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Migrate Windows Distributed vCenter Server 5.5 to a vCenter Server 6.5 Appliances

I’ve been busy with the vSphere 5.5 to 6.5 upgrade work with last month and didn’t a chance to upgrade my blog. I thought to write an article to show the step by step guide to migrate the Windows based distributed vCenter server to a vCenter 6.5 Appliances.

I wrote the similar article to show the steps to migrate to a Windows vCenter Server and you can read it from here.

First of all, If we are migrating a distributed vCenter server 5.5 installation to a vCenter 6.5 Appliances you need to have at least two appliances to your PSC and vCenter server. Here is what I’m going to guide you in this post I have separate Windows based servers for SSO, Webclient and vCenter server.

I was involved with this upgrade plan and had to do lots of KB article readings and Compatibility checks before we start the upgrade. Since, this has a separate SSO server in vSphere 5.5 we need to migrate the SSO server in to a PSC Appliance first. Then we need to proceed with the vCenter Server migration.

Migrating the Single Sign-On Server to a Platform Service Controller

As you may aware vCenter Appliance deployment is a two steps process. Firstly, deploy the appliance and secondly, migrate the services. Those steps are applied to this upgrade as well.

Download your VCSA 6.5 Appliance from the VMware website and mount it to the Windows based SSO server.

Quick Tip….

If you are downloading or upgrading to the VCSA 6.5 make sure to download the 6.5f or 6.5 U1c as VMware has replaced the builds as of 14th of November 2017.

Read my post here.

Browse the ISO file and go to the migration-assistant folder and run the VMware-Migration-Assistant.

It will run the application and prompt you to enter the Single Sign-On password

Type the SSO password and hit enter to continue

It will prompt you to start the Migration and do not close this window until you complete the migration, don’t worry once it completes the migration your SSO server will be powered down automatically

Now go back to the vcsa-ui-installer/win32 folder double click on the installer 

Once you get the vCenter Server Appliance Installer window click on Migrate option

Click on Next 

Accept the EULA and click Next

Provide the sso server FQDN and the SSO password do not change the Migration Assistant port and click Next

Verify the thumbprint of the server

Provide the vCenter server or an ESXi host FQDN and relevant username and password (I use my sso username and password for the migration) click Next to continue

Accept the Certificate Warning and let it to connect to the server

Select the target VM folder in the inventory and click Next

Select the target compute resource (ESXi Server ) and Click Next

Provide the root password for the appliance and click Next

Select the target datastore, since this is a test environment I’m enabling the thin disk mode and click Next to continue

Configure the IP settings and you have to use a temporary IP address for the data migration, it will not be using this after the completion of the migration, click Next to continue

Review the configuration and click Finish to complete the Migration Stage 1 which is the appliance deployment

Installer will initialize, deploy and powering on the appliance, install the relevant RPM and complete the deployment after that.

Once it completes the Appliance deployment, click on Continue to start the Stage 2 of the Migration, you can close the window and continue this after login to the https://<temporary_IP_address>:5480 url

Installer will start the stage 2 of the Migration and click on Next in the Introduction window

It will perform the Pre-migration checks before start the data processing and Migration

In the next step we need to have an AD account which has the permissions to add this machine to the domain. Provide credentials and click Next and it will validate the account and this new PSC will be added to the domain

Configure the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP), I encourage you to select this in the production for the future improvement and click Next to continue

In the next step you have to accept the the backup availability of the source SSO server and the required data of the database, click Finish to complete the Migration

You will get the warning message to power down the source SSO server after initiating the network configuration in the Appliance, click Yes to accept the warning

It will start the migration and power down the source SSO server and complete the Migration

Now you will be able to login to the PSC with the old SSO FQDN

Now we have partially complete the 6.5 Migration and we need to start the vCenter server Migration

Migrating Windows based vCenter 5.5 to a 6.5 appliance

Basic Migration procedures are similar to the above steps, I’m not posting all the screen captures as this is going to a lengthier post (it’s already). Follow the below steps to proceed with the migration.

Mount the VCSA 6.5 ISO

Run the Migration assistant as mentioned in the above

Provide the SSO Password

Run the installer in the vcsa-ui-installer/win32 folder

Select the Migration Option

Click Next in the introduction window

Accept the EULA and click Next

Provide the source vCenter server and the SSO password, again do not change the Migration assistant port

Verify the thumbprint by Clicking Yes

Provide the deployment target and the credentials, here I’m using the source vCenter server and the SSO admin credentials. Click Next to continue

Accept the certificate Warning

Provide the target folder, target compute resource in the next steps

Provide a root password for the appliance and click Next 

Select the Appliance deployment size according to your environment in the next step and click Next to continue

Provide the target datastore and you can enable thin disk mode for the testing purposes

Provide the temporary IP address details and click Next

After reviewing the configuration click Finish to complete the Stage 1 of the migration which is the appliance deployment

Let the installer to complete the deployment and click Continue to move to the stage 2 of the migration, similar to the SSO deployment we can close the installer and can continue with the temporary IP and the 5480 port url for the rest of the migration

Click Next in the Introduction window

Provide an AD account credential to add this appliance to the domain

In the next step select the migration data that you want to copy from the source vCenter server and click Next to move forward

We have to accept the backup availability of the source vCenter server and the required data from the database and click Next

Warning message will display to power down the source vCenter server after the completion of the network configuration, click OK to start the migration

Let it to complete the data transfer and the appliance setup

if this window closes before it complete the data migration open the appliance management url and you can continue with that, I had a similar issues several times

Now we can access the vCenter server appliance with the same old vCenter FQDN. Note that we are now not able to use the vSphere C# client and we can use only the web client to access the vCenter server

That’s it now we have migrated the Windows based vCenter server to the vCenter Appliances. We have two appliances for PSC and vCenter server.

Aruna Lakmal

Associate Technical Specialist at Pearson, Sri Lanka. Technology junky, enthusiast, a VMware vExpert and a blogger with more than 7 years of Experience in Information Technology more focusing on VMware Virtualization, Microsoft and Datacenter Technologies.

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