vCenter Server allows you to centrally manage hosts from either a physical or virtual Windows machine, and enables the management of a VSA cluster as well as the use of advanced features such as vSphere High Availability (HA), vSphere vMotion, and vSphere Storage vMotion.

A vCenter Server instance can manage only one instance of a VSA cluster.

See vCenter Server Prerequisites.

vCenter Server requires the Microsoft .NET 3.5 SP1 Framework. If your system does not have it installed, the vCenter Server installer installs it. The .NET 3.5 SP1 installation might require Internet connectivity to download more files.


In the software installer directory, double-click the autorun.exe file to start the installer.


Select vCenter Server™.


Follow the prompts in the installation wizard to choose the installer language, agree to the end user patent and license agreements, enter your user name, organization name, and license key.

If you omit the license key, vCenter Server will be in evaluation mode, which allows you to use the full feature set for a 60-day evaluation period. After installation, you can enter the license key to convert vCenter Server to licensed mode.


Click Install SQL Server 2008 Express instance (for small-scale deployments).

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


Select Use SYSTEM Account and click Next.

The Fully Qualified Domain Name field displays the FQDN of the system that you are installing vCenter Server on. The vCenter Server installer checks that the FQDN is resolvable. If not, a warning message is displayed when you click Next. Change the entry to a resolvable FQDN. You must enter the FQDN, not the IP address.


Accept the default destination folders and click Next.


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


For each component that you install, accept the default port numbers and click Next.


Do not change the default vCenter Server ports, as it might lead to VSA upgrade failures.


Select the size of your vCenter Server inventory to allocate memory for several Java services that are used by vCenter Server.

This setting determines the maximum JVM heap settings for VMware VirtualCenter Management Webservices (Tomcat), Inventory Service, and Profile-Driven Storage Service. You can adjust this setting after installation if the number of hosts in your environment changes. See the recommendations in the vCenter Server Hardware Requirements topic in System Requirements.


Click Install.

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


Click Finish.

After you complete the installation, use the vSphere Client to connect to vCenter Server.