Migrate VMware vSphere 5.5 / 6.0 to 6.5U2 with CLI

Steps to migrate VMware vSphere 5.5 / 6.0 to 6.5U2 with CLI

A. Upgrade the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 6.0 to 6.6U2d

It will provision a new VCSA 6.5 which is now running on PhotonOS during the migration and export / import all data from existing VCSA 6.0 to 6.5 automatically

  1. Prepare a VcsaUpgrade.json file and save it to C:\Temp
  • new.vcsa – esxi – Enter the IP Address with Credential on the existing ESXi host where VCSA 6.5 is deployed to (We are always using the same ESXi host where the existing VCSA 6 is running on)
  • new.vcsa – appliance – Set a new name for the new VCSA 6.5 – Do not use the same name assigned to existing VCSA 6
  • new.vcsa – temporary.network – Assign temporary IP Address & Name for the new VCSA 6.5
  • new.vcsa – user-options – Set to all to migrate all data from VCSA 6 to 6.5
  • source.vc – Enter the IP Address with Credential of the existing VCSA 6 and the ESXi host
    "__version": "2.3.1",
    "__comments": "Sample template to upgrade a vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 with an embedded Platform Services Controller to a vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 with an embedded Platform Services Controller.",
    "new.vcsa": {
        "esxi": {
            "hostname": "",
            "username": "root",
            "password": "P@ssw0rd",
            "deployment.network": "VM Network",
            "datastore": "HP_NS1"
        "appliance": {
            "thin.disk.mode": true,
            "deployment.option": "small",
            "name": "VCSA2"
        "os": {
            "ssh.enable": true
        "temporary.network": {
            "ip.family": "ipv4",
            "mode": "static",
            "ip": "",
            "dns.servers": [
            "prefix": "24",
            "gateway": "",
            "system.name": "vcsatemp"
        "user-options": {
            "vcdb.migrateSet": "all"
    "source.vc": {

        "esxi": {
            "hostname": "",
            "username": "root",
            "password": "P@ssw0rd"
        "vc.vcsa": {
            "hostname": "",
            "username": "[email protected]",
            "password": "P@ssw0rd",
            "root.password": "P@ssw0rd"
    "ceip": {

        "settings": {
            "ceip.enabled": false
  1. Mount the downloaded VMware vCenter Server Appliance Update Bundle and verify there is no error on the VcsaUpgrade.json file
D:\vcsa-cli-installer\win32>vcsa-deploy.exe upgrade --verify-template-only C:\Temp\VcsaUpgrade.json --no-esx-ssl-verify
  1. Run Pre-Check
D:\vcsa-cli-installer\win32>vcsa-deploy.exe upgrade --precheck-only C:\Temp\VcsaUpgrade.json --no-esx-ssl-verify
  1. Ensure that there is no error during verification & pre-check, and start the upgrade.

You can take a snapshot of the existing VCSA 6 for backup purpose. In the event the migration failed and you can roll back to the previous working copy of VCSA 6

D:\vcsa-cli-installer\win32>vcsa-deploy upgrade --accept-eula C:\Temp\vcsa65.json --no-esx-ssl-verify -v

You can login to the new Web UI of the VCSA 6.5 once the installation is completed successfully. It will take awhile to complete depending on the ESXi resources and the existing data stored in VCSA 6

You can also safely delete the old VCSA 6 once you comfirm that VCSA 6.5 is running fine.


B. Upgrade the ESXi 5.5 & 6.0 Hosts to 6.5U2

  1. To vMotion all running Virtual Machines (VM) to remaining hosts and put the ESXi 5.5 /6.0 to Maintenance Mode

  2. Copy the downloaded HPE Custom Image for VMware ESXi 6.5 U2 Offline Bundle to ESXi 5.5 host

scp update-from-esxi6.5-6.5_update02.zip [email protected]:/vmfs/volumes/v0022_Local/VMware-ESXi-6.5.0-Update2-9298722-HPE-preGen9-650.U2.
  1. List the name of the profile images inside the Offline Bundle
[root@localhost:~] esxcli software sources profile list -d /vmfs/volumes/v0022_Local/VMware-ESXi-6.5.0-Update2-9298722-HPE-preGen9-650.U2.
Name                                           Vendor                      Acceptance Level
---------------------------------------------  --------------------------  ----------------
HPE-ESXi-6.5.0-Update2-preGen9-650.U2.  Hewlett Packard Enterprise  PartnerSupported
  1. Perform Update with the Profile Images and reboot the host
esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/v0022_Local/ VMware-ESXi-6.5.0-Update2-9298722-HPE-preGen9-650.U2. -p HPE-ESXi-6.5.0-Update2-preGen9-650.U2.  

We do encounter the following error for some HPE Server installed with HPE Custom VMware Image even we try to boot up the ESXi host with USB Disk and peform update manually


You will need to manually removed those incompatible VIB in ESXi 5.5 and reboot the host prior performing upgrade again

esxcli software vib remove --vibname scsi-lpfc820 
esxcli software vib remove --vibname net-be2net
esxcli software vib remove --vibname scsi-qla2xxx

  1. SSH to the ESXi host once it is back online and verify the ESXi had been upgdated to 6.5U2
[root@localhost:~] vmware -v
VMware ESXi 6.5.0 build-9298722

You will need to use the Web GUI to manage individual hosts via https://HOSTIP/ui as the vSphere Client is no longer supported in ESXi 6.5U2


You can login to vCenter to put the hosts out of Mainteance Mode, and vMotion back those VM back to the upgraded ESXi 6.5 hosts

C. Upgrading VMware Tool for all Virtual Machines (VM)

Upgrade VMware Tool for all virtual machines (VM) with

Get-VM -Name Lab-AD01 | Update-Tools -NoReboot 

Schedule an downtime to restart individual VM manually

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