Migrating vSAN cluster from one vCenter Server to another vCenter Server

In this blog post, we will discuss about moving vSAN cluster ( standard/stretched) from one vCenter server to another version of vCenter ( same version or higher version)

I have performed this activity for standard vSAN cluster and stretched vSAN cluster in my lab. We perform the same activity in production environment to fulfill customer requirements.

Check below points in existing vCenter:

  • Which version of VC & ESXi servers are we currently running on & to which version we are migrating (https://bit.ly/1Mut89p)
  • Distributed switches in existing environment and export the configuration
  • List all the virtual machine storage policies.
  • Check Cluster features like ( vSAN, HA, DRS, EVC, Deduplication & Compression, Encryption)
  • Make sure vSAN Cluster health is green and if there are any issues fix before moving to new vCenter
  • Export the list of all the VMs based on storage policy and check compliance status.
  • To maintain cluster membership set these values on all the hosts in the cluster “esxcfg-advcfg -s 1 /VSAN/IgnoreClusterMemberListUpdates” ( only needed post vsan 6.6)

Requirements in new vCenter:

  • Make sure vCenter is licensed and joined to domain
  • Create same vm storage policies as per old vCenter
  • Create a vSAN Cluster with existing features and enable vSAN, HA, DRS.
  • Set disk claim to manual
  • Import dvswitch settings to new vCenter Server, do NOT select Preserve original distributed switch port group identifiers.
  • For vSAN encryption cluster, make sure in new vCenter you register KMS before hand and mutual trust is created with same “KMS cluster ID”

Once above requirements are fulfilled, follow below process:

» First disconnect one host and remove it from inventory on the existing vCenter Server. Add the host in new vCenter server and check network connectivity. Once this is confirmed, disconnect all the hosts and add to new vCenter Server

» Import vDS Configuration to the new vCenter Server

» You will see warning on all the hosts for “The vSphere vDS corresponding to the proxy switches on the host does not exist in vCenter Server or does not contain this host”. This is because proxy switch on the host has lost connection to vDS identifiers exists on old vCenter. To resolve this warning and complete networking requirements, go to networking section ⇒ select vDS switch and add all the hosts.

» Add physical adapters and vmkernel ports based on the previous configuration.

» Host networking with vDS is setup and now old vDS can be deleted.

» In some scenarios you may see all your virtual machines are accessible on network but vm adapter shows “empty” port group . This is because virtual machine networking was on old vDS identifiers and in order for vm to show port-group they have to be migrated again on the same port group by using virtual machine migration wizard.

» For stretched cluster, process is same the only thing we have to perform it to add witness in vSAN Fault Domain section. ( At this time, if cluster membership breaks due to esxcfg advance value not set, cluster will not recognize witness appliance and you will end up with building new witness appliance “I was playing without setting advance value and got this error”)

» Edit VM policy and assign the Policy that matches the VMs policy that it migrated with the VM. Do this once and check for resync to ensure that the VM does not start a full resync. If no major resync then the policy was copied correctly and move to next VM and adopt new policy for VM.

» Run command to revert previous changes after the cluster has been rebuilt “esxcfg-advcfg -s 0 /VSAN/IgnoreClusterMemberListUpdates”

» Check vSAN health and retest the same. If you get warning for “vCenter Server is not authoritative”, click on update ESXi configuration and vSAN Cluster will sync cluster membership with new vCenter.


Thank you for reading. Happy learning!!

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