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How do you move/migrate vSphere vCenter into the environment it is managing?

Posted on 2014-12-14
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Last Modified: 2014-12-16
Hi,

I have 3 hosts in a vSphere 5.5 Standard cluster running approx 40 VMs. They are running on shared storage (a SAN).

My vCenter is also a VM - running Windows 2012 - but it is running on an etirely different host (ESXi free version 5.1.0 799733) which, of course, is completely separate from the 3 main 5.5 hosts / cluster. It is running "VM Version 8" (also known as the "hardware version").

My question is: How do I go about migrating this vCenter VM into the cluster that it is managing, so that it becomes part of the "family"?

The perhaps most straight-forward way would probably be:

1) Shut down the vCenter VM
2) Export the vCenter from 5.1 as an ovf file
3) Connect directly to one of the 5.5 hosts with vSphere windows client (cannot connect to vCenter, coz it is shut down, and cant use web client either), and choose to "Deploy ovf template" (then selecting the vCenter ovf file)
4) Check that the vCenter VM's settings (especially network) are correct for operating from the "new" 5.5 host
5) Start up vCenter and hope everything falls into place


An alternative step 2 and 3 could also be:
2-alt) Copy the VM's files to a lun on the shared storage
3-alt) Connect directly to one of the 5.5 hosts, locate the vmx file on shared storage, and select "Add to inventory"


I'm just worried that the relocation will confuse vCenter (and/or the hosts) somehow, and it therefore will stop working. Also, there might be some kind of compatibility issue. Or something else that will trip me up.

Can somebody please point the way and/or alleviate my fears? Thanks in advance!

Br,
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Question by:LuftHansi-DK
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LVL 122

Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 40498813
Your methods are correct.

We usually do the following:-

1. VMware vCenter needs to be powered off, before power off note the Host it's running on.

2. Connect directly to that host via vSphere Client

see my EE Article

Part 2: HOW TO: Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client

3. Remove from Inventory (but do not delete from disk!)

4. Options next are you could Export to OVF...

or just cut and paste between datastores.

HOW TO: Clone or Copy a virtual machine in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x or ESXi 5.0

HOW TO: Select the right answer to "I Moved It" or "I Copied It" in VMware vSphere (ESXi)

5. if cutting and pasting, Add to Inventory.

6. Power On vCenter, and re-connect back to vCenter Server.

OR...

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

Any questions ?
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Author Comment

by:LuftHansi-DK
ID: 40499077
Hi Andrew,

Thank you for your speedy reply. One question (for now!):

So, when the vCenter server starts up on the "new" ESXi 5.5 host, it will automatically "rediscover itself" as being one of the VMs on that 5.5 host? I don't need to do anything to facilitate that discovery?

Br,
Hans
0
 
LVL 122
ID: 40499085
Correct, it will discover itself, and work out where it is.

sometimes, you may have an original unknown (inaccessible) entry in the inventory, which was the "old" phantom copy, which can be deleted. (it 's not linked to the original vCenter!)
0
 

Author Closing Comment

by:LuftHansi-DK
ID: 40502001
Thank you very much for your insights. I have not yet performed the move, but I have no doubt that your directions are correct, so I hereby give you the points.

I do, however, have another very related question, if you could be so kind:

SHOULD I move the vCenter onto the cluster (/SAN) that it is managing? So far, that environment has been quite stable (knock on wood!), and the "outside" servers (upon which we are running the free ESXi version) are approaching the end of their warranty period. So - new hardware, or move "inside" - what's your take? This also goes for our 3Par SAN Processor, bty (also running on a VM on a free ESXi host).

Thanks again,
Hans
0
 
LVL 122
ID: 40502085
I would have no hesitations to move the vCenter Server onto the SAN connected to the ESXI hosts, it's managing.
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