Migrate vCenter Server VM to another Host w/o vMotion

Issue:
I need to update VMWare patches on my (3) HPGen 8 Hosts.
ESXi 5.1 VMWare Essentials licensing (not PLUS)

Obstacle:
I do not have vMotion licensing and am using local storage of 9.9TB on each of the (3) Hosts. No shared storgage.

Scenario:
My vCenter Server is a Virtual Machine on Host 1. I have successfully used vCenter to download, stage, and remediate the patches on Hosts 2+3. Unfortunately, I cannot update Host 1 because vCenter is a VM on that Host. Without vMotion I cannot move this VM to another Host to perform these upgrades on Host 1. I attempted a 'Clone' of the vCenter VM to Host 3 and although it succeeded I caused all sorts of issues where I could not register the Hosts to that vCenter Server - therefore could not connect and perform this procedure. I do not feel comfortable using SSH to apply the updates because I do not have any direct step-by-step instructions. The instructions on the VMWare site 'scare' me and make me hesitant. I was told I can create a boot disk to perform this on the Server locally but that would require me to fly to the office - which I cannot do for quite some time.

Questions:
1) Can I use the Standalone converter to migrate the vCenter VM to another Host? What would be items of concern?

2) I see 'hancoccka' mention VEAM backup software all over the VMWare Questions people ask... Would this be a possible solution for me and, if so, can I use it with VMWare Essentials (not Plus) for this purpose?

3) Aside from options 1+2 above, is there a better way to do this?
LVL 14
Michael MachieIT SupervisorAsked:
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SeanSystem EngineerCommented:
if you are using a shared storage then you should be able to just shut down the VM, disconnect it from the host and reconnect it to the other host. If you do not then you should be able to do the same only you will need to copy the vm files from one to the other.
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Michael MachieIT SupervisorAuthor Commented:
No Shared storage...

Copying the vm files may work. I am not real familiar with the files though so would you know which ones to copy over? I could power down the existing, copy the files to my pc, then upload the files to the datastore on the other Host and power it on? Would it just 'appear' in my inventory list or something?
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SeanSystem EngineerCommented:
you would need to browse the data store and the VMs will be listed in folders. Just grab the whole folder and copy it to a usb or something. Then do the reverse on the other host. Once you do that you should be able to just right click the file that you copied with a .vmdk extension and select Add to Inventory...
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SeanSystem EngineerCommented:
watch this youtube video and it should show you how to do it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jf4_4sTNBg8
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Michael MachieIT SupervisorAuthor Commented:
Sounds easy.. I will watch the video and give it a whirl.

Thanks for the fast reply.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Thanks for the reference and researching....!!!

A couple of options:-

1. Shutdown vCenter VM
2. Connect directly to the Host with vSphere Client, which hosts the vCenter VM
3. Export the vCenter VM as OVF, Import the OVF on a new Host.
4. Start vCenter Server.

OR

1. Do the same as above with Datastore browser.

OR

1. WinSCP or Veeam FastSCP.

OR

Please see my EE Article, Step by Step Tutorial with Screenshots....

HOW TO: "Live Migrate" VMware Virtual Machines between ESX/ESXi hosts and/or datastores for FREE without licenses for vMotion or Storage vMotion

I would use Live Migrate feature!
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Michael MachieIT SupervisorAuthor Commented:
Zindel1:
I watched that video and it uses VMWare Workstation. I thought VMWare Workstation was to manage locally created VMs on the local machine where VMWare Workstation is installed. Am I incorrect? Can I actually use VMWare Workstartion as a pseudo vCenter for the purpose of migrations? I own that software so it could be an option.

For copying from the datastore - see comment below under 'Option 2'

hanccocka:

Option 1 - currently doing so as I type this

Option 2 - Copying the VM files from the Datastore via a web browser reports incorrect file sizes - hesitant to use that method. The copied files show as much smaller than the originals.

Option3 - I have not looked at these yet although I did watch a video on the SCP method - a little confusing for me for a first-timer.

Option 4 - Created a VEAM account and will download it tonight at home, on my 180mb pipe versus my office's 3mb pipe lol.
_________________________________________________________________________

Question:
Does it matter that the Server VM I want to migrate is the actual vCenter Server? Is there anything else I would need to do after getting it migrated to the new Host?
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Michael MachieIT SupervisorAuthor Commented:
Update:

I have Exported as an OVA Template to my laptop and then Deployed an OVA Template using this Export. I am now able to power on the VM and launch everything as normal!! I have connected to vSphere and can manage the Hosts as normal!!

I am going to run this Server for the rest of the week on this Host to verify all works as normal and then continue on with completing my original issue as seen in this question:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Server/Windows_Server_2008/Q_28182983.html

Thanks guys!
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Michael MachieIT SupervisorAuthor Commented:
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 0 points for Machienet's comment #a39487806

for the following reason:

Zindel1 was very quick to respond and provide some options. However, since the video instructs on how to complete this with additional software (with cost) it was definitely not my first choice, knowing that other methods were available. Also, the Datastore copy reported different file sizes than the original which makes me hesitant to even try that method - although in theory it should be no issue and the file sizes should match.

Accepted Solution:
hanccocka had an extremely easy solution by using vShpere's inherent options for Exporting the VM as an OVA Template, then Deploy an OVA Template on the new Host, using the Exported OVA file as the Deployment Source. This worked FLAWLESSLY and was done within 90 minutes with less than 10 mouse clicks - doesn't get much easier than that!
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Michael MachieIT SupervisorAuthor Commented:
Edited:
I must apologize again, my mouse went haywire (battery is dying) causing delays and I ended up clicking a bunch of incorrect stuff.,...
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Michael MachieIT SupervisorAuthor Commented:
I chose the incorrect post for the Solution - accidentally, in my haste, clicking on my OWN Post as the Solution. Mods, please correct my mistake and select hanccocka's comment as the correct answer - excellent.
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Michael MachieIT SupervisorAuthor Commented:
Zindel1 was very quick to respond and provide some options. However, since the video instructs on how to complete this with additional software (with cost) it was definitely not my first choice, knowing that other methods were available. Also, the Datastore copy reported different file sizes than the original which makes me hesitant to even try that method - although in theory it should be no issue and the file sizes should match.

Accepted Solution:
hanccocka had an extremely easy solution by using vShpere's inherent options for Exporting the VM as an OVA Template, then Deploy an OVA Template on the new Host, using the Exported OVA file as the Deployment Source. This worked FLAWLESSLY and was done within 90 minutes with less than 10 mouse clicks - doesn't get much easier than that!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Thanks, just writing a new article about OVF Backups!
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