I am thinking of moving from Windows VC (6.0) complete with external SQL, SRM, PSC servers to an all encompassing 6.5 VCSA. We currently run in linked mode to our DR site. The move is being motivated by a SQL licensing issue. I am currently looking into consolidating all the servers (bar SRM) into one VCSA on each side which can easily accommodate our capacity. I would not plan to upgrade but rather build the new environments and migrate my hosts to it once tested and bedded in.
Has anyone undergone this before and could advise of any tips or best practices learnt?
I'm actually in the midst of doing the exact same thing.
Absolutely go setup a VCSA instance to at least play around with it. There are a few gotchas that I'm sure you'll run into, as I have:
1 such gotcha was the following:
So far, the appliance is running pretty well and feels a lot smoother than 6.0 on a separate box. Obviously that will change once I start throwing hosts/clusters at it, but the early stages are promising.
I'm planning on putting one of my hosts with a dozen or so VMs on VCSA in the next couple weeks, and can report back on how it's running if you'd like.
Don't forget if you are moving from vCenter 6.0 to vCenter 6.5 you will need to upgrade SRM to 6.5 (6.5.1 for vCenter 6.5U1) also.
Re SRM thanks yes I know which is why on the large upgrades (5 to 6, 6 to 6.5) I prefer to create a new clean environment and migrate the hosts to them since vCenter 6.5 supports ESXi 6.0 .x and then upgrade the hosts once settled.
Your approach is solid and the VCSA is very dependable. If you're using distributed switches currently, you'll want to plan that migration carefully. My personal experience was to migrate back to a standard switch first, then migrate hosts to the new vCenter. Here are a couple resoruces that might be useful for you:
vSphere 6.5 Upgrade Planning Tool:
If you're going to do this "swing"-style migration, then you may want to have a read of this to give you some more ideas on what to expect and what the impact will be. As Mike says, conversion from a vDS to vSS will be necessary before the source vCenter will allow you to disconnect hosts, but there are other considerations as well which is why I decided to write about the process.