You can install vCenter Server separately from vCenter Single Sign-On and vCenter Inventory Service to customize the location and configuration of the components.

These instructions let you install vCenter Server only. Alternatively, you can install vCenter Server, vCenter Single Sign-On, and Inventory Service together on a single host machine using the vCenter Server Simple Install option. See Install vCenter Single Sign On, vCenter Inventory Service, and vCenter Server by Using Simple Install.

If you do not enter a 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.


vCenter Server 5.1 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.

See the first topic in this multitopic task: Install vCenter Single Sign On, vCenter Inventory Service, and vCenter Server by Using Simple Install.

See Prerequisites for Installing vCenter Single Sign-On, Inventory Service, and vCenter Server

Install vCenter Single Sign-On and Inventory Service. See Separately Install vCenter Single Sign-On, vCenter Inventory Service, and vCenter Server.

To install the vCenter Server on a drive other than C:, verify that there is enough space in the C: drive to install the Microsoft Windows Installer .msi file.


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, and enter your license key.


Choose the type of database that you want to use.

To use the bundled database, click Install a Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express instance (for small-scale deployments: up to 5 hosts and 50 virtual machines).

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.

If your database uses Windows NT authentication, the user name and password fields are disabled.


You might get a warning 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 vSphere Upgrade documentation.


If the installer prompts you, enter the JDBC URL for your existing vCenter Server database.

The installer should generate and validate the JDBC URL for the vCenter Server database. If the installer fails to connect to the database by using the generated JDBC URL, the installer prompts you to specify the JDBC URL.


Set the login information for vCenter Server.

If you are using a nonbundled database, enter the administrator name and password that you use when you log in to the system on which you are installing vCenter Server.

If you are using the bundled SQL Server database, select Use SYSTEM Account.

You need the user name and password to log in to vCenter Server after you install it.

The Fully Qualified Domain Name text box 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 appears when you click Next. Change the entry to a resolvable FQDN. You must enter the FQDN, not the IP address.


Make sure the FQDN that you provide does not change. The system name cannot be changed after deployment. If the system name changes, you must uninstall vCenter Server and install it again.


Select Create a standalone VMware vCenter Server instance or Join a VMware vCenter Group using Linked Mode to share information.

Joining a Linked Mode group enables the vSphere Client and vSphere Web Client to view, search, and manage data across multiple vCenter Server systems.


This option does not appear if you are upgrading the VirtualCenter or vCenter Server database schema. 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.


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

See Required Ports for vCenter Server.


(Optional) Select Increase the number of available ephemeral ports.


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 topic vCenter Server Hardware Requirements.


Enter the information to register vCenter Server with vCenter Single Sign-On.

The vCenter Single Sign-On administrator user name is admin@System-Domain, and the password must match the password you entered when you installed vCenter Single Sign-On. The Lookup Service URL takes the form https://SSO_host_FQDN_or_IP:7444/lookupservice/sdk, where 7444 is the default vCenter Single Sign-On HTTPS port number. Your entry should match the entry you made when you installed vCenter Single Sign-On. If you entered a different port number when you installed vCenter Single Sign-On, use that port number.


If you installed vCenter Single Sign-On in a vCenter Server Appliance, you can enter the Single Sign-On administrator user as root@localos. In this case, the password is the root password of the vCenter Server Appliance. The Lookup Service URL takes the form https://vCenter_Appliance_IP_or_host_name:{7444}/lookupservice/sdk.


If prompted to install or overwrite a certificate, follow the prompt.


Register a vCenter Server administrator with vCenter Single Sign-On, and select the check box if the administrator is a group.

The administrator or group you register here is granted the necessary privileges to administer the vCenter Server instance that you are installing.


Enter the Inventory Service URL.

The Inventory Service URL takes the form https://Inventory_Service_host_FQDN_or_IP:10443. 10443 is the default Inventory Service HTTPS port number. If you entered a different port number when you installed Inventory Service, use that port number here.


Either accept the default destination folder or click Change to select another location.

The installation path cannot contain any of the following characters: non-ASCII characters, commas (,), periods (.), exclamation points (!), pound signs (#), at signs (@), or percentage signs (%).


Click Install.

Multiple progress bars appear during the installation of the selected components.


Click Finish.

After you install vCenter Server, you can display the vCenter Server welcome page by typing the IP address of the vCenter Server machine or by typing localhost from a browser installed on the vCenter Server machine. From the welcome page, you can download the vSphere Client. You can also install the vSphere Web Client to access vCenter Server. See Install or Upgrade the vSphere Web Client.

See After You Install vCenter Server.