When you use the CLI process to migrate a source vCenter Server installation to a target vCenter Server Appliance, you must prepare a JSON template with the configuration values for the new appliance.

You can migrate vCenter Server, vCenter Single Sign-On, or Platform Services Controller instances from Windows to an appliance by setting values to the configuration parameters in the templates that are available in the installer ISO file. The configuration parameters that are not included in the templates are set to their default values. You can add configuration parameters in the templates to set their values for your migration specification.

The vcsa-cli-installer/templates/migrate directory contains example migration templates for CLI migration of vCenter Server 5.5 and vCenter Server 6.0 to an appliance.

For a complete list of the configuration parameters and their descriptions, navigate to the installer subdirectory for your operating system and run the vcsa-deploy migrate --template-help command.
Important: The user name that you use to log in to the machine from which you want to run the CLI installer, the path to the vCenter Server Appliance installer, the path to your JSON configuration file, and the string values in your JSON configuration file, including the passwords, must contain only ASCII characters. Extended ASCII and non-ASCII characters are unsupported.

Local OS user names for vCenter Server 5.5 are not migrated to the target vCenter Server Appliance and must be recreated after migration is complete. If any local OS user names are used to log in to the vCenter Single Sign-On, you must recreate them in the Platform Services Controller appliance.


Verify your environment meets the requirements for migration. See System Requirements for Migrating vCenter Server Deployments to vCenter Server Appliance Deployments,

Prepare your environment for migration. See Preparing for Migration.


  1. Open the migrate subfolder in the vcsa-cli-installer/templates directory.
  2. Copy the migration template from the migrate subfolder to your workspace.
    • For vCenter Server 5.5, use the migrate/winvc5.5/ folder.
    • For vCenter Server 6.0, use the migrate/winvc6.0/ folder.
  3. Open the template file for your use case in a text editor.
    To ensure the correct syntax of your JSON configuration file, use a JSON editor.
  4. Fill in values for the required configuration parameters and, optionally, enter additional parameters and their values.
    Important: To set a value that contains the backslash (\) or quotation mark (") character, you must precede the character with the backslash (\) character. For example, "password":"my\"password" sets the password my"password, "image":"C:\\vmware\\vcsa" sets the path C:\vmware\vcsa.

    The boolean values must contain only lowercase characters. Can be either true or false. For example, "ssh.enable":false

  5. Save in UTF-8 format and close the file.


Your file is ready to use for migration.

What to do next

You can create and save as many templates as are needed for your specific environment. When your template is ready, run the pre-check before using it to run the migration. See Run a Pre-Check Before a CLI Migration to vCenter Server Appliance.