How to Move Host from One vCenter to Another

If you have multiple vCenter Servers, or your old vCenter is about to expire, you may need to move host from one vCenter to another new one. This article will show you how to do this.


By Crystal / Updated on March 15, 2023

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Case: How to move host from one vCenter to another?


I have an ESXi host that is in a vcenter, I want to move it to a linked vCenter and was trying to figure out what the process should be. I could just remove the host and add it back to the new vCenter. Does that sound right? Are there any specific latency requirements I have to worry about from the vCenter to the host?

- Question from

VMware vCenter Server is aa advanced management tool used to centrally manage the vSphere environment. It helps administrators to manage multiple VMware ESXi hosts from a single location.

Move host from one vCenter to another

If you are planning to deprecate an old vCenter and want to migrate to another vCenter Server, or you just have multiple vCenter Servers to work simultaneously, you may sometimes have needs to move ESXi host to new vCenter Server.

Next, this article will show you the steps on how to move host from one vCenter to another.

How to move host from one vCenter to another

To migrate ESXi host to new vCenter, you just need to remove the host from the vCenter Server then add the host to a new vCenter Server. While the historical performance data of both the host and its virtual machines will be purged, this operation does not affect the state of any virtual machines running on the ESXi host as long as the prerequisites are met.

Considerations prior to migration:

  • Migrating ESX/ESXi hosts with distributed switches is not recommended by VMware, you can migrate the host to standard switches before migrating them to a new vCenter Server.
  • If you are migrating to a vSphere 6.0 environment be aware that VMFS-3 is deprecated.
  • The High Availability setting must be recreated on the new vCenter Server prior to host migration.
  • DRS must be set to manual or disabled prior to moving the ESX/ESXi host. DRS settings must be created on the destination vCenter Server. This also removes resource pools from the ESXi/ESX host. If you are using VMware vCloud Director or VMware Horizon View, do not disable DRS. Configure DRS to manual to preserve the existing Resource Pools.
  • Storage DRS must be set to manual and the configuration duplicated on the destination vCenter Server.
  • After migrating a host you may experience an MKS console issue in VM's and they may require a refresh the VMX/MKS SSL cache. To mitigate against this the host should be placed in maintenance mode before migrating to a different vCenter Server.

How to remove a ESXi host from vCenter Server

1. From vSphere web client, log in to vCenter Server as root.

2. Navigate to Home > Hosts and Clusters, and select the host you want to remove. And power off all running VMs on the host you want to remove.

Hosts and Clusters

3. Right-click on the host name and select Maintenance Mode > Enter Maintenance Mode.

1. If not all virtual machines on the host are powered off, the host does not enter maintenance mode.
2. If the host is inside a DRS-enabled cluster, entering maintenance mode causes DRS to attempt to evacuate powered-on virtual machines from the host using vMotion.
3. If the host is connected to a distributed switch, first you must remove the host from the switch.

Maintenance Mode

4. Click OK in the confirmation dialog box.

If you want those VMs to remain registered to a host within the cluster, you can select to evacuate them.

Enter Maintenance Mode

5. Right-click on the host and select Remove from Inventory. Click Yes to confirm.

Note: You can also select Connect > Disconnect, or Move to… option according to your needs.

Remove from Inventory

vCenter Server removes the host and associated virtual machines from the vCenter Server environment, and returns the status of all associated processor and migration licenses to available.

How to add a ESXi host to vCenter Server

1. Login to your vCenter Server by Administrator account, click Menu and select Home from the dropping menu.


2. Right-click on your vCenter Server and select New Datacenter…

Note: If you already created Datacenter/Cluster for the host, you can skip to Step 6.

New Datacenter

3. Provide a Name for the new datacenter, and click OK to create.

New Datacenter creation

4. Right-click on the Datacenter and select New Cluster…

New Cluster

5. Provide a Name and other configurations for the new cluster, click OK to create.

New Cluster creation

6. Right-click on the new cluster and select Add Hosts…

Add Hosts

7. Follow the wizard, enter the Host name or IP address, User name and Password of the target VMware ESXi host root account, click NEXT to continue.

It may pop up a Security Alert, check the information and click OK to continue.

Provide New Host information

8. Check the Host Summary information and click NEXT to continue.

Host Summary

9. Review the information and click Finish to add ESXi host to vCenter Server.

Ready to complete

Batch backup VMs managed by vCenter Server to avoid accidental loss

You may already know that it is necessary to perform image-based backup of large amounts of VMs managed by vCenter Server, however, vCenter Server does not provide the feature of virtual machine backup. And that makes backup software a commonly accepted choice.

Here I introduce you to a VMware backup software AOMEI Cyber Backup, it enables you to backup multiple VMs either managed by vCenter Server, or on a standalone ESXi host.

Agentless Backup: create complete and independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs.
Flexible vSphere Backup: batch backup large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server, or multiple VMs on a standalone ESXi host.
Multiple Storage Destinations: backup to local drive, or network destinations like NAS.
Automated Execution: create backup schedules to automate backups daily, weekly, monthly.
Restore Entire VM: restore instant available VMs from any selected restore points to an original or new location.

AOMEI Cyber Backup supports both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi 6.0 and later versions. Next, I will show you how to batch backup VMs managed by vCenter Server with AOMEI Cyber Backup in 4 simple steps.

You can click the following button to download the 30-day free trial.

Download Free trialVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

4 Steps to batch backup VMs managed by vCenter Server

1. Bind Devices: Access to AOMEI Cyber Backup web client, navigate to Source Device > VMware > + Add VMware Device to Add vCenter or Standalone ESXi host. And then click > Bind Device.

Add VMware ESXi host

2. Create Backup Task: Navigate to Backup Task > + Create New Task, and select VMware ESXi Backup as the Backup Type.

3. Set the Task Name, Device, Target, Schedule and Cleanup as needed.

  • Task Name: you can change the task name or use the default name with an ordinal.
  • Device: batch select large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server for centralized backup.

Select virtual machines vCenter

  • Target: select to back up to a local path, or to a network path like NAS.
  • Schedule (optional): perform full, differential, or incremental backup, and automate execution according to the frequency you specified.
  • Cleanup (optional): automatically delete the old backup copies that exceed the retention period you specified.

4. Run Backup: Now you can click Start Backup and select Add the schedule and start backup now, or Add the schedule only.

Start Backup

Created backup tasks will be listed and monitored separately for restoring, progress checking and schedule changing.

When restoring, you can also restore to new location to create a new VM in the same or another datastore/host directly from the backup, saving the trouble of re-configuring the new VM.


vCenter Server is an efficient tool to help administrators managing multiple ESXi hosts. However, when a vCenter Server is no longer required or available, you may need to move host from one vCenter to another.

This article showed you the steps on how to move host to new vCenter Server via web client. You can also choose to remove ESXi host from vCenter via command line. No matter which way you choose, please remember to back up the data before you start to avoid accidental loss.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.