Replacing physical esxi hosts in existing cluster

I have a cluster of 4 older esxi hosts that are running esxi 6.0 on DL360 G7 servers. These are going to be replaced with G10 hosts running 6.7.

VSCA is already upgraded to the latest 6.7.

My plan is to put old host A into maintenance mode then migrate all vms off of it. I will then remove it from the cluster. I will then install esxi 6.7 on new host A and add it to the cluster. Then basically rinse and repeat with hosts B, C, and D.

The thing I’m not sure about though is when and how I should configure networking and datastores on the new hosts. Is it best to do this before or after they are added to the existing cluster?

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  1. Add the host to the cluster in maintenance mode then add the shared datastores and networking to them before taking out of maint mode.

    Don’t forget to enable EVC as well while you’re doing the migration, just in case you have to add the old ones back and migrate off the new ones again for any reason.

  2. We’ve been doing it manually for 3 refreshes – GEN7 – GEN10.

    I pre-build the system that is going to be replaced offline since we steal the IP’s and DNS name of the host.

    Maintenance mode old host – power off > remove from rack

    Rack cable etc new host > power on

    VSphere will “see” it but you will still have to add it to the cluster, select licensing, button up upgrades, HA DRS EVC etc… FIN

    All in the middle of the day MY FAVORITE PART!!!!!

  3. You could make a host profile using the existing hosts and then use it on the new host, if you have the correct licensing anyway. If you don’t, ust add the new host to the cluster and then configure everything, way easier using vcenter than the host webui. Nothing will try to migrate to the new one until everything is added because if not it will fail compatability checks when it tries to vmotion.

  4. Why not just add all of the new servers to the cluster in maintenance mode then bring them out as you migrate things over? I’m assuming you’ve got an EVC level defined on the existing cluster too? If not you won’t be able to migrate the VMs without taking downtime.

    The new hosts can be added to the existing datastores and DV switch at any point. There’s no requirement that hosts be in the same cluster too share a datastore or DV switch.

  5. Install ESXi on the new hosts. Add them to the cluster, verify the vm compatibility level, disable drs if necessary, replicate the exact virtual switching and datastore access on new hosts, put old hosts in maintenance mode (Make sure to uncheck the box), migrate all vms to the new hosts, pull old hosts from cluster.

  6. When i build out hp hosts, i get the profiles set and good to go in oneview/ilo, then I’ll install ESXi and get the networking all set.

    Then i drop it into vcenter and get the new hosts all updated, networking set and the datastores all set.

    Drop the hosts into the cluster, take them out of maint mode and start any needed migrations.

    My advice would be to get the host as ready as you can so you can do the swap with minimal down time. If you want to reuse host names and ips, I’d either disconnect the physical cabling or disable the nics inside esxi.

    That way you can remove the old host, power it off and connect the new host and get it right in the cluster.

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