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!! VCenter Migration From Old Server To New Server !!

OK.  I'm fairly new to VMware but I have a good technical background.  I've inherited a cluster of (4) physical hosts running vSphere Enterprise 4.1 and (1) Dell desktop running vCenter Server 4.1.0 (491557) on a Windows XP Pro 64-bit workstation.  vCenter Server is currently running SQL 2005 on this XP box.  I want to migrate our platform to vSphere Enterprise 5.5.  I have the necessary licenses and have been doing a lot of reading online regarding the process.  From everything I've gathered the first thing that needs to happen is to get vCenter server updated to 5.5, however before I can do that I need to get vCenter Server on new hardware because it's currently on this XP workstation.  So, I can build a new Server 2008 R2 server and install SQL 2008 or use the embedded SQL instance, but I know there has to be a lot of other necessary steps to migrate all of the necessary data/settings/configuration from the XP station w/ SQL 2005 to the new Server 2008 R2.  

I've read through a lot of documentation including the links below but it all just seems overly complicated and I'm hoping some of the experts can help me better determine the proper path and processes/steps to take to get me where I need to be.  Any insight/guidance/tips would be greatly appreciated.  Also, if there is another approach that I'm missing that would be a better option please let me know.  

Articles I've read through:
Upgrading to vcenter server 5.5 best practices:  http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2053132
Migrating from one vcenter server host to another:  http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=5850444
Upgrading to vcenter 5.5 on windows platform:  VMware KB: Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.5 on a Microsoft Windows platform

Any and all help would be extremely helpful, thanks in advance!
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wpstech
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wpstech
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You are correct Windows XP is not supported for a vCenter Server 5.5 installation.

You may want to decide whether to

1. Install vCenter Server for Windows

or

2. Use the vCenter Server Appliance (Linux).

If you decide you want to use vCenter Server for Windows, do you need or want to migrate you existing database and configuration, and go through many additional steps and pain?

The key, is all the current settings are located in the database, so you will need to migrate the existing database to a new SQL server.

either Express or Full SQL will do, this can be a dedicated SQL server, or a server you intend to use for vCenter Server as well.

Do you want to keep the same vCenter Server name and IP Address?

It's much easier to install a new vCenter Server from scratch!
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jhyieslaCommented:
Something else to consider before beginning this process - is your hardware infrastructure compatible with 5.5?  For example I have a server farm running 5 IBM hosts. Right now it's at 5.0. I can't update it to 5.1, because the first two servers we bought are not in the VMware and IBM compatibility matrices.  While 5.1 might work, if we run into any trouble we'll have issues getting support because we would not be running compatible hardware/OS levels. And attempting to put 5.1 or 5.5 on this hardware might give us issue right from the start.

Here is the VMware HCL page that you can use to check out the compatibility of your hardware and ESXi 5.5.

http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php
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wpstechAuthor Commented:
Thank you both for the information.   Andrew we are going to keep the same name and IP address to keep things simple.  And building a new server with 5.5 on it seems like the best way to go.  We are going to build a new server (order new from dell) that is on the HCL.  

From your note Andrew and what we are reading we think this is the best way.  Backup the SQL from the old Vcenter server and then restore to the new server.  Remove a VM from the old Vcenter and add to the new Vcenter etc.  We have also read that we need to export and import the distributed switch configs as well.  Can you (or anyone) think of any other Gotcha's we need to look out for.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Do you have Veeam Backup and Replication, because you can test and lab this, using Veeam?
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wpstechAuthor Commented:
no, we do not have veeam,  we have appassure.  other than doing a full backup of the database on the XP vcenter server and restoring that database on the new Win server 2008 vcenter server are there any other steps?  i've read some things on line referencing to migrating the ADAM database as well. wondering if this and what else may need to actually be done from someone who has actually performed this process.

link i'm referring to:  https://communities.vmware.com/message/2289893
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Okay no Veeam just use Clone to create your test lab and change to private Lab network
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