Transitioning from Complex Vera System to Hubitat: Seeking Advice

Hello all,

I find myself at a crossroads in my home automation journey and would greatly appreciate your insights and guidance. I've read quite a bit from this forum... and after much research and contemplation, I'm seriously considering transitioning from my current 'Vera' setup to 'Hubitat'. However, given the complexity of my existing setup, I'm seeking advice to ensure a smooth transition.

To provide context, I am attaching a layout of my building, I am the owner of a triplex, and my current setup involves one Master controller and five slave controllers managing over 200 Z-Wave devices. Each slave controller is responsible for different areas of the property, with the Master overseeing them all. While I've labeled some devices as "R" (repeaters) and "B" (battery-powered) on the picture attached, these labels only represent a portion of my extensive device network.

Sorry, you can't embed media items in a post => I guess I will try to post my picture in a few days, after a few interactions perhaps

For instance, slave#1 controls approximately 70 devices, slave#2 handles around 55, slave#3 controls the basement (not shown), slave#4 controls one of the apartments, and the slave#5 controls the other small apartment. Moreover, the Master-controller handles the bulk of the program logic, including scenes and Reactor logic, developed over several years (and by the way, when I say ‘devices’ I really mean ‘zwave-devices’, this count does not include all my virtual devices or child devices)

Considering the effort involved in migrating such a complex Vera setup, as you can see, it will not be a walk in the part for me to remove and re-include all these devices (and reprogram all the automation I have done over the past several years to get where I am), so I don’t want to make the mistake of going with the wrong system, (or the wrong company). If anyone has any experience with a somewhat complex system and can provide guidance, I would really appreciate, for example, I'm curious about the number of controllers I will require with Hubitat compared to Vera, (because one Vera controller could not manage over 200 devices)

Any advice or experiences shared would be immensely valuable in my decision-making process.

Thank you all in advance for your assistance.

Best regards,


First off I'd advise joining the Owner's Group so that you can post images, etc. Pretty sure that one, at most 2 hubs could handle the number of devices, but you may want more depending upon the materials, layout and size of the building.

As long as all hubs are on the same IP subnet you will be able to use HubMesh to allow device and rule sharing. If they don't share the same subnet there are ways to allow sharing (Hub Connect is one community option) but it gets somewhat more complex.

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the building it is about 8,000 sqft (125' by 95')

Thank you for your input! I'll definitely explore joining the Owner's Group for further insights.
Given that I'm the sole controller of the system and my tenants don't have access, and everything operates on the same subnet.
Regarding the possibility of needing more than one controller, I'm curious about their roles in the system. With Hubitat, if additional controllers are required, will they function as 'equals' rather than in a 'master-slave' configuration like with Vera? Additionally, I'm wondering if I can start with one controller and, if I find it's not responsive enough, add another one later on?

All hubs go in as equals, and starting off with one and then adding more as needed is pretty easy to do.

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Your choice mostly. If you start with everything on one hub, devices and apps, then get a second hub, you have the choice on how to split. You can move just the Apps and then the devices remain on the original. This might be thought of as 'master-slave' since both hubs have to be working for any automation to work. Alternatively, you can split the devices and their apps. Think of it more like next-door neighbors in an apartment complex. They are independent but you can have automations use devices from the other hub easily. Either hub going down (eg: reboot for a platform update) and only that portion won't run the automations.

I chose to use the latter, because I reboot the hubs for platform updates several thousand times more often than they fail, and I like updating the hub that controls the area of my house where nobody is at this moment. I don't know exactly why I bother because my family just accepts that automations occur.. without an opinion as to good or bad. If they don't occur, then they just reach out and touch a wall switch. :smiley: As I think about it.. it's because I really only care about things being turned off. Lights turning on automagically is great for showing off to guests. I can't really imagine myself saying, "OK that light is about to go off.. pay attention now... see? Wasn't that cool?" :slight_smile: :smiley:


funny... my wife too family doesn't have a strong opinion on automation... what's up with that?!?! :slight_smile:


First of all, a general statement:
"Hubitat should be able to handle your complex scenario, without issue."
Now the caveats:
When doing a complex migration like the one that you will be attempting, I personally have found that the greatest difficulty is simply the hardware.
How many button presses to do an exclude?
How long do you have to hold for an inclusion?
Are all these zwave devices from the same vendor? Do they all pair/exclude the same way?
Why not do a test with just a few devices?

