5.5 to 6.5 Migration

Recently purchased new hardware (3 hosts with Essentials Plus licensing) manged by VCSA 6.5. My current cluster 5.5 (3 hosts with Essentials Plus licensing) managed my Windows based vCenter 5.5 with all by VMs, except the new VCSA.

I have shared storage sorted using FC SAN shared between both clusters.

I’m hoping to make the migration as seamless as possible, want to avoid VM downtime completely if possible. What issues if any will I run into if I take over management of the 5.5 hosts with VCSA (currently running in eval mode so no restrictions on 3 hosts yet) and vmotion them to the 6.5 hosts and remove old hosts when complete.

Anything to look out for? Anyone done something similar and have some advise/insight?

Edit: just remembered my 5.5 hosts using Essentials Plus licenses, so those won’t allow me to cluster with 6.5. Options?

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  1. Technically, you can manage both the new cluster of hosts (which would also be in eval mode theoretically, assuming they are at or below the vCenter version) and the 5.5 cluster with that new vCenter. You would not need the new servers and the 5.5 servers to be in the same cluster. They could be in different clusters. And the great news here is that you are not using a distributed switch in the old cluster, so killing off the old vCenter would not be a big problem.

    Remember that Essentials Plus gives you vMotion but not storage vMotion. As long as the new cluster can see the storage just like the old, I would think you could manage all hosts from the new vCenter (so it should see two clusters). Assuming you have all Intel / all AMD procs across all servers (old and new), you may need to tweak the EVC compatibility on the new cluster so it will match up with the old cluster and not cause vMotion to fail.

    The network labels for port groups need to be the same across all hosts with standard virtual switches, or vMotion will fail. See this article for more on that – [https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2054994](https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2054994) .

  2. It’s not that you can’t manage 5.5 hosts from vCenter 6.5, your restriction is that you can only have 3 ESXi hosts/6 CPU sockets with the Essentials Plus Kit.

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