VMware’s promise that Windows vCenter can be migrated to vCenter Server Appliance arrives with VCS to VCSA Converter
photo above image is from Justin King's VMware vSphere Blog article,
Which vCenter Server platform should I use – Appliance or Windows?
VCS - vCenter Server / VCSA - vCenter Server Appliance
the fling download site calls it "VCS to VCVA Converter" but likely a typo, the vcs-migration-appliance-doc_v0.9.docx and the video confirm it's VCSA
Excerpt from the labs.vmware.com/flings/vcs-to-vcva-converter download site:
The VCS to VCVA Converter Appliance is the winning idea from the 2013 Fling Contest. It allows customers to migrate from Windows vCenter Server with an External Microsoft SQL Server Database to the vCenter Server Appliance with an embedded vPostgres database. The Fling migrates the vCenter database, roles, permissions, privileges, certificates and inventory service. The target appliance will run at the same IP address as the source vCenter.
Then, under Agree & Download, this big caveat:
I have read and agree to the Technical Preview Agreement. I also understand that Flings are experimental and should not be run on production systems.
What does this mean? Well, it's open source, and it's under trial, and it's encouraged that you try this is a lab. So it'd seem pretty natural for folks who like their vSphere 5.5 vCenter on Windows in their lab might want to try to run a like-version VCSA appliance along side it (see requirements), then use this VCS to VCVA Converter. See also video below.
Given VMware's push to VCSA, this conversion may finally give a path to actually get an existing environment to VCSA 6.0.
See also much more detail over at William Lam's virtuallyGhetto article:
The idea of a VCS to VCSA Converter really resonated with me as well as with many of our customers. In fact, everyone that I had spoken with who has used the VCSA just love the simplicity, ease of deployment and management it provides compared to its Windows counterpart. However, one of the biggest adoption barrier that I have seen from talking to customers is that is no simple way of migrating from a Windows based vCenter Server to the VCSA. You literally have to start fresh and this is pretty a show stopper for the majority of our customers and I do not disagree with them.
Note that the title of this article is about a possibility. And a free one at that. Not until vSphere 6.0 has been out for a while will we know if this conversion followed by an upgrade is a smooth path forward. We'll need time to get a sense of how folks are doing with actually using this fling, before they come out with a successor that is ready (and supported) for converting a production environment.
As we await the GA of vSphere 6.0, one thing's for sure - there will be plenty of opportunity for tinkering by virtualization enthusiasts in 2015!
What’s New in the VMware vSphere® 6.0 Platform - VMware Technical White Paper January 2015
(Page 7 has a table comparing the 2 versions)