vCenter for Windows 6.5 to vCSA 6.7 migration

 In Product updates, Software, VMware, vSphere basics

Historically, many infrastructures are based on vCenter for Windows, especially, those which were not deployed after vSphere 6.5 was announced.

Prior vSphere 6.5  vCSA appliance has a limited set of features and many companies instead prefer to use a full-feature vCenter server running on windows.

From vSphere 6.5, vCSA is the preferred vCenter deployment option, and vSphere 6.7 is the last release that supports vCenter for Windows. Customers are encouraged to perform the migration from vCenter for Windows to vCSA.

VMware introduced vCenter for Window to vCSA migration wizard in vSphere 6.5 as an integrated part of the vCSA installation.

Migration procedure

The migration from the vCenter server for Windows to vCSA has several steps, depending on your vSphere deployment:

  • With external PSC, migrate to the dedicated vCSA machine which will be used as an external PSC. Migration from external PSC to embedded is not supported.
  • Migrate vCenter for Windows 6.5 to vCSA 6.7:

Please note that migrate in this context means migrate and upgrade in a single step. Feel free to check the following document for additional informations about vCenter for Windows to vCSA migration:

The migration itself is a straight-forward process, all you need to do is launch migration Wizard.

Migration wizard supports all kinds of vCenter for Windows deployment:

  • vCenter for Windows with embedded PostgreSQL database and embedded PSC
  • vCenter for Windows with embedded PostgreSQL database and external embedded PSC
  • vCenter for Windows with an external database and embedded PSC
  • vCenter for Windows with an external database and external embedded PSC

If you have external PSC, perform the migration of the PSC first, then continue with vCenter Server. If you have vCenter Server with embedded PSC, only migrate the vCenter Server.

To migrate vCenter for Windows with internal PostgreSQL database and embedded PSC to vCSA with embedded PSC, follow this procedure:

  1. On the source, Windows vCenter server, launch the migration assistant from the installation ISO image of the vCSA 6.7. The migration assistant is located at CDDRIVE:\migration-assistant\VMware-Migration-Assistant.exe:

  1. Plug-in vCSA installation image to your management station and select Migrate.
  2. After you agree with the license terms, you need to connect to the source: vCenter Server for Windows:


  1. The Appliance deployment targetstep can be ESXi server or vCeter Server as you already know. Next steps are the same as for new vCSA installation. Here, you need to provide the VM name of the new vCenter Server, root password, deployment size, and datastore.
  2. In Configure network settingsyou need to provide a temporary IP address that will be used during the migration process. Once the migration is finished, the new vCSA will be reconfigured with the old IP address currently configured in the vCenter for Windows:

  1. In the last step you can check everything and if the configuration is correct, start with the deployment.

Once stage 1 is complete, you can continue with actual migration:

  1. Based on your vSphere environment, you might see different warnings and notices once the stage 2 migration wizard connects to the source vCenter for Windows:

  1. If your vCenter Server for Windows is a member of an Active Directory(AD), you will be prompted for AD credentials to join new vCSA to the AD
  2. You have an option to select which data will be migrated to the new vCSA appliance
  3. Next, you can join the Customer Experience Improvement Program, and in the final step, you have to confirm that the backup of the source vCenter for Windows was done
  4. During the migration, source vCenter Server for Windows will be powered-off
  5. Now the actual migration will be performed based on your configuration settings
  6. If the migration was successful, you should see the screen with the results of the operation

Once the migration is finished, you can log into the web interface of the new vCSA appliance (running on your original IP address) and verify that the configuration was moved as well as the version installed to match the targeted version:

At this stage vCenter 6.7 is running in your environment (either upgraded from previous vCSA version, migrated from vCenter for Windows or running as a Windows service in the case of vCenter for Windows). It is now time to upgrade your ESXi hypervisors.

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