Can vCenter 8 Manage ESXi 6.7 or 7 Hosts | Question Answered

This post answers vCenter 8 compatibility questions, for example, can vCenter 8 manage ESXi 6.7 or 7? What’s the upgrade path to vCenter 8? Keep reading to get clear ideas.


By Delia / Updated on August 23, 2023

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Should You Upgrade to vSphere/vCenter 8?

In VMware vSphere 8, the number of vGPU devices has increased to 8, ESXi hosts managed by Lifecycle Manager increased to 1000, virtual machines per cluster increased to 10000, and VM DirectPath I/O devices per host increased to 32. In addition, there are some vSphere 8 new features to improve the use experience.

Due to these benefits, many users have switched to vCenter 8, but some are still on the fence. One of their main concerns may be the compatibility issue. For example, can vCenter 8 manage ESXi 6.7? How about ESXi 7.0? Should we upgrade ESXi beforehand?

All these questions will be answered in the following article.

VMware vSphere 8

Compatibility Issue – Can vCenter 8 Manage ESXi 6.7 or 7?

Many users have this question - can vCenter manage different versions of ESXi hosts?

The first principle here is that the vCenter version should be higher than (or at least equal to) the ESXi it manages, but some of the earlier ESXi versions may not be supported either.

For a specific check, we can refer to VMware's compatibility document.

vCenter 8 minimum supported version

So now we can answer these questions:

💬Can vCenter 8 manage ESXi 6.7?

YES. Hosts must be at a minimum of ESXi 6.7 to be managed by vCenter Server 8.0.

✍Related tips: VMware ended general support for ESXi versions 6.5 and 6.7 on October 15, 2022. The products entered technical guidance phase (until November 15, 2023). During this period, there will be no architectural or performance updates and no new features added . To maintain full levels of support and subscription services, VMware recommends upgrading to a supported version of vSphere.

You can first make a backup, and then upgrade ESXi 6.7 to 7, or directly upgrade to ESXi 8 as there are upgrade path from ESXi 6.7 to ESXi 8.

ESXi upgrade path

💬Can vCenter 8 manage ESXi 7?

YES. Both ESXi 7.0, 7.0UI, 7.0U2 and 7.0U3 hosts can be managed by vCenter 8.

vCenter 8 interoperability matrix

The Upgrade Paths to vCenter Server 8

If you decide to upgrade to vSphere 8, then in addition to ESXi hosts, you should also consider whether you can upgrade vCenter version directly to vCenter 8. Below is the upgrade path shown in Product Interoperability Matrix.

vCenter 8 uprade path

From this diagram, we can know that vCenter Server 6.7 onward can be directly upgrade to vCenter Server 8.0. But if you are running vCenter 6.5, you need to first upgrade it to vCenter 6.7 or 7.x, and then upgrade it to vCenter 8.

Another issue is the sequence when upgrading. For example, if you are using vCenter 6.7 to manage a mix of ESXi 6.7 and ESXi 6.5 hosts, what procedure should you adopt?

As suggested by VMware, there are some pre-upgrade actions you can take:

With these safeguards in place, you can then take the following process without concerns:

  • Upgrade vCenter Server 6.7 to vCenter Server 8
  • Upgrade ESXi Hosts to ESXi 8
  • Upgrade VMware Tools in Virtual Machines

*For other environments and corresponding upgrade initiatives, please refer to vSphere 8 upgrade scenarios.

📢Besides ESXi hosts and vCenter Server configurations, what you should not take lightly is the data carried in the virtual machines. Unfortunately, there’s no real backup option built in ESXi Host Client or vSphere Client, snapshot is not a long-term solution either. In this case, you could consider a professional VM backup solution.

Security Tips: Back up ESXi VMs in Case of Any Accidental Loss

Before you start doing some major operations (such as upgrading), it is necessary to back up your VMs in case of accidental loss. We can see that VMware also suggests users to make a backup before upgrading.

AOMEI Cyber Backup is an efficient VMware backup software designed to backup VMs easily and restore them from any point you need. With it, you can add VMs managed by vCenter Servers or standalone ESXi hosts (including free ESXi) to a central web console. Its simplicity makes it possible for even novices to configure ESXi or vCenter backups with several clicks.

AOMEI Cyber Backup can be installed on Windows and Linux systems, and works with VMware ESXi 6.0 and above versions (as well as Hyper-V servers). Here are some more benefits:

Backup at once: Backup VMs managed by vCenter Server or standalone ESXi host at once.
Automation: Create schedule to auto backup VMs, and enable retention policy to auto delete old backups.
Hot backup: Simply backup VMs while running. No need to suspend operations and ongoing access.
Backup strategy: Perform full backup, or incremental/differential backup that keeps tracking changed data.
Restore to new location: Besides in-place recovery, you can restore a VM to new location in the same or another datastore/host/vCenter.
Email notification: Send email notification when the task is completed or abnormal.

You can click the following button to download the software.

Download Free TrialVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

Backup vCenter virtual machines with AOMEI Cyber Backup

1. 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 by hitting Backup Task > Create New Task. You can select as many VMs as you need to back them up at once.

Select virtual machines vCenter

Schedule daily/weekly/monthly VMware backup with different backup strategies, such as full backup for the entire VM and incremental backup for the changed data.

Backup schedule type

Set up backup cleanup to auto delete the old backup copies that exceed the retention period you specified.

3. Click Start Backup to execute (or just create) the task.

Start Backup

Created backup tasks will be listed and monitored separately, for restoring, progress checking and schedule changing. When restoring, besides in-place recovery, you can also choose Restore to new location to create a new VM in the same or another path, thus migrate a VM to another vCenter or host, datastore, saving the trouble of re-configuring the new VM.

restore vm to new location


Can vCenter 8 manage ESXi 6.7? The answer is yes. But since VMware ended general support for ESXi versions 6.5 and 6.7, it's suggested to upgrade ESXi 6.7 to ESXi 7, or directly to ESXi 8 in order to better work with vCenter 8.

Before upgrading, it’s suggested to backup virtual machines as well as configurations just in case. This way even if you mess up, your virtual environment and critical data are guaranteed.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.