Migrating to vCenter 6.5: Design decisions and important characteristics/limitations to consider

Even though vSphere 6.5 has been announced and not released yet   Since vSphere and vCenter 6.5 are released now, a customer engagement put me into a position to gather much more information about characteristics and limitations within vCenter 6.5.

In the following I will discuss some of the upcoming and current vCenter characteristics that might not be completely aware (are not well documented) within the field /community.

Thanks VMware @Twitter community for helping me out here. Once again I really benefit from this great network out there.

The goal was to define a logical and physical design for the new vCenter release. Within the project we will have two phases

  1. phase: vCenter 6.0
  2. phase: vCenter 6.5

We will give the GA release of vCenter 6.5 a minimum time of 3 months to observe its behaviour and production readiness. Since we might require feature from the vCenter 6.0 release we want to design that is ready for an easy transition from 5.5 over 6.0 to 6.5.

However if you ever decide to move on to vSphere or vCenter 6.5. Please check the upgrade sequence here first & check the compatibilities (within VMware’s and 3rd party products).

Current state:

  • Windows based vCenter (vCenter 5.5 U2e)
  • SQL Server installed on the vCenter Windows

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A server error occured [400] or vCenter Server ‘once upon a time’

After fixing a failed SSD of one of my lab-hosts I had some minor issues with my vCenter. Whenever I logged on into it I received this error.

vCenter error 400

“[400] An error occured while sending an authentication request to the vCenter Single Sign-On server – An error occured when processing the metadate during vCenter Single Sign-On setup – null.”

fair enough I checked the :5480 VAMI of my PSC and vCenter and the vCenter showed me the SSO was not initialized.

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Migration of a distributed switch (vDS) to a new vCenter (PowerCLI edition)

### UPDATE: I received some posts / comments that my approaced way does NOT work when using LACP. I haven’t had the time to get deeper into that topic, but please be aware of that fact.

Reviewing Google analytics for my old blog on vxpertise.net showed that my article a few years ago is still kind of famous.

It explains how the distributed switch import/export feature can be used to migrate existing ESXi to a new vCenter. I extended the information explained in this blog post with a few lines of PowerCLI code that makes the whole process a lot of easier/faster/less error-prone.


This requirements is raising up more and more in environments of people I deal with. Especially the awesome vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) convinces people to create a new vCenter from scratch.

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Lets upgrade to vCenter 6.X: A generic guideline

Lets upgrade our vCenter

*** Updated (22-04-2016): Links changed for vCenter 6.0U2 release.

There are a lot of great blogs out there about the process of upgrading the vCenter from 5.X to the most current version 6.0U2.

Having done the upgrade now in multiple production environments I try to summarize the general process and potential caveats. The following article is more a general approach and not specifically tied to a certain version. I start with the key facts outcome first. The detailed description where those key facts are extracted from are mentioned afterwards.

vSphere Upgrade 6.0

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