Before installing vCenter Server, review the prerequisites.

Verify that you have the installation DVD or download the vCenter Server installer. See Download the vCenter Server Installer.

Verify that your system meets the requirements listed in vCenter Server and vSphere Client Hardware Requirements and vCenter Server Software Requirements, and that the required ports are open, as discussed in Required Ports for vCenter Server.

Verify that your database meets the database requirements. See vCenter Server Database Patch and Configuration Requirements and Preparing vCenter Server Databases.

Gather the information that the vCenter Server installation wizard requires. See Required Information for Installing vCenter Server.

Verify that the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the system where you will install vCenter Server is resolvable. To check that the FQDN is resolvable, type nslookup your_vCenter_Server_fqdn at a command line prompt. If the FQDN is resolvable, the nslookup command returns the IP and name of the domain controller machine.

Verify that DNS reverse lookup returns a fully qualified domain name when queried with the IP address of the vCenter Server. When you install vCenter Server, the installation of the web server component that supports the vSphere Client fails if the installer cannot look up the fully qualified domain name of the vCenter Server from its IP address. Reverse lookup is implemented using PTR records. To create a PTR record, see the documentation for your vCenter Server host operating system.

Verify that the host name of the machine that you are installing vCenter Server on complies with RFC 952 guidelines.

The installation path of vCenter Server must be compatible with the installation requirements for Microsoft Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM/AD LDS). The installation path cannot contain any of the following characters: non-ASCII characters, commas (,), periods (.), exclamation points (!), pound signs (#), at signs (@), or percentage signs (%).

If the machine that you are installing vCenter Server on has VirtualCenter installed, you might want to upgrade instead of performing a fresh installation of vCenter Server.

Important

To keep your existing VirtualCenter configuration, see the vSphere Upgrade documentation.

Verify that no Network Address Translation (NAT) exists between the vCenter Server system and the hosts it will manage.

Create a vCenter Server database, unless you plan to install the bundled SQL Server 2008 R2 Express.

If the system that you use for your vCenter Server installation belongs to a workgroup rather than a domain, not all functionality is available to vCenter Server. If assigned to a workgroup, the vCenter Server system is not able to discover all domains and systems available on the network when using some features. To determine whether the system belongs to a workgroup or a domain, right-click My Computer. Click Properties and click the Computer Name tab. The Computer Name tab displays either a Workgroup label or a Domain label.

During the installation, verify that the connection between the machine and the domain controller is working.

Verify that the computer name is no more than 15 characters.

The NETWORK SERVICE account is required on the folder in which vCenter Server is installed and on the HKLM registry.

Verify that the DNS name of the machine matches the actual computer name.

Make sure the system on which you are installing vCenter Server is not an Active Directory domain controller.

On each system that is running vCenter Server, make sure that the domain user account has the following permissions:

Member of the Administrators group

Act as part of the operating system

Log on as a service

Consider whether the vCenter Server instance will be standalone or in a Linked Mode group. See Creating vCenter Server Linked Mode Groups.

Install vCenter Server, like any other network server, on a machine with a fixed IP address and well-known DNS name, so that clients can reliably access the service. Assign a static IP address and host name to the Windows server that will host the vCenter Server system. This IP address must have a valid (internal) domain name system (DNS) registration. Ensure that the ESXi host management interface has a valid DNS resolution from the vCenter Server and all vSphere Clients. Ensure that the vCenter Server has a valid DNS resolution from all ESXi hosts and all vSphere Clients. If you use DHCP instead of a static IP address for vCenter Server, make sure that the vCenter Server computer name is updated in the domain name service (DNS). Ping the computer name to test this connection. For example, if the computer name is host-1.company.com, run the following command in the Windows command prompt:

ping host-1.company.com

If you can ping the computer name, the name is updated in DNS.