vCenter Server allows you to centrally manage hosts from either a physical or virtual Windows machine, and enables the use of advanced features such as VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), VMware High Availability (HA), and VMware VMotion.


In the software installer directory, double-click the autorun.exe file at C:\<installer location>\.


Click vCenter Server.


Choose a language for the installer and click OK.

This selection controls the language for only the installer. When you use the vSphere Client to connect to the vCenter Server system, the vSphere Client appears in the language associated with the locale setting on your machine. You can alter this behavior with a command-line instruction or by changing the locale in the registry of the machine. See Basic System Administration.


When the Welcome screen appears, click Next.


Select I agree to the terms in the license agreement and click Next.


Type your user name, organization, and vCenter Server license key, and click Next.

If you omit the license key, vCenter Server will be in evaluation mode, which allows you to use the full feature set. After installation, you can convert vCenter Server to licensed mode by entering the license key using the vSphere Client.


Choose the type of database that you want to use.

If you want to use the bundled database, click Install SQL Server 2005 Express instance (for small-scale deployments).

This database is suitable for deployments of up to 5 hosts and 50 virtual machines.

If you want to use an existing database, click Use an existing supported database and select your database from the list of available DSNs. Enter the user name and password for the DSN and click Next.

If your database is a local SQL Server database using Windows NT authentication, leave the user name and password fields blank.

If you specify a remote SQL Server database that uses Windows NT authentication, the database user and the logged-in user on the vCenter Server machine must be the same.

A dialog box might appear warning you that the DSN points to an older version of a repository that must be upgraded. If you click Yes, the installer upgrades the database schema, making the database irreversibly incompatible with previous VirtualCenter versions. See the Upgrade Guide.


Choose the account type.

If you want to use Windows authentication for SQL Server, specify an account that is an administrator on the local machine. As a best practice, type the account name as <DomainName>\<Username>. Type the account password, retype the password, and click Next.


Either accept the default destination folders or click Change to select another location, and click Next.

The installation path cannot have commas (,) or periods (.).


To install the vCenter Server on a drive other than C:, verify that there is enough space in the C:\WINDOWS\Installer folder to install the Microsoft Windows Installer .msi file. If you do not have enough space, your vCenter Server installation might fail.


Select Create a standalone VMware vCenter Server instance or Join Group and click Next.

Join a Linked Mode group to enable the vSphere Client to view, search, and manage data across multiple vCenter Server systems. See Creating vCenter Server Linked Mode Groups.

This option does not appear if you are upgrading the VirtualCenter database schema. If it does not appear, you can join a Linked Mode group after the installation is complete.


If you join a group, enter the fully qualified domain name and LDAP port number of any remote vCenter Server system and click Next.

In some cases, you can enter the IP address instead of the fully qualified domain name. To help ensure connectivity, the best practice is to use the fully qualified domain name. For IPv6, unless both the local and the remote machine are in IPv6 mode, you must enter the fully qualified domain name of the remote machine instead of the IPv6 address. If the local machine has an IPv4 address and the remote machine has an IPv6 address, the local machine must support IPv4 and IPv6 mixed mode. The domain name server must be able to resolve both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses if your environment has both addressing types in a single Linked Mode group.


Enter the port numbers that you want to use or accept the default port numbers and click Next.

See Required Ports.


Click Install.

Installation might take several minutes. Multiple progress bars appear during the installation of the selected components.


Click Finish.