Migrating from Windows vCenter 6.x to VCSA 6.5

Hey folks! As most of you know by now, VMware has now completely moved out of the Windows dependency for vCenter Server and with vSphere 6.5, there is no need to have a Windows Server for Update Manager and all you need is to deploy a VCSA 6.5. Migrating from a Windows based vCenter Server to VCSA 6.5 has been simplified greatly and here is the step by step process of doing it. To know more about the new features in vSphere 6.5, you can find them here, here, here and here.

Let’s begin the migration process. First of all, make sure your current vCenter is fully backed up and Second of all, you need to download the VCSA iso from the vmware website and also you need to have a free temporary IP available in your network. On the Windows based vCenter Server, mount the VCSA iso that you downloaded and go to the below location on the iso.

Run the Migration Assistant exe file.

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The Migration Assistant Tool starts and at the prompt enter the SSO domain password.

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Then you will be prompted to enter the password for the service account configured to run the vCenter service on the Windows machine. Follow the prompts throughly and wait until the prechecks are complete and you see the below screen.

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Now, on a different machine in the domain, mount the VCSA iso and go to the below location on the iso and run the installer.

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Once you are at the below screen, select Migrate

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As with installation, migration also happens in two stages, click Next here.

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Enter the Windows vCenter Server details and the password for SSO domain and click Next.

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Enter the ESXi host details on which you want the vCenter Appliance to be deployed. Click Next.

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Give a name and Set a password for the VCSA vm. Click Next.

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Select the deployment size, since mine is a lab, i have selected Tiny and click Next after the selection.

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Select the datastore for the appliance.

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Configure a temporary IP address and click Next.

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At this point on the vCenter console, you should see the below comment.

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Review the settings on the migration wizard and click Finish.

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Once the deployment is complete. Click Continue to proceed with Stage 2

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Now we are at the stage 2 of the migration process and at the below screen click Next.

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You should see some prechecks running and on the Windows vCenter console.

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After the prechecks are done, you are warned for any non compatible settings and they are not migrated. Take necessary actions based on the warinings you see.

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For the new VCSA to be in the domain after the migration, you should supply the credentials of a user account that is capable of joining a machine to the domain.

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Select what all data you want to migrate from Windows vcenter to VCSA. Typically its good to migrate all the data present especially the performance metrics.

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Help VMware to make your life easy in future, check with your security team before you check the little box here. Click Next.

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Review the settings and click Finish.

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As expected, the Windows based vCenter Server will be shutdown as part of the migration process. Acknowledge the warning.

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Let the migration complete and you should now be able to access the vcenter asusual.

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With vSphere 6.5, the menu items are bit changed and are more comfortable to access now.

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It is that simple now to migrate from Windows based vCenter Server to a VCSA 6.5. Thank you VMware for the efforts you have put in.

Hope this was informative. Interested in reading about Enhanced Linked Mode? Use the below link. Thanks!

Enhanced Linked Mode with External PSC and Mixed Mode using vCenter 6.5

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