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Migrating vCenter Server to a different host machine (5850444)


This article provides steps for:
  • Moving vCenter Server to a different host machine
  • Relocating the SQL database


Note: vCenter Server has inter-dependencies with other services. Care must be taken to not break any of these inter-dependencies. As with any major change in your infrastructure, good backups are essential in providing smooth, limited downtime changes.
To move your vCenter Server and SQL database:

  1. Verify and ensure that the Lockdown mode is disabled on hosts. To verify this, navigate to Host > Configuration > Security Profile > LockDown Mode.

  2. Shutdown the VMware VirtualCenter Server service. For more information, see Stopping, starting, or restarting vCenter services (1003895).

  3. Take a backup of the SQL database.

  4. If the SQL database is also being moved, create a second instance of your database and use the vendor's tools to migrate the data.

    Note: If you are using an Oracle database, create a second instance of your database and migrate the Oracle database schema, vpxadmin. For more information regarding migrating oracle databases, contact your software vendor.

  5. If you are migrating a vCenter Server 4.x/5.x database, you must also migrate the ADAM database. You can migrate this database if the Windows versions in the source and the destination is the same. If not, vCenter Server might not operate properly and/or the client might fail during connection. For more information, see Manually backing up and restoring the vCenter Server 4.x and 5.0 ADAM instance data (1029864).

  6. Create the appropriate System DSN connections on the new vCenter Server host. For more information, see the Viewing and modifying the database server section of vCenter Server installation fails with ODBC and DSN errors (1003928).

  7. If the new VirtualCenter server uses the same hostname and IP address, the SSL certificates can be copied to the new server to eliminate the need to reconnect the ESXi/ESX hosts.
To copy the VirtualCenter Server SSL certificates:
  1. Create this folder structure on the new server:
C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\SSL
  1. Copy these files from the original VirtualCenter server to the new server, preserving the folder structure:
  • C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\SSL\rui.key
  • C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\SSL\rui.pfx
  • C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\SSL\rui.crt
  1. Begin the installation of the vCenter Server software on the new server. If you are installing vCenter Server in a virtual machine, see the vCenter Server and the vSphere Client Hardware Requirements section of the ESXi Installable and vCenter Server Setup Guide and Technical Resource Center for guidelines to deploy vCenter Server in a virtual machine, including sizing, installation, functionality, and configuration of VMware High Availability (HA).

  2. When prompted, select Use existing database, and provide the correct credentials to that database.

  3. When prompted, select to not re-initialize the database to preserve all of your inventory data.

  4. Reboot the machine after the installation completes.

  5. When you first start the vCenter Server Client, it may ask for licenses. Configure the licenses as you had previously in your environment. For more information about licensing for ESX hosts, see the Installation Guide for your version of ESX. For more information about licensing for ESXi hosts, see the Setup Guide for your version of ESXi. You are now able to see the same settings and configuration details.

  6. If the IP address of the new vCenter Server has changed, your ESX hosts must be made aware of that change, otherwise the ESX hosts will continue to send their heartbeats to the original IP address of vCenter Server and appear as Not Responding or Disconnected. For more information, see vCenter Server IP address change causes ESX hosts to disconnect (1001493).

  7. Confirm that your SQL Agent rollup jobs are present. Detaching/attaching, importing, or restoring a database to a newer SQL server does not recreate these jobs. If these jobs are not present, there are problems viewing performance data and the database begins increasing in size. For more information, see Updating rollup jobs after the error: Performance data is currently not available for this entity (1004382).

  8. If vCenter Server is moved to another server with a fresh installation, the SSL certificates change and the ESX hosts show as disconnected within vSphere Client connected to vCenter Server. Right-click the disconnected hosts, click Connect, provide the root login credentials, and follow the prompts.
Note: If you are using custom or CA signed certificates, see Replacing vCenter Server Certificates.


Additional Information

Warning: If you are moving your database, you must follow all recommendations and instructions provided by the third party database vendor. If necessary, consult the appropriate documentation or engage third party vendor support.
If you are using VMware Consolidated Backup, on the VCB server you will need to edit the file %PROGRAMFILES\<VCB directory>\config\config.js and change the host line to the new IP or DNS name of the vCenter Server using a text editor to restore communications.
For information on:  
  • Microsoft's Copy Database Wizard, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 274463 .
  • The osql utility, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 325003.
  • The vCenter data migration tool, see the vSphere Upgrade Guide.

If you are using customer SSL certificates for Update Manager, see Replacing SSL certificates for VMware vCenter Update Manager by using the Update Manager Utility (1023011).

Note: The preceding links were correct as of March 13, 2014. If you find a link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.

For translated versions of this article, see:


migrate-vcenter-database migrate-vcenter-server-new-location

Update History

02/14/2014- Added Step 7 to include copy of SSL certs if original hostname and ip are retained. 06/28/2011 - Added step about migrating the ADAM database, replacing SSL certificates, and VCB. 05/11/2010 - Provided more information in Resolution step 4. 03/10/2014 - Updated file path on Step 7b.

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