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FAQ: Migrating vCenter Server 5.5 to vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 U2m (2146439)

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Purpose

This article answers frequently asked questions about migrating a Windows install vCenter Server to the vCenter Server Appliance.

Resolution

  1. Should I install or upgrade to vSphere 6.0 Update 2m?

    This release is specifically targeted for customers who want to migrate from a Windows vCenter Server 5.5 to the vCenter Server Appliance. Installing and upgrading is not supported with this release as it is same underlying code base as vSphere 6.0 Update 2. The m in Update 2m denotes Migration.

  2. How does the vCenter Server Appliance Migration Tool work?

    Click  here to view the video for a quick overview of the migration process. For more information, see the vSphere Migration guide.

  3. What versions of vSphere is supported for the Source Windows vCenter Server?

    Only vSphere 5.5 Update 3d and earlier. If you are running vSphere 5.0 or 5.1, upgrading to vSphere 5.5 is required before migrating. Both physical and virtual vCenter Server 5.5 installations are fully supported with the vCenter Server Appliance Migration Tool.

  4. Is vSphere 6.0 supported migration?

    No, vSphere is currently not supported for migration. This will be supported in a future release.

  5. Can I migrate to the vCenter Server Appliance but not upgrade to vSphere 6.0?

    No, the vCenter Server Appliance Migration includes both the Migration and Upgrade. These two operations are tied together and cannot be separated. 

  6. Can I still migrate if I have my vCenter Server components (vSphere Web Client, vCenter Server, Inventory Service & Single Sign-On Server) distributed across multiple Windows system?

    Yes, the vCenter Server Appliance Migration Tool will support these different deployment topologies as part of the migration. The Migration Assistant only needs to run on the vCenter Server and SSO Server if the components are distributed. It is important to note the Migration Assistant will provide either a warning or an error message depending on the extension(s) installed on the vSphere Single Sign-On Server. A warning will be displayed for installed stateless extensions such as the vSphere Web Client and vSphere ESXi Dump Collector, but the migration process can proceed. The Migration Assistant will report an error when stateful extensions such as the vCenter Inventory Service, Auto Deploy, and vSphere Authentication Proxy are installed directly on the vSphere Single Sign-On Server. In this case the migration process cannot proceed until these extensions have been moved off the vSphere Single Sign-On Server.

  7. Can I change my vCenter Server deployment topology and/or my vSphere SSO Domain as part of the migration?

    No, the vCenter Server Appliance Migration does NOT modify the topology and/or vSphere SSO Domain configurations of your deployment. You must make these changes either before or after the migration.

  8. What versions of Microsoft SQL Server are supported for migration?

    All versions of Microsoft SQL Server (including Express and Embedded) that Windows vCenter Server 5.5 supports.

  9. What version of Oracle for the Windows vCenter Server Database is supported for migration?

    All versions that Windows vCenter Server 5.5 currently supports is supported with the VCSA Migration Tool.

  10. If I have an External Microsoft SQL or Oracle Database for my Source Windows vCenter Server, can I continue to use that after the migration?

    No, as part of the migration, all data within the vCenter Server Database will be migrated to the Embedded vPostgres Database on the vCenter Server Appliance.

  11. If I have any additional VMware Products (NSX, vROps, vRA, SRM, Horizon View, and so on) and/or 3rd Party Solutions installed on the same machine as Windows vCenter Server, will they still work after the migration?

    No, because the Source Windows vCenter Server hostname\IP address is transferred and the machine is powered off as part of the migration. You will need to reinstall and re-register any of the VMware Products and/or 3rd Party Solutions on separate system. If you have vSphere Update Manager (VUM) installed on the Source Windows vCenter Server, see the Moving Update Manager to a New Host Machine When Migrating vCenter Server to vCenter Server Appliance section of the Migration guide.

  12. What happens to the VMware solutions (NSX, vROps, vRA, SRM, Horizon View, and so on) or Third Party Solutions that was associated with the Source Windows vCenter Server?

    As long as these solutions are NOT installed on the Source Windows vCenter Server, they will continue to function. Plugin registrations are preserved and migrated to the vCenter Server Appliance during migration. Some solutions may require a service refresh to re-connect to the vCenter Server Appliance after migration. You should verify within each product that their connection to the vCenter Server after migration is still valid.

  13. Can the vCenter Server Appliance Migration be automated?

    Yes, you can automate using the vCenter Server Appliance Scripted CLI method just like you would for installation and upgrade. There is an example JSON migration template that is included in the vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 Update 2m ISO. If you have a Physical Source Windows vCenter Server, you will need to manually copy/start the Migration Assistant Tool before you start the automated migration. If your Source Windows vCenter Server is a virtual machine, this step is automated for you as part of the Scripted CLI migration.