P.S. If the devices are zwave plus (not zwave)you should be able to get a distance of at least 100 feet from device to hub (assuming a clear line of sight, and the newer C8 Hub).

Best of luck - it will require patience and perseverance!

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No not all of my devices are Z-Wave Plus; a few are over 15 years old. Additionally, they are not all from the same vendor

Regarding the mention of "number of button presses," pairing devices with Vera usually goes smoothly for me, although occasionally I may need to bring the controller close to the device. However, having multiple controllers in the building often means I don't need to do this frequently.

Additionally, I want to highlight that my building's construction occurred in different stages, with outdoor walls originally made of cider blocks and later incorporating new room extensions. This adds the challenge of Z-Wave signals potentially having difficulty crossing brick walls between different rooms in the building.

In light of these challenges, do you also concur that I could try starting with only one controller, or do you have any additional recommendations on the setup approach?

Thank you

Looking at your layout I would be tempted to consider 3 hubs (M, S2 & S4), but with the right mesh build out it could be done with one. With the older ZWave devices you'll probably need to setup the ZWave Poller app to keep them current (by default it isn't installed but is available as an option as a built-in app).

Good morning Claude,
Long story short, as mentioned before; with some patience you should be able to make the transition from Vera to Hubitat rather straight forward, as I did.

For some back story, I was caught up in the shutdown of Iris by Lowes platform back in 2019 and needed to make a decision on various platforms and was looking at both Vera and Hubitat. At the time, Vera felt more like the Iris and had an app to control the system while Hubitat didn't. I didn't have a lot of time to make the transition before the platform was turned off so Vera won.

I will say that I happily used Vera for a year but was feeling limited in some ways. Additionally, devices would either drop off or wouldn't communicate reliably. As the Hubitat hub was relatively inexpensive and they had cracked the code to utilize my legacy Iris devices and added an easy control from outside the house, I picked up Hubitat to test with. As opposed to the previous change, I could take my time with the transition and could play/test before releasing to the wild.

Now, as for your transition it may not be a walk in the park, but will just take some time and preparation will be key. My transition wasn't as involved as yours looks to be, but the system is scalable.

This likely will be anxiety producing statement, but bite the bullet and get a hub and test. You won't know the gotcha's until you do. You may need multiple hubs, but won't have to do a master/slave configuration thereby reducing your hub count by at least one. I suspect that you'll find more efficiencies as you build your new system and can add as you go.

With that one hub and this community, you can get a better idea of the system, devices, user device drivers, and user apps. I would suggest you could set up some virtual devices like what you will want to use in real life. These can use either the standard Virtual device driver provided by Hubitat or can also use the driver of the actual device you will be adding in the future. This will let you figure out how to recreate the rules that you will need and add the apps that will help make that happen. There is a new tool that will help you that I will discuss later.

When it comes to actually making the physical transition; as jtmpush18 mentioned, having the documentation in front of you to know the method to unpair/pair or just force exclude will be important. Many of these instructions are built into the webUI and available, but is a supplement to the documentation.

For the actual transition, work in logical groups moving items from the old system to the new with items that need to be clustered together for rules and such. depending on how close these devices are to your hub location, I would offer that if you have wired network closer to these devices and want to feel a bit mobile while pairing, power on the hub using a USB portable battery and take closer to the device. Just remember to power down the hub using the web interface before changing your power to prevent any OS issues.

Now, for the cool part; you likely have made those test rules and dashboards that you've created using the virtual devices. Once you've paired the real device you can go to the settings tab in the UI and under "Hub Global Values", you'll see the selection to "Swap Apps Device". All you have to do is select the "old" virtual device and the "new" physical device and like magic, the rules are updated and will work from the real world input.

Once you make the first round of devices swapped tested and happy you can continue with other logical groupings, Either make rules in advance or duplicate older ones as you go.

I've happily made the transition. While I don't have devices 15 years old just do the homework and prepare for whatever transition you decide to make.

