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I successfully downgrade 5.5 to 5.1 in our LAB environment using vicfg-cfgbackup.pl with a small work-around. The key was to to change the first line in the Manifest.txt to show a 5.1 config.
- use VMware vSphere CLI on your workstation and execute
"vicfg-cfgbackup.pl --server 10.167.5.4 -s \esxi.tar.gz"save the 5.5 config to a gzipped tar ball
- I used Winscp to upload the .tar.gz back to the ESXi server to change some files. I tried this with 7z. didn’t work. It needs linux to properly pack the files. Extract the archive with “
tar zxvf esxi.tar.gz” to a temp directory
- edit the Manifest.txt and change the line
RELEASELEVEL=VMware ESXi 5.5.0 GAto
RELEASELEVEL=VMware ESXi 5.1.0 Update 2
- create new tar archive with “
tar zcvf esxi.tgz Manifest.txt state.tgz“
- Upload the esxi.tgz back to your workstation
- install a fresh ESXi5.1 (choose install instead of upgrade, but keep the local datastores if any)
- apply the new config to a fresh ESXi5.1 with “
vicfg-cfgbackup.pl --server 10.167.5.4 -l esxi.tgz“
I kept the physical network and storage environment unchanged while downgrading and after the configuration restore, all the settings and even registered VMs were present. Saved me a lot of reconfiguration work! What I did next is I took a same configuration from all my hosts, just in case. Do this every month and your all set