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VCenter, EVC, cpu masking, etc.

VCenter, EVC, cpu masking, etc.

VCenter, EVC, cpu masking, etc.

We've run into a slight issue that I have not been able to dig up much information on.  We are in the process of expanding our VMware farm from 4 to 8 servers.  The original 4 servers are quad-socket quad-core Xeons (family E7340).  We are running VMware ESXi 4.1 with VCenter server 4.1.

The new servers are dual-socket hex-core Xeons (family X5680).  Apparently the salesperson told the staff here that by using the CPU masking in VCenter, that we would be able to hot-vmotion machines between the two different kinds of servers.

However, based upon  VMware KB#1991  (http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1991), it looks like this is impossible?  If I am reading the KB correctly, it looks like masking will only work if the processors are in adjacent families (i.e. not too far apart?).

If I try to enable EVC on the cluster, none of the 4 options will work; the error is "EVC cannot be enabled because the cluster contains hosts that lack EVC-capable hardware".  And the non-EVC-capable hardware is the server with the 'older' procs.

Urrgh.  This is really frustrating.

RE: VCenter, EVC, cpu masking, etc.

You'll want to create a new farm out of the new servers.  You never want to live migrate between processor types as it will usually cause your guest OSs to crash (BSoD in Windows, etc.).

CPUs within a VM host's cluster need to be the same CPU family, preferably the same code build.

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