A couple weeks back I had teased out the #migrate2vcsa hashtag on Twitter and said to stay tune for folks planning to attend VMworld US in person. If you attended VMworld last week, you may gotten more details during TAM Day, at the VMware Booth or in either of the VCSA breakout sessions INF5975 & INF4528. I just found out this week that some of the VMworld sessions have already been posted online for everyone and it looks like one of my sessions, INF4528 vCenter Server Appliance Best Practices & Tips / Tricks session was one of them.

Well, it looks like the cats out of the bag! To be perfectly honest, I am actually glad, since now I can share some more details with my readers on what the VC Engineering team has been working very hard on. As you probably can guess from the cryptic hashtag, the topic is related to migrating from a Windows vCenter Server to the vCenter Server Appliance. About 6 months ago, we had released the VCS to VCVA Converter Fling and the feedback from customers has just been phenomenal. Though the Fling only supported a limited set of configurations, it did allow us to quickly gather feedback from customers on whether such a tool should still be further developed and more importantly, if the current workflow met user expectations.

At VMworld, we showed off a video of an early but functional Tech Preview of migrating from a Windows vCenter Server to a the vCenter Server Appliance to help Engineering get feedback from customers on the overall workflow. From the customers that I have talked to, the feedback have been super positive and in fact, they were quite excited. I do have to stress that this is still a Tech Preview and you should review the disclaimer below, but it should give you an idea of our current thinking.

Disclaimer: This overview of new technology represents no commitment from VMware to deliver these features in any generally available product.

We would still love to hear from you in case you did not get a chance to talk to us during VMworld. We are interested in any feedback you may have in terms of the overlal workflow and whether the process is intuitive or not. If you have any feedback after watching the video, please either leave a comment on my blog here or tweet your feedback using the #migrate2vcsa hashtag on Twitter.

For comparison, you can watch the Fling's workflow video here and compare and contrast that with the Tech Preview video below. In case the video does not automatically start playing at the Migration portion of the presentation (46:35), you can click here for the direct link.

14 thoughts on “Tech Preview of Windows VC to VCSA Migration at VMworld

  1. Good stuff. Correct me if I am wrong, but the Postgres database on the appliance is highly scalable and not limited to hundred or so vms only like embedded windows? Ie with a windows deployment of 2,000 vms on sql, I am safe thinking about Postgres on the appliance and not having to move to oracle on the appliance?

    • That’s correct, with our vSphere 6.0 release we now have parity from both a scale/functionality between the Windows VC & VCSA and this is using Embedded vPostgres for the VCSA.

  2. Will this tool remain for major version to major version conversion only? Or will there be a possibility to move from VCS 5.5 to VCVA 6.1 ? Thanks!

    • Hi Mike,

      Yes, the plan is provide additional migration paths within 5.x, so it would not only be limited to major to major. Is the majority of your environment currently running on 5.5 today and do you have all your VC components running together are they separated out with external DB? Let us know if you have any feedback on the current workflow after watching the video

      • Great thanks, I look forward to it. Nice work on the video, it looks very easy to migrate with this tool.

  3. Hi William, I’m starting to be a bit confused about what the preferred migration path would be.

    My scenario is: vCenter 5.5 with all the components installed on separate Windows VMs, MS SQLserver included.

    My ideal world would be to upgrade to vCenter 6 using the VCSA having the embedded database and keeping only one external VM for the PSC.

    My question now is: would you personally recommend to upgrade the current Windows instance to vCenter 6 using the standard approach and then waiting for the official migration tool from VC6 to VCSA6?

    On the other hand, will it be easier to wait for the official tool to migrate from VC5 to VCSA5 and then upgrade it to VCSA6?

    Hope I have explained myself, I have no imminent urgency to upgrade to version 6 for now.

    Many thanks.

    Matteo

    • Hi Matteo,

      What was demo’ed at VMworld was an early Tech Preview as I mentioned to give you an idea of what we’re thinking, there’s no timelines or anything I can comment on the future. As it stands today, the only method of migrating from an existing Windows vCenter Server to the VCSA is via the Fling which is not officially supported and only supports a very specific configuration.

      Given what you’ve described in your environment, because all of your VC components are on different systems, it wouldn’t be a candidate for the Fling as we require all components to run on the same system. Again, I can’t comment further on futures but we are looking to support other types of topology and configuration. Hope that helps

      • It seems the Fling is geared toward smaller shops, at least right now. For your enterprise customers with large vCenters, the future state of the tool should at a minimum support the following:

        1. Separate SSO, Inventory and SQL servers which were the recommended path for enterprise customers with larger vCenters. These should be supported in the Windows 5.5 vCenter you are migrating from.
        2. Custom SQL ports/names are common security and best practices
        3. Clustered SQL servers are common in the enterprise
        4. Windows vCenter 5.5 > VCSA 6.0 is needed for those with vCenters too large for the 5.5 VCSA

        Hoping to see these inclusions!

  4. Hi William,
    I was wondering if you had any ETA on the release of this MIgration Assistant. It’d help TREMENDOUSLY in our migration from VCS to VCVA to know what this timing is so we can make some decisions as to whether or not to wait.

    Thanks!
    Chris

  5. Hi William, We are approaching mid 2016 now. Would it be possible to provide an update on new migration tool, please? Has anything moved ahead? Apologies if this information is already available somewhere and not known to me. Regards, Simon

  6. Hi William,

    I do realize that from myriad of reasons this may not be easy to answer but how soon is soon? I’ll be honest in saying that I’ve been pushing back my migration from VC 5.5 to VCSA 6.0 for a while now as using unsupported fling is not exactly the level of assurance I am looking for.

    Any clues if one should give up and attempt using fling or soon is really soon and it is worth putting such important migration off for a little bit longer?

    Thanks.

  7. Hopefully something will be announced at VMworld. VCSA with a VUM component would also be nice.

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