Thank you for your insight! It's promising to know that with the support of the responsive community here, I will be able to explore different setup options to accommodate my needs.
I'll look into the Z-Wave Poller as you suggested

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Thank you krzes for your detailed explanation

In Vera, I'm accustomed to devices being referenced by their device numbers. When creating a virtual device, I typically set up various 'rules' (scenes) to control or react to this virtual device using its assigned device number. However, when replacing the virtual device with a physical one, the new device is assigned a different ID by default. This requires adjustments to all rules and scenes that previously referenced the virtual device, as they now need to be updated to reference the new device number. (this is a simplified explanation, as Vera offers more flexibility in managing devices, but I've simplified it for the sake of clarity).

However, it seems that Hubitat operates differently? If I'm interpreting correctly, in Hubitat, creating virtual devices first and then setting up automation rules to mimic my current setup would allow me to gradually replace the virtual devices with real Z-Wave devices without needing to adapt any programming. Is my understanding accurate?

I appreciate any clarification you can provide on this matter.

FYI... I did not need to use a 'master/slave' configuration with Vera. It's just that managing over 200 devices, along with countless Reactor logic and scenes (rules), on a single hub (VeraSecure) became too overwhelming for the little guy. But technically, Vera does support a 'peer-to-peer-to-peer' setup.

My main issue stemmed from the physical placement of devices. For example, I have an electric heater located in the entrance upstairs near a battery-operated temperature sensor. The temperature sensor is paired with the nearest upstairs controller, while the heater itself is controlled by the basement controller due to its proximity to the zwave-switch near the breaker box.

To simplify programming and consolidate control, I opted for a master/slave setup. The master controller oversaw all devices, making programming more manageable within a single controller rather than having programs and scenes scattered across multiple controllers.

You can set it up similarly with HE if you like. Several people on here have a hub dedicated to running rules and apps and accessing the devices on other hubs using HubMesh.

I am also wondering about compatibility and integrations with Hubitat.

For example, I have a DSC alarm system in my house, and with Vera, I currently have integration with this system. It's essential for my home security, so I'm curious if Hubitat will support integration with DSC alarm systems or if I'll lose this functionality?

Additionally, I have three patio doors with roller blinds that operate using some kind of RF signal (not Z-Wave), which I can currently control using Vera. So I'm wondering if Hubitat will support RF-controlled devices like my roller blinds or if I'll lose this functionality?

While I do have other 'unusual' devices controlled by Vera, these are the two important ones for me that I would prefer not to lose.

There are quite a few options.. that's one of the hurdles for first time Hubitat owners... too many options.


I have a single hub with Zigbee enabled. Imagine that a ZWave light switch for some room/area is on a ZWave only Hub, while the Zigbee Motion sensor can only be on that specific Hub, in my setup. I share the Sensor to the hub with the switch and create the Automation there. OR, I can share both the Sensor and the Switch to Node-Red and create the Automation there. OR, I can share the switch to the Sensor Hub and create the Automation there. In my case, most devices are shared to the Hub on the far right, because I can create Dashboards there and send Events to Internet mechanisms, such as Alexa and Google Home.

I have since added Hubitat's HomeKit Integration to all of my hubs and over time, I can ween myself from Homebridge, which is functionally similar. (I use HubConnect, but if you just substitute the built-in Hub Mesh in it's place, you'd get identical results.)

for dsc alarm system look into konnected boards to interface to it.. but if you use this you need to disconnect the normal alarm monitoring

I don't necessarily want a master/slave configuration. If only one single controller (hub) can control my 200 devices in a 'responsive' manner, then that is what I want. This is my main debate right now... How 'powerful' is the Hubitat controller? Will it be able to effectively 'talk' to my devices scattered over 8,000 sqft? (especially through some thick brick walls (with 'repeaters,' of course)
Moreover, I'm curious if one controller will be able to handle dozens and dozens of 'rules' in a somewhat responsive manner. (in my current setup with Vera, I have over 100 small reactor-logic 'rules' and at least a few dozen 'scenes.')

That's a fair size system but If the mesh is built right a C-8 Pro hub should be able to run the rules and devices on its own. (The C-8 possibly could also, but the newer Pro hub has 2x the memory and newer CPU.)