  14. Are custom ports on the Source Windows vCenter Server supported?

    Only if the custom ports were changed for Net Dumper & Auto Deploy Services. All other custom ports are not supported in the vCenter Server Appliance Migration will display an error if it detects any custom ports and prevent the migration from proceeding. Customers will need to revert back to the default ports if they want to perform a migration.

  15. Are the vCenter Server IP Address/Hostname, UUID, MoRef ID, vSphere Tags, Custom Attributes, Folders, Permissions, VDS, Self-Signed/Customer SSL Certificates, and so on migrated?

    Yes, the entire vCenter Server configuration will be migrated over. From a customer and third party solutions consumption standpoint, nothing will change because the exact same vSphere API is available for both Windows vCenter Server and the vCenter Server Appliance.

  16. Can I keep my original vCenter Server virtual machine Display/Inventory name?

    No, you will have to provide a new vCenter Server Display/Inventory name, but you can reclaim the original name after the migration process has completed. For example, rename the original vCenter Server Display/Inventory name from vCenter-01 to something like vCenter-01-old before you start the migration. Now, you can now use the original vCenter01 Display/Inventory name during the migration process. By performing the rename before the migration, it prevents the need for a Storage vMotion to rename the underlying virtual machine configuration files to match the display/inventory name.

  17. Can I change the Hostname or IP Address of my vCenter Server during or after migration?

    You cannot change the Hostname (FQDN), also referred to as Primary Network Identifier (PNID) before or after migration. You can however, change the IP Address if you are using FQDN by updating your DNS records and then updating the IP Address of your vCenter Server using the Virtual Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) located at https://vcenter_server:5480.

  18. Are local Windows and/or Single Sign-On (SSO) Users migrated?

    Local Windows users are NOT migrated, you will need to re-create them if you require such users. Single Sign-On users are migrated as part of the vCenter Server Appliance Migration.

  19. What happens to the scripts that I have configured to run as a vCenter Server Alarm on the Source Windows vCenter Server?

    These local scripts on the Source Windows vCenter Server will not be migrated as they will not run on the vCenter Server Appliance. The Alarm definitions will be migrated, but they will not execute correctly as the scripts they are configured to run are for the Windows platform only. You will need to either disable, delete or update these vCenter Server Alarms after the migration.

  20. Is there a way to retrieve scripts or other information from my Windows vCenter Server after the migration has completed?

    Yes. However, you will want to either isolate your Windows vCenter Server or change its IP Address because if you power on again, you will cause a conflict with the migrated vCenter Server Appliance.

  21. What user accounts and permissions do I need to perform migration?

    You will need the SSO Administrator credentials, vCenter Server or ESXi host credentials for deploying the new vCenter Server Appliance and Windows Administrator credentials of the Windows Server running vCenter Server component(s). If you use a Service Account to run the vCenter Server service, make sure the account has the replace a process level token permission. If the Source Windows vCenter Server is joined to a Microsoft Active Directory Domain, you will also need an account that has permissions to join the vCenter Server Appliance to domain. For more information, see vCenter Server migration displays a failed to join domain warning (2146454).

  22. If migration fails or if I want to see more details regarding a migration, where can I find the logs?

    vCenter Server Appliance Migration Tool UI Logs: %appdata%\Local\VMware\CIP\vcsaInstaller\sessions\session_id\logs
    vCenter Server Appliance Migration Tool CLI Logs: %TMPDIR/vcsaCliInstaller-<timestamp>/vcsa-cli-installer.log
    vCenter Server Appliance Migration Assistant Logs on Source Windows vCenter Server: %temp%/vcsMigration & %temp%/migration-assistant.log

  23. How do I roll back in case of a failed migration?

    For information on the rollback process, see Rolling Back a Migration of vCenter Server 5.5 on Windows to vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 U2m or Later (2146453)

  24. Can I consolidate multiple vCenter Servers during the migration process?

    No, migrations have a 1:1 relationship between the Source Windows vCenter Server and the destination vCenter Server Appliance

  25. My Source Windows vCenter Server was deployed using DHCP, is this supported?

    Yes, DHCP is supported as long as the Source” Windows vCenter Server is not using the DHCP IP Address as its Hostname (FQDN). This means that the DHCP Server should be providing a unique hostname and that it is also resolvable through DNS.

  26. Is the vSphere 6.0 Update 2m vCenter Server Migration Tool an updated version of the VCS to VCVA converter fling?

    Yes and no. The Fling was intentionally limited in scope to help get early feedback from customers. The new vCenter Server Appliance Migration Tool has been designed with that feedback in mind and supports the various configurations and topologies of a vSphere 5.5 environment. The vCenter Server Appliance Migration tool is also officially supported, unlike the Fling.

  27. Do I need to break Linked Mode before starting a migration?

    Yes, you will need to break Linked Mode before starting your migration. This is the same process as a vSphere upgrade.

