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

The vCenter Server Appliance has the default user name root and password vmware. 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.

Microsoft SQL Server and IBM DB2 are not supported for the vCenter Server Appliance. The vCenter Server Appliance does not support Linked Mode configuration.Versions 5.0.1 and 5.1 of the vCenter Server Appliance use PostgreSQL for the embedded database instead of IBM DB2, which was used in vCenter Server Appliance 5.0.


The embedded database is not configured to manage an inventory that contains more than 5 hosts and 50 virtual machines. Exceeding these limits can cause numerous problems, including causing vCenter Server to stop responding.

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


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.

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, vCenter Single Sign On, vSphere Client, and vSphere Web Client.

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.


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


Using the vSphere Client or the vSphere Web Client, deploy the .OVA file or the .OVF and VMDK files 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.


Power on the vCenter Server Appliance.


Open a console view.


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


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

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


Select the configuration option for your installation.



Configure with default settings

Sets up embedded vCenter Server and vCenter Single Sign On databases in the vCenter Server Appliance and configures the databases 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 and vCenter Single Sign On databases, and to configure custom Active Directory settings.


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.


If you set the vCenter Server Apliance to use an external instance of Single Sign On, the external Single Sign On instance must be hosted on another vCenter Server Appliance. It cannot be hosted on a Windows machine.

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.