Well, it’s officially arrived, vSphere 4.1. Once you’ve had a look at all the new features and have decided you love it, the next questions are should I upgrade? and when should I upgrade? Hopefully I can help you understand if and when you should upgrade your current infrastructure to vShpere 4.1. First and foremost, like ESX 4.0, vSphere 4.1 is built entirely for a 64 bit platform. This will not install on a 32 bit platform, believe me, there are those out there who have bought ESX 4.0 and attempted to install it without understanding that you need a 64 bit architecture to proceed past step one (I wish I was making that up). Moving to a 64 bit platform brings a significant improvement in performance benefits. Now that we have that out of the way, you need to understand that before moving forward you need to ensure that your current instance of vCenter (if it’s running on a 32 bit platform like Windows Server 2000 or Server 2003) can be upgraded. Make sure you do the following steps first:

    1. Double check to make sure your server is able to run a 64 bit OS. This can be done a number of ways, some prefer to call the hardware manufacturer directly, I prefer just using my favorite search engine and digging around the web.
    2. If you are in fact using a 32 bit OS, you will need to ensure that your server can run a 64 bit OS, and then install one. I use Windows Server 2008.
    3. Finally make sure you update your database drivers to a 64bit version, because if your DB server dies, so goes your vCenter server. Oops.

Once you’ve completed the task of making sure you actually can upgrade to vSphere 4.1, the next thing you need to accomplish is to start your vCenter Server data migration. VMware actually has a vCenter Server Data Migration Tool that will carry the majority of the workload for you. Last but not least, the current supported operation systems for vCenter Server are Windows XP Pro SP2*, Windows Server 2003 SP1* and Windows Server 2008.*

Participate in this poll and let us know if/when you plan on upgrading to 4.1. Good luck! Happy upgrading!

Greg W Stuart
Greg is the owner and editor of vDestination.com. He's been a VMware vExpert every year since 2011. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids. He works as a Sr. Consultant at VMware and resides in Northern Virginia, 15 minutes west of Washington DC.

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