Converting a vCenter Console from Physical to Virtual

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We had and old, aging vCenter console server, and it was time to upgrade the hardware. Knowing that VMware supports the vCenter console running as a VM, we decided to convert our existing physical vCenter console server into a virtual machine. Now, the process for this is not as straightforward as a normal P2V. The problem being that, most of the time, when you do P2V of a server you do it using the standalone P2V Standalone Converter from VMware that points to the vCenter console server. Since you are converting that same server, this is not a good idea! The workaround is to remove a host from your vCenter cluster, and set it up as a standalone server. Then, you can point your P2V Standalone Converter to that specific host rather than pointing it at your vCenter server. You might already have a separate host for testing that is not part of a cluster that you can do this with, and save yourself the trouble of removing one host from your vCenter cluster.

Then, in preparation, you will want to shut down all the services running on the the vCenter console server including SQL server, so that they are all no longer running on the server. This will include services like:

SQL Active Directory Helper Service
SQL Backup Agent
SQL Server
SQL Server Agent
SQL Server Browser
SQL Server Integration Services
SQL Server VSS writer
VMware Snapshot Provider
VMware Syslog Collector
VMware USB Arbitration Service
VMware vCenter Orchestrator Configuration
VMware VirtualCenter Management Web Services
VMware VirtualCenter Server
VMware vSphere Profile-Driven Storage Service
VMware vSphere Update Manager Service
VMware vSphere Update Manager UFA Service
VMwareVCMSDS

Once your server is static, and all services are stopped, then you may begin the standard P2V process.

Once the process is complete simply shut down the original physical server, and bring up the new VM-based server with the same name, IP address, etc. You will need to go in and install the VMware Tools on the new P2V server and be sure that it sees the network after it gets it’s drivers properly installed.

Something else that we’re doing, since we have two separate VMware vCenter clusters, is host the the vCenter console virtual machine on the cluster that it is not managing, and vice versa: host the the vCenter console virtual machine for the other cluster on a separate cluster.

This process worked very well for us and I trust it will for you as well!

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