As an alternative to installing vCenter Server on a Windows machine, you can download and deploy the VMware vCenter Server Appliance. The vCenter Server Appliance is a preconfigured Linux-based virtual machine optimized for running vCenter Server and the associated services.

The vCenter Server Appliance has the following default user names

root with the password vmware.

administrator@vsphere.local with the password that you entered during installation for the vCenter Single Sign-On administrator account in the built-in domain.

You can also create a custom password that the vCenter Server Appliance reads on first boot. See Create a Custom Password on the First Boot for the vCenter Server Appliance.

Note

On a newly deployed version 5.5 vCenter Server Appliance, the root user does not have vCenter Single Sign-On Administrator privileges. For information about administering vCenter Single Sign-On, see the vSphere Security documentation.

For external databases, the vCenter Server Appliance supports only Oracle databases, in the same versions shown in the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix for the version of the vCenter Server Appliance that you are deploying. See the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/sim/interop_matrix.php. Versions 5.0.1 and later of the vCenter Server Appliance use PostgreSQL for the embedded database instead of IBM DB2, which is used in vCenter Server Appliance 5.0.

The vCenter Server Appliance does not support Linked Mode configuration.

Version 5.5 of the vCenter Server Appliance is deployed with virtual hardware version 7, which supports eight virtual CPUs per virtual machine in ESXi. Depending on the hosts that you will manage with the vCenter Server Appliance, you might want to upgrade the ESXi hosts and update the hardware version of the vCenter Server Appliance to support more virtual CPUs:

ESXi 4.x supports up to virtual hardware version 7 with up to 8 virtual CPUs per virtual machine.

ESXi 5.0.x supports up to virtual hardware version 8 with up to 32 virtual CPUs per virtual machine.

ESXi 5.1.x supports up to virtual hardware version 9 with up to 64 virtual CPUs per virtual machine.

Caution

If you update the vCenter Server appliance to hardware version 10, you cannot edit the virtual machine settings for the appliance using the vSphere Client. This might cause difficulties in managing the vCenter Server Appliance, because you cannot use the vSphere Web Client to connect directly to the host on which the vCenter Server Appliance resides to manage it. Do not upgrade the vCenter Server Appliance to hardware version 10.

For inventory and other configuration limits in the vCenter Server Appliance, see the Configuration Maximums documentation.

For information about upgrading ESXi hosts, see the vSphere Upgrade documentation. To update the virtual hardware version of a virtual machine, see the information about virtual machine compatibility levels in the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration documentation.

For information about configuring the vCenter Server Appliance, see the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation.

To configure networking for the vCenter Server Appliance, you must use the vami_config_net tool, located at /opt/vmware/share/vami/vami_config_net. Instructions for using this tool are in the document User’s Guide to Deploying vApps and Virtual Appliances, located at https://www.vmware.com/support/developer/studio/studio26/va_user.pdf.

Note

vCenter Server 5.5 supports connection between vCenter Server and vCenter Server components by IP address only if the IP address is IPv4-compliant. To connect to a vCenter Server system in an IPv6 environment, you must use the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) or host name of the vCenter Server. The best practice is to use the FQDN, which works in all cases, instead of the IP address, which can change if assigned by DHCP.

The ESXi Dump Collector service, the vSphere Syslog service, and vSphere Auto Deploy must use an IPv4 address to communicate with the vCenter Server Appliance.

Verify that the host machine meets the hardware requirements for the vCenter Server Appliance listed in Hardware Requirements for vCenter Server, the vSphere Web Client, vCenter Inventory Service, and vCenter Single Sign-On.

Verify that the hosts are running ESX version 4.x or ESXi version 4.x or later.

Synchronize the clocks of all machines on the vSphere network. See Synchronizing Clocks on the vSphere Network.

If you plan to configure the vCenter Server Appliance from a configuration file, prepare the file and store it in a location that is accessible from the vCenter Server Appliance host machine. See Format for the vCenter Server Appliance Configuration File.

See the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration documentation for instructions on deploying OVA files and OVF templates.

1

From the vSphere 5 download page on the VMware Web site, download the .OVA file or the .OVF and VMDK System and Data disks for the vCenter Server appliance onto your system.

If you use the .OVF and VMDK System and Data disks, download them all into the same folder.

2

Using the vSphere Client or vSphere Web Client, deploy the .OVA file or the .OVF and VMDK system and data disks as an OVF template.

If you do not want to commit to using the maximum 80GB of disk space at deployment, deploy the vCenter Server Appliance with thin provisioning. In the Disk Format panel of the Deploy OVF template wizard, select Thin provisioned format.

Note

The vSphere Web Client connects to vSphere through the vCenter Server, but cannot connect directly to an ESXi instance. If your vSphere environment does not already have vCenter Server installed, use the vSphere Client to deploy the vCenter Server Appliance to an ESXi instance. Alternatively, you can use the OVF Tool, which is available, with documentation, from VMware Communities at https://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/automationtools/ovf. Once your vSphere environment includes a vCenter Server instance, you can use the vSphere Web Client to deploy the vCenter Server Appliance to an ESXi instance through the vCenter Server.

3

Power on the vCenter Server Appliance.

4

Open a console view.

5

Follow the instructions on the welcome screen to open a browser window to the URL shown.

6

Log in to the vCenter Server Appliance and accept the license agreement.

When you log in, the vCenter Server Setup wizard starts.

7

Select the configuration option for your installation.

Option

Description

Configure with default settings

Sets up embedded vCenter Server database in the vCenter Server Appliance and configures the database and Active Directory with default settings.

Upload configuration file

To configure the vCenter Server Appliance from a prepared configuration file.

Set custom configuration

To customize the configuration of the vCenter Server Appliance. The setup wizard displays separate panels for you to connect the appliance to embedded or external vCenter Server database, and to configure custom Active Directory settings.

8

Follow the prompts to complete the wizard.

If you uploaded a configuration file, enter any settings that were not included in the file as you complete the wizard.

The vCenter Server Appliance is deployed and set up.

See the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation for information about using vCenter Server and the vCenter Server Appliance.