[Complete Guide] Why and How to Migrate Windows vCenter to VCSA

Are you considering migrating your Windows vCenter to VCSA 6.7? This article provides a step-by-step tutorial and offers solutions to solve common problems encountered during the process.


By Zelia / Updated on June 9, 2023

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Why you need to migrate Windows vCenter to VCSA

VMware vCenter serves as a central management platform enables efficient administration and controls of virtualized infrastructure. Historically, vCenter was available as a Windows-based application. However, VMware has introduced the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA), a preconfigured Linux-based virtual appliance that offers several advantages over the Windows vCenter deployment.

VMware is moving towards a Linux-based future, making VCSA the recommended platform for vCenter deployments. By Windows vCenter to VCSA migration, you align yourselves with VMware's direction and gain access to the latest features, enhancements, and security updates.


How to migrate Windows vCenter to VCSA 6.7

Migrate vCenter server to vCenter server appliance involves several steps. It is important to follow a well-defined process to ensure a smooth and successful migration. Here is a step-by-step guide:

1. Download the VCSA 6.7 ISO image on your Windows computer or Server, or copy it from the Windows vCenter Server.

Note: You can run the vCenter Server Appliance GUI or CLI installer from a network client machine that is running on a Windows, Linux, or Mac operating system.

2. Mount the ISO image and navigate to the \vcsa-ui-installer\win32 directory. Right-click on installer.exe and choose Run as Administrator. Then click Migrate to start the migration process.


3. On both the Introduction and End user license agreement pages, click Next. Then enter the FQDN or IP Address of the source Windows vCenter Server you want to migrate, along with the SSO administrator username and password. Click Next when finished.


4. Enter the details for the target environment, including the IP address or DNS name of the ESXi host where you want to deploy the VCSA, and the root user password for the ESXi host. Click Next.


5. Select folder and Select computer resource, then set up the target VM name. The host name of vCenter will automatically be migrated.

6. Select your deployment size and network, then click Next. The confirmation message will appear, and your credentials from the previous stage will be brought over.


7. If vCenter is connected to Active Directory, you will need to provide credentials and select the data you want to migrate.

8. After configuring the network on the destination server, you will be prompted to shut down the source vCenter server in the last step. Click OK to proceed.


9. When the migration of the data is completed, click Close.


10. After clicking the Close button, you’re automatically redirected to the connection page where you can connect via the vSphere Web Client or choose the new and modern HTML 5 web-based client.


Common problems during Windows vCenter to VCSA migration

When migrating Windows vCenter to VCSA, there are several potential problems that you may encounter. Here are some common problems and their efficient solutions:

  • Compatibility Issues: Incompatibilities can arise from outdated hardware, unsupported operating systems, or incompatible databases. To overcome this, thoroughly review the VMware documentation and compatibility guides and consider upgrading or replacing them as required.
  • Database Migration: Migrating the database can be challenging due to differences in structure and compatibility. Ensure that you follow VMware's documentation and guidelines precisely when performing the database migration.
  • Networking Configuration: Network misconfigurations, such as incorrect IP addresses, DNS settings, or firewall rules, can lead to connectivity issues. It is essential to verify and update the network settings on both the source Windows vCenter and the VCSA to ensure consistency.
  • Resource Allocation: Inadequate resource allocation can result in performance degradation or even migration failures. Before migrating, assess the resource utilization of the existing Windows vCenter and adjust the resource allocation on the VCSA appliance accordingly to ensure optimal performance.
  • Plugin and Extension Compatibility: Windows vCenter may have third-party plugins or extensions installed, which may not be compatible with VCSA. Before migration, identify and document all installed plugins and extensions. Consult with the respective vendors to ensure compatibility with VCSA 6.7.
  • Migration Tool Limitations: The tool does not support direct migrations from older versions of vCenter. In such cases, users may need to perform an intermediate upgrade to a supported version before migrating to VCSA 6.7.

While certain challenges may arise during the migration process, proactive planning, adherence to best practices, and careful consideration of potential issues and their solutions can ensure a successful migration. You can solve any problems by following the step-by-step guide provided in this article.

Reliable vCenter VM backup to ensure your data security

It is essential to ensure the integrity and backup of vCenter virtual machines before starting the migration process, which provides a safety net in case of any unforeseen issues or failures during the migration.

Here I introduce you a VMware backup software - AOMEI Cyber Backup. Whether you are running Linux or Windows VMs, it can perform image-level backups. If you want to migrate VMs, the backup and restore process via AOMEI Cyber Backup is both secure and simple and it offers the following benefits with its flexible strategies.

Agentless Backup: Create complete and independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs.
Multiple VM Backup: Batch backup large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server, or multiple VMs on a standalone ESXi host.
Easy-to-use: Build a basic backup system with just a few clicks.
Automated Execution: Create backup schedules to automate backups daily, weekly, or monthly.
Instant Recovery: Instantly restore the whole virtual machine to the previous state from any selected history version.

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

Download Free TrialVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

AOMEI Cyber Backup supports various versions including ESXi 6.0 and later versions. Next, I will show you how to ensure your vCenter data security with AOMEI Cyber Backup in 4 simple steps.

Backup and Restore Windows or Linux VMs via AOMEI Cyber Backup

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.


2. Create Backup Task: Navigate to Backup Task >> + Create New Task >> Backup Type >> VMware ESXi Backup and set Task Name, Device, Target, Schedule, and Cleanup as needed.

  • Schedule (optional): Perform full, differential, or incremental backup, and automate execution according to the frequency you specified.


  • Device: Batch select large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server for centralized backup.


  • Cleanup (optional): Automatically delete the old backup copies that exceed the retention period you specified.


3. Run Backup: Click Start Backup and select Add the schedule and start backup now, or Add the schedule only.


4. Restore Task: 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.



In conclusion, migrating Windows vCenter to VCSA offers numerous benefits. In this article, you could know the upgrading process from Windows-based vCenter Server to VCSA. Besides, it provides solutions to some common problems.

Please remember, data security should be a top priority when migrating or managing your infrastructure. It is important to take proactive measures to implement secure practices. Safeguarding your data ensures business continuity, compliance with regulations, and protects against potential cyber threats.

Zelia · Editor
Zelia is an editor from AOMEI Technology.She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. Writing is one of her hobbies and she wants her articles to be seen by more people. In her spare time, she likes to draw and listen to music, and it is a pleasure for her to focus on her own world.