  28. The prerequisites checks failed when running the Migration Assistant, how do I restart this process?

    Before attempting to relaunch the migration assistant, resolve any errors displayed in the console and/or logs. Only one instance of the Migration Assistant can run at any time and if you try to start another instance, an error message will be displayed.

  29. I was using a backup agent for my Source Windows vCenter Server SQL Database, how do I backup the vCenter Server Appliance vPostgres DB?

    With the vCenter Server Appliance, full image level backup using a VADP-based solution is the only supported way to fully backup and restore vCenter Server. It is also important to note that even in a Windows vCenter Server using an External Database, simply backing up the vCenter Server Database is not sufficient to fully restore a vCenter Server and all of its data and configuration.

  30. I was using an Agent (for example, Monitoring, IDS, backup) on my Source Windows vCenter Server, how does this work after migration?

    We do not support any VMware or Third Party Agents to be installed on the VCSA. Similar functionality can still be provided through the use of vSphere APIs which customers and Third Party Solutions can consume.

  31. Can I run the vCenter Server Appliance Migration Tool directly on my Source Windows vCenter Server?

    No, the VCSA Migration Tool (UI/CLI) needs to run on a different machine other than the Source Windows vCenter Server because it will be shut down during the migration process and you will lose connectivity to the installer. This is not to be confused with the Migration Assistant which does run on the Source Windows vCenter Server which provides communication between the Source Windows vCenter Server and the vCenter Server Appliance in which the data will be migrated to.

  32. What if my vCenter Server is not part of an Active Directory Domain?

    This is not an issue as long as the vCenter Server has a valid FQDN.

  33. If the Source Windows vCenter Server is a self-managed vCenter Server that is going to be migrated, can it be used as a deployment target?

    No, because there is downtime as part of the migration process and the Source Windows vCenter Server will not be available during this time. To migrate in this scenario, you will need to specify the ESXi host that is currently hosting the Source Windows vCenter Server.

  34. Why is a temporary IP Address required, I thought the migration process retains the current vCenter Server IP address?

    The migrated VCSA will retain the Hostname/IP Address of the Source Windows vCenter Server. However, before the switchover, there is a period in which we export the configuration of the Source Windows vCenter Server and the vCenter Server Appliance will need to be on the network with a temporary IP Address that can communicate with the Source Windows vCenter Server.

  35. What are the requirements for the temporary IP Address?

    The temporary IP Address should be on a routable network that is reachable to the Source Windows vCenter Server.

  36. What if the default port of 9123 for the Migration Assistant running on the Source Windows vCenter Server is not available?

    If port 9123 is not available, the Migration Tool will automatically select the next available port. Customers also have the option of specifying an open port. This information is displayed under the migration settings section of the migration assistant. If the default port is not available, you will need to record the new port and specify it when you start the migration wizard.

  37. How do I select the proper Database size during the migration?

    As part of running the Migration Assistant on the Source Windows vCenter Server, it will not only validate but also collect information about your environment. You will be provided with the current size of your vCenter Server Database and from here, you can either match or increase the configuration based on the future growth of this environment.

  38. During the migration of my Single Sign-On server to a Platform Service Controller, I cannot see or change the appliance size, why is this?

    The Platform Services Controller has a standard deployment size of 2 vCPUs and 2GB of RAM.

  39. After the migration, when logging into my vSphere Web Client, I noticed a message stating that my vCenter Server has expiring license. I was licensed before the migration, what changed?

    Before the migration, you were using a vCenter Server 5.5 license. As part of the migration process, you are now using vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 which uses a new license. Login to the MyVMware portal and update your vCenter Server license from version 5.x to 6.0. After you have upgraded your license, apply the new vCenter license key in the vSphere Web Client.

  40. The Migration Assistant found an incompatible version of Auto Deploy during the pre-check. How do I get past this?

    You will need to upgrade the version of Auto Deploy to version 5.5 before starting the migration.

  41. What if my vCenter Server has two Network Adapters?

    The vCenter Server hostname is resolved to the IP Address. If you have more than one NIC which can resolve this lookup, then you will be prompted to select the IP Address of the NIC you wish to migrate.

  42. Is there an option to NOT migrate the vCenter Server Performance and Historical data?

    Yes, by default only core data (Inventory, config and Alarms) is migrated. Select the check box to migrate all vCenter Server Performance and Historical data (Stats, Events, and Tasks). However, not migrating this data will help reduce the amount of overall downtime.

  43. How do I calculate the amount of downtime that is needed to migrate the "Source" Windows vCenter Server to the vCenter Server Appliance? 

    To calculate the estimated amount of downtime needed, see Estimating vCenter Server 5.5 to vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 migration time (2146420).

See Also

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