Upgrading VCSA is pretty straightforward, however when I recently worked toward upgrading my homelab to 8.0 I came upon a problem I wasn’t expecting.

The top section outlines the existing VCSA deployment, and the bottom section defines where the VCSA is hosted. It requires this information because to upgrade the appliance, as it actually deploys a new appliance and copies over all the configuration items.

With the VCSA being hosted on VMware Workstation, this becomes a problem. The upgrade wizard wants a vCenter or a ESXi host where the VCSA resides. In this instance, there isn’t one. I have a pretty small homelab, so deploying a fresh and clean vCenter isn’t a big deal for me. Others may have far more complex homelabs with more configuration items which would be a pain to rebuild most of it. Because of this I wanted to come up with a solution.

VMware workstation has a cool feature which I haven’t used before…

“Connect to Server”

This allows Workstation to connect to a vCenter or ESXi host and effectively copy/move VMs between Workstation and the server where it connects.

Once connected, the host or vCenter appears in VMware Workstation

Uploading the VM to the host may require you to change the Compatibility on the VM.

Here there are a number of options. I had issues moving the VM to a ESXi7.0 host with compatibility set to 7, so I ended up using 6.7 which allowed me to copy the VM.

Assuming no issues you should see the upload progress smoothly:

Once it is uploaded we should be able to run through the normal VCSA upgrade sequence. After the VCSA is updated we can either leave it on the connected host or redownload the VM to be hosted on VMware Workstation.