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Reinstalling/Migrating vCenter Server 6.x (2144536)

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Purpose

This article covers re-installation of  vCenter Server on Windows when using an External Database. This article applies to these scenarios in which a customer may need to re-install their vCenter Server environment:
  • Existing host OS against current vSphere domain (existing Platform Services Controller) 1
  • New host OS against current vSphere Domain (existing Platform Services Controller) 2
  • Existing host OS against new vSphere Domain (new Platform Services Controller) 3
  • New host OS against new vSphere Domain (new Platform Services Controller) 4
  • Existing host OS with Embedded Platform Services Controller 5
  • New host OS with Embedded Platform Services Controller 6
Due to the distribution of data between the Platform Services Controller and vCenter Server, depending on the scenario in which a customer will uninstall and re-install the vCenter Server, there is a potential for dataloss. Review these impacts on vCenter Server:
  • Change of the vCenter Server's Universally Unique Identifier (UUID). This change has varied consequences for additional solutions which interact with it. Please note that the below is not an exhaustive list and it is possible other 3rd party solutions may be impacted. Check with the vendor of any products communicating with vCenter Server before re-installing. 
    • Site Recovery Manager: SRM appends the UUID to all objects in the protection groups. If vCenter UUID changes, a rebuild of the SRM configuration is necessary.

    • vSphere Replication: vSphere Replication also appends the UUID to its objects, and needs to be rebuilt if changed.

    • vRealize Operations Manager: VMware vRealize Operations Manager identifies objects by their VMware vCenter Server UUID. Changing of the UUID causes vRealize Operations Manager to interpret the object as a new object and the old object as a non-existing object. The metric history for the object is kept with the older object and not the existing object, and new metrics are stored with the new object.

    • VMware NSX: VMware NSX will need to be re-registered from the interface in NSX Manager if vCenter is reinstalled. A re-sync of the clusters may also need to be completed under Host Preparation to re-establish the link with EAM.

    • VMware Data Protection: VMware Data Protection will need to be re-registered if vCenter is reinstalled.

  • Loss of Certificates*
  • Loss of Tag and Category, and associations**
  • Loss of Roles and Role associations**
  • Loss of Storage Policies and Profiles **
  • Loss of Host Profiles**
  • VMware ESX Agent Manager (EAM) service fails to start***

Following the steps provided in the Resolution section of this article, you can expect to have new vCenter Server instance installed with a new UUID, and have either total or partial recovery of the impacted items.

Resolution

To re-install vCenter Server

To move your vCenter Server 6.0 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 vCenter Server service. For more information, see  How to stop, start, or restart vCenter Server 6.x services (2109881)

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

  6. If the new vCenter Server host OS uses the same hostname and IP address or you are re-installing on the same Host OS, the current SSL certificates can be re-used on the new server to eliminate the need to reconnect the ESXi/ESX hosts.
To export the vCenter Server's SSL certificates stored in VECs, see  Manually reviewing certificates in VMware Endpoint Certificate Store for vSphere 6.0 (2111411).
  1. Begin the installation of the vCenter Server software on the server. If you are installing vCenter Server in a virtual machine, see the vCenter Server and the vSphere Client Hardware Requirements section in the ESXi Installable and vCenter Server Setup Guide  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 not re-initialize the database to preserve all of your inventory data.

  4. Reboot the machine after the installation completes.
Post Installation Checklist:
  • 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.

  • 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 continue to send their heartbeats to the original IP address of vCenter Server and appear as Not Responding or Disconnected. For more information, see  VMware vCenter Server IP address change causes VMware ESX hosts to disconnect (1001493).

  • 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 "Performance data is currently not available for this entity" error after updating rollup in vSphere (1004382).

  • 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.

  • Consult the below section on Data Recovery Steps where applicable.

To reinstall vCenter Server Appliance

  1. Ensure that Lockdown mode is disabled on all ESXi hosts. To verify this, navigate to HostConfiguration > Security Profile > LockDown Mode.
  2. Stop the VMware vCenter Server services. For more information, see Stopping, starting, or restarting VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.x services (2109887).
  3. Backup of the vPostgres database. For more information, see Back up and restore vCenter Server Appliance/vCenter Server 6.0 vPostgres database (2091961)
  4. If the new vCenter Server Appliance Host OS uses the same hostname and IP address, or you are re-installing on the same Host OS, the current SSL certificates can be re-used on the new server to eliminate the need to reconnect the ESXi/ESX hosts.

    To export the vCenter Server's SSL certificates stored in VECs, consult the following documentation: Manually reviewing certificates in VMware Endpoint Certificate Store for vSphere 6.0 (2111411)
  1. Deploy the vCenter Server Appliance.
  2. Restore the backup of the vPostgres database. For more information, see Back up and restore vCenter Server Appliance/vCenter Server 6.0 vPostgres database (2091961)

Post Installation Checklist:

  • When first starting 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.

  • 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 VMware vCenter Server IP address change causes VMware ESX hosts to disconnect (1001493).

  • 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.

  • Consult the below section on Data Recovery Steps where applicable.

Data Recovery Steps:

Recovery of Certificates (*)
Recovery of EAM (***)

Additional Information

For customers using the embedded VMware Postgres Database, see this article for the recovery workflow Uninstalling vCenter Server 6.0.x resets the embedded VMware Postgres database (2108547).

See Also

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