere 4.
  3. Rebuild it as an ESXi 5.0 server.
  4. Create a new VM on the ESXi 5 host and install / setup vCenter 5 on it (or however you choose to deploy vCenter).
  5. Connect to vCenter 5 and add the newly created ESXi 5 host.
  6. Disconnect another host (do not remove) from vSphere 4.
  7. Add the host using the vSphere 4 license to the vCenter 5 server.
  8. Put the host in maintenance mode (so there’s no DRS stuff happening) then migrate all the VMs onto the ESXi 5 server.
  9. Power off the ESXi 4 host and remove it from vSphere 5.
  10. Rebuild the powered off host as an ESXi 5 server and add it to your vSphere 5 cluster.
  11. Repeat steps 6-10 until all your hosts have been migrated from vSphere 4 to vSphere 5.
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