There was an excellent blog post from Duncan a couple of weeks back going over the new vMotion capabilities in vSphere 6.0 which includes: Cross vSwitch vMotion, Cross vCenter vMotion (xVC-vMotion) and Long Distance vMotion (LD-vMotion). If you have not checked out his article, I highly recommend you give it a read before proceeding further. After reading through Duncan's article, I noticed he had missed out on one additional vMotion capability which might not be obvious as the option is no where to be found in the vSphere Web Client UI. In fact, I was only aware of this additional capability after hearing about it from Engineering during the development of vSphere 6.
The additional vMotion capability actually extends the Cross vCenter Server vMotion (xVC-vMotion) workflow which allows an administrator to live migrate a running virtual machine between two vCenter Servers that are part of the same SSO Domain. By virtue of being in the same SSO Domain using the new Enhanced Linked Mode feature, both vCenter Servers will be visible in the vSphere Web Client and will be available to be selected either as a source or destination for a vMotion operation.
This extended Cross vCenter Server vMotion capability (unofficially I am calling it ExVC-vMotion) allows an administrator to live migrate a running virtual machine between two vCenter Servers which are NOT part of the same SSO Domain. How cool is that!? In my opinion, this is actually a pretty big deal because I think it truly removes any boundaries for a vSphere virtual machine and will open up an entire new class of mobility use cases that were never thought possible before. This will definitely make it interesting for customers who wish to migrate workloads from their on-premises datacenter into a completely different vSphere environment or even one that is hosted by a service provider or maybe even vCloud Air?
The ExVC-vMotion operation is currently only available today using the vSphere API, not because it is a private API but because there is no UI wizard for this operation. The reason the current xVC-vMotion is so seamless today is that both your source and destination vCenter Server is visible by being part of the same SSO Domain. If you have two completely different vCenter Servers which are not joined to the same SSO Domain or have completely different SSO Domains, then you will need to use the vSphere API to perform this operation.
All vMotion operations including vMotion without shared storage uses the vSphere API RelocateVM_Task() method. In vSphere 6.0, the method has been enhanced to accept a new property called ServiceLocator which provides a service endpoint to a vCenter Server where a VM can be migrated to. One important thing to note is that if you wish to migrate a VM between two vCenter Servers located in the same SSO Domain, there is an sslThumbprint property that is not required to be set. However, if the two vCenter Servers are NOT part of the same SSO Domain, then you need to set that property. In addition, if the VM is migrated to a different vCenter Server, additional properties such as the ESXi host, vSphere Cluster/Resource Pool and Datastore must be specified as part of the migration spec.
UPDATE (05/25/16) - I have re-factored and simplified my xVC-vMotion script which supports additional capabilities. Please have a look at the blog post here for more details.
To demonstrate this awesome ExVC-vMotion operation, I have created a simple PowerCLI script called run-cool-ExVC-vMotion.ps1 which accepts 12 command-line parameters which are described in more detail below:
|sourceVC||The hostname or IP Address of the source vCenter Server|
|sourceVCUsername||The username to connect to source vCenter Server|
|sourceVCPassword||The password to connect to source vCenter Server|
|destVC||The hostname or IP Address of the destination vCenter Server|
|destVCUsername||The username to connect to the destination vCenter Server|
|destVCPassword||The password to connect to the destination vCenter Server|
|destVCThumbprint||The SSL Thumbprint (SHA1) of the destination vCenter Server (can be retrieved using either this or this)|
|datastorename||The destination vSphere Datastore where the VM will be migrated to|
|clustername||The destination vSphere Cluster where the VM will be migrated to|
|vmhostname||The destination vSphere ESXi host where the VM will be migrated to|
|vmnetworkname||The destination vSphere VM Portgroup where the VM will be migrated to|
|vmname||The name of the source VM to be migrated|
In my lab environment, I have configured two vCenter Server's which are part of two different SSO Domains as seen in the screenshot below:
I have tiny Linux VM (vMA) that I am using which I will be migrating from vcenter60-4 to vcenter60-5 which has a completely different datastore and VM portgroup (if you have stretched/extended L2, then the VM would stay online during this migration). I then execute the script using the following parameters based on my own environment and we can see the migration is kicking off:
.\run-cool-ExVC-vMotion.ps1 vcenter60-4.primp-industries.com firstname.lastname@example.org VMware1! vcenter60-5.primp-industries.com email@example.com VMware1! 82:D0:CF:B5:CC:EA:FE:AE:03:BE:E9:4B:AC:A2:B0:AB:2F:E3:87:49 vesxi60-8-local-storage NY-Cluster vesxi60-8.primp-industries.com NY-VM-Network vMA
I really hope to see the vSphere Web Client get enhanced to support this cool vMotion capability, but in the mean time you can easily perform this operation using the above PowerCLI script or any other scripting/programming language calling into the vSphere API. Set your VM free and let it migrate where your heart desires 🙂