Migrating a vCenter Server instance from physical to virtual can be done in a couple of different ways:
- Manually migrating vCenter Server and all of its dependencies (http://kb.vmware.com/kb/5850444)
- A physical to virtual (P2V) migration of the vCenter Server machine itself
As the former process is much better documented than the latter, here is the process for performing a VMware vCenter P2V.
- If SQL or SQL Express are co-located with vCenter Server, its services will need to be shut down before the process begins
- Take a full backup of your vCenter Server database before beginning any steps below
The steps below assume:
- SQL is not co-located with vCenter Server
- The network vCenter Server sits on pre-migration is available on your ESXi hosts
- VirtualCenter Server
- vCenter Inventory Service
- vCenter Single Sign On
- Update Manager
- VMware VCMSDS
- Horizon View Composer
2. Now, you can try P2Ving vCenter Server to a host managed by vCenter Server, but you’ll receive the error below indicating that you should point the migration to the (down) vCenter Server.
3. To get past this, we’ll have to put a single host in maintenance mode
- Note: If you’re using a vSphere Distributed Switch, you’ll have to, at a minimum, remove an uplink, create a vSphere Standard Switch, and add that uplink to the VSS. The control plane for your VDS is down during the P2V process, meaning you can’t add machines to the DVS while vCenter Server is down.
5. Connect to the ESXi host using the vSphere Client
6. Take the ESXi host out of maintenance mode
7. Now, you should be able to continue the P2V in vCenter Converter
8. Once the migration process is finished, you should see your vCenter Server machine in the inventory of your standalone ESXi host
9. Your physical vCenter Server is now ready to be disconnected from the network in preparation for decommissioning. Once this is done, connect your virtual vCenter Server to the network and check status of your services.