asmcbride
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Need Help - Migrating from vCenter Server 4.1.0 on a Windows XP 64-bit host to new hardware running Server 2008 R2 vCenter Server 5.5 - Need assistance with all steps and procedures

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=205313...

Migrating from one vcenter server host to another:  http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=585044...

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!

-mcbride

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asmcbride
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after further reading, now I'm wondering - do I have to migrate like this or can I just build the new vCenter Server 5.5 server and remove the hosts one at a time from the vCenter server 4.1 and add them to the 5.5 vcenter?  the article below makes it sound as if this will work, although I'm confused because there seems to be so many different options.  would this work:  http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=100477...

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weinstein5
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Welcome to the Community - Building a new vcenter and moving the hosts is definitely one way to accomplish the migration - have you review the upgrade guide it details the steps required to do that as well as other methods for upgrade - http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-55/topic/com.vmware.ICbase/PDF/vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-551-upgrad...

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asmcbride
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yes, i've reviewed that document but it is really more geared toward upgrading the existing vcenter server (same hardware and just doing an upgrade).  What I really am trying to accomplish is two fold - I need to update hardware so I need to build a new vcenter server, in addition to changing hardware I need to upgrade from version 4.1 to version 5.5. 

What I'm really looking for here is the recommended best/simplest/cleanest approach for handling this by someone who has done it.  Seems to me that updating to new hardware for a vcenter server has to be a fairly common practice.  Can it be as simple as building a new server, installing vcenter 5.5, exporting the sql database from the original vcenter server and importing it into the new vcenter server, disconnecting from the hosts on the original vcenter server and connecting to those hosts on the new? 

If someone could outline the proper steps and include any tips or absolute must do's that would be great.

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asmcbride
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anyone?  my current vcenter server is on an XP desktop (inherited this setup) and I want to build a new Server 2008 R2 vcenter server to manage the cluster.   Can someone please give me the best practice steps for making this happen.  What steps do I need to complete to migrate the data and what data am I migrating?

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weinstein5
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I have not done this but if you look at the link I provided on page 111 - these are the steps you need to do to move from a Windows 2003 or in your case Windows XP environment to Windows2008/2012 - you would have to do the same steps - Install vCenter 5.5 on supported hardware and then follow the steps to move the environment to the new server -

The other option is you have a simple environment is to install a clean vCenter 5.5 and recreate your environment -

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asmcbride
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ok, that is exactly where I was about to go next.  I have a small environment (4 physical hosts and around 20 total VMs)...so I was just about to ask, what if I just installed a new vcenter server 5.5...if I do this, can I just connect the new vcenter server (on new hardware and w/ server 2008) to my existing cluster and not do any of the migration of the SQL database stuff?  Am I correct in my thinking that I will lose my historical performance and event info, but if this isnt important then this method will work?  What gotchas do I need to be aware of if I decide to go this route?

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weinstein5
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There really on not many gotchas - yes you will lose your historical data - if you are using Distributed virtual switch you will have to rebuild it in the new environment but if your are not then you when you add the hosts the virtual standard switch will come in with the ESXi host -

After your new vcenter is built you will have to dismantle your old environment - I would do this by disabling any cluster DRS/HA and then simply remove the host from the old inventory and then add it to the new environment -

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asmcbride
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when you say dismantle your old environment do you just mean remove the cluster/hosts from the original vcenter server and add it to the new vcenter server?  what exactly do i need to check to see if any cluster DRS/HA is setup? 

at this point im really thinking that the way to go will be to build a new/fresh vcenter.  my only question now is whether I should build a new server 2008 w/ SQL or whether I should use the vcenter appliance - which is starting to sound very appealing.  any recommendations here?

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weinstein5
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Yes that is what I mean by dismantle - if you have cluster configured in the old environment you can check looking at the cluster settings -

in terms of whether using the appliance or The installed version of vcenter at this point I have no preference one way or the other - it all depends on the customer

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KevinWilkins
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I am in the same situation. What did you do? Did your migration go well? If not, what gotchas did you run into that you didn't expect?

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