When vSphere 6 was released the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) was brought in line with the traditional Windows based vCenter Server. This meant that the appliance version of vCenter was the recommended version to implement. But how do you get your Windows vCenter 5.5 server transitioned to a vCenter 6 appliance? VMware have now released a migration tool from a Windows vCenter 5.5 server to a vCenter 6.0 appliance, known as vSphere 6.0 Update 2m.
It should be noted that it ONLY migrates from 5.5 to 6.0. Therefore if you are still running 5.0 or 5.1 then you will need to upgrade to 5.5 BEFORE being able to use this migration tool. It does, however, work with ANY update of 5.5.
The following items are migrated with this tool from 5.5 to 6.0
- Alarm data
- Historical and Performance data (optional)
The migration tool installs a VCSA preserving the identity of the previous windows vCenter, e.g. IP address, name, certificates and UUID.
One thing to consider is VMware Update Manager (VUM) as you still require a Windows Server for this. If you already have this installed on a separate server to your vCenter 5.5 Server then you are good to go. However, if VUM is installed on the SAME server as your vCenter 5.5 then you will want to move it to a separate server BEFORE you start the migration process. The same goes for other VMware solutions such as SRM, NSX, vRops, e.t.c. If they are installed on the same Windows server as the vCenter 5.5 server then they need to be moved off to a separate server to continue to work following the migration.
The data will be migrated to an embedded vProstgres database on the VCSA even if the Windows vCenter 5.5 server was using an external database.
If you vCenter 5.5 SSO was also running on the same server as your vCenter Server then the migration tool will implement an integrated Platform Service Controller (PCS) within the new VCSA. If you had an external SSO to your vCenter Server then the migration tool will install an external PCS for the VCSA.
Plan for some down time while you migrate your vCenter Server to a 6.0 appliance. For guidance on how much time you require for this migration see https://kb.vmware.com/kb/2146420.
More information on using the vCenter Server 5.5 to vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 U2m can be found in this FAQ https://kb.vmware.com/kb/2146439.
If you are already using a Windows vCenter 6.0 Server then look out for a migration tool to allow you to migrate from this to a vCenter Server appliance to be released in the future.