I don't have a quick means to test this in a lab and don't want to mess with production without at least someone else confirming my suspicion.

I have a vCenter 5.1 VM (and accompanying SQL VM) running on an esxi 5.1 host currently. I also have new 6.5 hosts and 6.5 vCenter in the environment.

I'd like to migrate all of the VMs off the esxi 5.1 host but I have remote branch office hosts dependent on the vCenter 5.1 running on that host still. I need the vCenter 5.1 to continue until we can get the remote branch hosts upgraded to 6.5.

Can I migrate the vCenter 5.1 VM (and accompanying SQL VM) to one of the new 6.5 hosts (shutdown VM, remove from inventory, add to inventory on new 6.5 host)? I know I can't vmotion.

My assumption is that the 6.5 host will treat the vcenter 5.1 VM as any other Windows VM without caring/knowing what is running on the OS. I won't upgrade the VMtools on the VM.

  • its the vcenter appliance? and do you keep the 5.1 host alive ? (so your vcenter will still be able to talk to it) – yagmoth555 Oct 10 '17 at 19:42
  • The old vcenter 5.1 is a Windows VM. I wasn't going to keep the host it is running on alive after migrating the VM to a 6.5 host. – TheCleaner Oct 10 '17 at 19:46
  • I second @Rex answer, but if the host is down, even if nothing run on it, it might put your vcenter 5.1 in error, I dont know what your remote office need that for. – yagmoth555 Oct 10 '17 at 19:48
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    I don't see why this should be a problem. It's just another VM as far as the new vCenter Server is concerned. – joeqwerty Oct 10 '17 at 20:21
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    Ok, I badly wrote my comment, my only warning was if the vcenter 5.1 start and cant connect to nothing in what state the service on it would be, it was only that. as for the vm itselft it will run iam sure – yagmoth555 Oct 10 '17 at 21:32

I don't see why this wouldn't work - like you mention, it should just treat it like any other windows VM. You could even probably upgrade the VMWare tools on there without any issue since it's the OS side and the vCenter application running on it shouldn't be impacted in how it manages the hosts registered to it.

  • That's what I'm assuming as well. I can't find anyone out there really doing this, but logically it should work. No different than setting up a test lab I suppose. – TheCleaner Oct 10 '17 at 19:47

KB 2007240 states that ESXi 6.5 is able to run VMs down to hardware version 4 (quite old, ESX 3.x). I'm pretty sure we're running some VMs with hardware version 9- what you call a "vCenter 5.1 VM"- on 6.5. I can't check this right now because I'm on holiday and don't have access to our systems :-/

However, you might not be able to make use of all 6.5 features (like in-guest-UNMAP or UEFI secure boot) without upgrading the virtual hardware version.

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