8 Replies Latest reply on Jun 7, 2020 10:21 AM by daphnissov

    Clone vCenter VM 6.7.0 (on Windows Server 2016) from ESXi host 1 to an other ESXi host 2

    cpimpl Lurker

      Dear all !

      Is technically possible to clone a VM (Windows 2016) with vCenter/VUM (6.7.0) from one ESXi host (version 6.5.0 U2) where that vCenter/VUM VM is running on to an other ESXi host (version 6.7.0 P01) in the same cluster ?

       

      My intention is to clone that vCenter/VUM VM from host 1 to host 2, shut down vCenter/VUM VM on host 1, register the cloned VM via vSphere Web Client on host 2 (if needed at all when not already registered by vCenter cloning before), start that cloned VM on host 2, do the ESXi upgrade of host 1 via vCenter/VUM, clone vCenter/VUM from host 2 to host 1, shut down vCenter/VUM VM on host 2, register the cloned VM via vSphere Web Client on host 1 (if needed at all when not already registered by vCenter cloning before), start that VM on host 1 and delete the cloned VM on host 2 and the former original VM on host 1.

       

      I can neither use vMotion (not licensed) nor Veeam B&R as "Planned Failover" etc. scenarios do not work as that job is also dependent on vCenter running as it serves as the "root" of the infrastructure...when such "Planned Failover" job for that vCenter VM is started the replication works well as well as the shut down of the vCenter/VUM VM but then the job ends with error...as the vCenter/VUM - as the root of the infrastructure - does not exist anymore.

       

      Many thx for your thoughts !

       

      If this does not work at all of course a manual upgrade of host 1 via iso or zip via vib etc. will work always but I like using vCenter/VUM quite much.

       

      Kind regards

      Christian

        • 2. Re: Clone vCenter VM 6.7.0 (on Windows Server 2016) from ESXi host 1 to an other ESXi host 2
          cpimpl Lurker

          Many thx Joerg, that is good news.

           

          Veeam Support reminded me of/recommended “Quick Migration” function within VBR which can be used as long as both source and target ESXi hosts are added to VBR infrastructure as standalone hosts (to bypass vCenter/VUM VM as the “communication relay” in between).

           

          What is most time effective and best practice according to your experience in this scenario (need fully functional vCenter/VUM VM from host 1 to host 2 and back including retaining all changes) ?

           

          Clone via vCenter or use “Quick Migration” ?

           

          Many thx again

           

          Kind regards,

          Christian

          • 3. Re: Clone vCenter VM 6.7.0 (on Windows Server 2016) from ESXi host 1 to an other ESXi host 2
            IRIX201110141 Master

            Use the "replicate " Feature from Veeam because than you get the same MAC or just make a simple backup and restore. But also the  simple VM cloning of vCenter will work. In all cases you should rename the old vCenter VM to  "vcenter_old" or so. With that you can choose the "right" name of the new vCenter VM.

             

            The problem with the quick migrate and vCenter is that you need to shutdown vCenter and add the 2 uses ESXi Hosts again into Veeam. If you add them prior with a IP you now have to choose the FQHN or wise versa because you cant add a Host twice into veeam. You need this when restoring vCenter with Veeam.

             

            It is not a problem when vCenter is unavailable for a couple of hours assuming that you have a tiny environment.

             

            Regards,
            Joerg

            • 4. Re: Clone vCenter VM 6.7.0 (on Windows Server 2016) from ESXi host 1 to an other ESXi host 2
              a.p. Guru
              vExpertCommunity WarriorsUser Moderators

              Welcome to the Community,

               

              what may be worth looking at is https://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2012/06/how-to-copy-vms-directly-between-esxi.html, which I've used several times in that past myself.

               

              André

              • 6. Re: Clone vCenter VM 6.7.0 (on Windows Server 2016) from ESXi host 1 to an other ESXi host 2
                cpimpl Lurker

                Dear all !

                @Andre and ozantt: many thanks for involving; however I have not tested "ovftool" yet mentioned in virtuallyghetto.com, I feel I need to concentrate first on (GUI based) tools already in place.

                 

                @Joerg: I just tested cloning of vCenter/VUM VM from host 1 to host 2 which worked fine, the cloned VM got automatically properly registered on host 2 (as expected it got a new MAC address but which is fine), starting of VM was successful and vCenter/VUM seemed to be fully operational (I did a "Scan for Updates" on the cluster and the needed remediation of host 1 was shown properly).

                 

                After recognizing this I am wondering if cloning the vCenter/VUM back to host 1 is required at all: if vCenter/VUM does not maintain a database with "static" information that is written into the database just once but does only rely on "on demand" and "just in time" information that can be easily rebuild by doing such "Scan for Updates" etc. than there is no need to clone back the vCenter/VUM VM to host 1.

                 

                The vCenter/VUM VM could stay on host 2 "sleeping" and could be started just when needed, of course some recent settings like baseline, uploaded iso images, patch downloads etc. would need to be re-applied to get it to the actual status of vCenter/VUM on host 1.

                 

                Or is there a database that I "simply" can migrate from vCenter/VUM on host 1 to vCenter/VUM on host 2 and back ? This would avoid loosing any information that would need to be re-applied to vCenter/VUM on host 2.

                 

                What do you think ?

                 

                (The next step in my learning journey is using replication and backup/restore with Veeam, however for this I first need to redesign my existing Veeam jobs to get rid of the vCenter as the "root" of these jobs.)

                 

                Kind regards

                Christian

                • 7. Re: Clone vCenter VM 6.7.0 (on Windows Server 2016) from ESXi host 1 to an other ESXi host 2
                  cpimpl Lurker

                  Dear ozantt, Andre and Joerg!

                  I am not sure if you all could see my reply incl. new question that I posted to ozantt's reply or if only ozantt could see this.

                   

                  Sorry I am new to this forum and do not know if replying always to the lastest post is better in which I refer to the former various answers or if replying to each individual answer is better.

                   

                  Kind regards

                  Christian

                  • 8. Re: Clone vCenter VM 6.7.0 (on Windows Server 2016) from ESXi host 1 to an other ESXi host 2
                    daphnissov Guru
                    vExpertCommunity Warriors

                    I think you're dramatically over complicating the situation here what with trying to shuffle vCenter around when you have neither shared storage nor a vMotion license. What you want at the end of the day is to upgrade one of your hosts from 6.5 to 6.7, correct? If that is so, using esxcli to upgrade the host (or even interactively by booting from the 6.7 ISO) is a far easier, quicker, and less complicated approach than what you're trying to do. I know you want to use vCenter because of the GUI-based approach, but conducting a CLI upgrade is straightforward and has been written about numerous times. If you're uncomfortable with CLI, now is an excellent opportunity to overcome those fears.

                     

                    Lastly, I'll say that you should not be using a Windows-based vCenter any longer as this is a dead-end road. 6.7 is the last version that supports Windows; 7.0 has no Windows option. Not only that, but the appliance (vCSA) has better performance, doesn't cost a Windows license, and has more features. Once this upgrade is done, your next priority should be, when moving to 7.0, to migrate to the vCSA and throw away your Windows vCenter entirely.