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New VMware Tool Eases Migrations from Windows

The former "Fling" is for Windows vCenter Servers using a SQL Server database.

VMware Inc. has released a new tool that will help migrate Windows-based vCenter Servers (VCS) to its own vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) with minimal disruption.

Called the VCS to VCVA Converter, it works for Windows environments that specifically use the External Microsoft SQL Server Database, and moves it to VCSA with an embedded vPostgres database.

The VCS to VCVA Converter started life as a "Fling" -- an unofficial product that may or may not ever become official. This Fling won the VMworld Fling Contest in 2013, competing against more than 200 other Fling nominees. Winning the contest meant that VMware engineers would build and release it. The Fling was proposed by Stephen Athanas.

William Lam of VMware said in a blog post that the idea of the Converter "… really resonated with me, as well as with many of our customers. In fact, everyone that I had spoken with who has used the VCSA just loves the simplicity, ease of deployment and management it provides compared to its Windows counterpart."

The problem, Lam explained, was that a simple migration from a Windows VCS to the VCSA was impossible, so the only alternative was to start over again. This was a "show stopper" for most customers, he said. Migration involves complex tasks like preserving folder structures, alarms, storage policies, permissions and so on.

Using the Converter results in a "… fully functional VCSA with the original hostname/IP Address fully intact and ready to use," Lam wrote. He added that this is a v1 release, so it's critical to read the documentation first and understand the requirements.

In response to user comments, Lam expanded on some VCS to VCVA Converter issues, including:

  • It currently supports only vSphere 5.5, and not vSphere 6.0. "[Because] there are dramatic differences between vSphere 5.5 and 6.0, it's probably safest to keep the same version before attempting a major upgrade," Lam said.
  • The Converter should work with Horizon View, the VMware virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) offering. Lam mentioned that it should be tested in a lab environment first, however.
  • It's not supported for Windows environments using an Oracle database. Lam said that VMware would study adding that particular setup to the Converter's abilities.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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