The vCenter Server Appliance is a preconfigured Linux virtual machine, which is optimized for running VMware vCenter Server® and the associated services on Linux.

During the deployment of the appliance, you select a deployment type of vCenter Server with an embedded Platform Services Controller, Platform Services Controller, or vCenter Server with an external Platform Services Controller. When you deploy a Platform Services Controller appliance, you can create a VMware vCenter® Single Sign-On™ domain or join an existing domain. For information about the vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller deployment types and the deployment topologies with external Platform Services Controller instances, see vSphere Installation and Setup.

The vCenter Server Appliance is supported on VMware ESXi™ 5.5 and later. The appliance package contains the following software:

Project Photon OS® 1.0

PostgreSQL database

vCenter Server 6.5 and vCenter Server 6.5 components

Platform Services Controller that contains all of the necessary services for running vCenter Server such as vCenter Single Sign-On, License service, and VMware Certificate Authority

For detailed information about the Platform Services Controller, see Platform Services Controller Administration.

Customization of the vCenter Server Appliance is unsupported except for adding memory, CPU, and disk space.

The vCenter Server Appliance has the following default user names:

root user with the password that you set during the deployment of the virtual appliance. You use the root user to log in to the vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface and to the appliance Linux operating system.

Important

The password for the root account of the vCenter Server Appliance expires after 365 days by default. For information about how to change the root password and configure the password expiration settings, see Change the Password and Password Expiration Settings of the Root User.

administrator@your_domain_name which is the vCenter Single Sign-On user with the password and domain name that you set during the deployment of the appliance.

In vSphere 5.5, this user is administrator@vsphere.local. In vSphere 6.0, when you install vCenter Server or deploy the vCenter Server Appliance with a new Platform Services Controller, you can change the vSphere domain. Do not use the same domain name as the domain name of your Microsoft Active Directory or OpenLDAP domain name.

Initially, only the user administrator@your_domain_name has the privileges to log in to the vCenter Server system in the vCenter Server Appliance. By default, the administrator@your_domain_name user is a member of the SystemConfiguration.Administrators group and can add an identity source in which additional users and groups are defined to vCenter Single Sign-On or give permissions to the users and groups. For more information, see vSphere Security.

You can access the vCenter Server Appliance and edit the vCenter Server Appliance settings in four ways:

Use the vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface.

You can edit the system settings of the vCenter Server Appliance such as access, network, time synchronization, and the root password settings. This is the preferred way for editing the appliance.

Use the VMware vSphere® Web Client.

You can navigate to the system configuration settings of the vCenter Server Appliance and join the appliance to an Active Directory domain, manage the services that are running in the vCenter Server Appliance, and modify various settings such as access, network, and firewall settings.

Use the appliance shell.

You can use TTY1 to log in to the console or can use SSH and run configuration, monitoring, and troubleshooting commands in the vCenter Server Appliance.

Use the Direct Console User Interface.

You can use TTY2 to log in to the vCenter Server Appliance Direct Console User Interface to change the password of the root user, configure the network settings, or enable access to the Bash shell or SSH.

Starting with vSphere 6.5, the vCenter Server Appliance supports high availability. For information about configuring vCenter Server Appliance in a vCenter High Availability cluster, see vSphere Availability.

Starting with vSphere 6.5, the vCenter Server Appliance and Platform Services Controller appliance support file-based backup and restore. For information about backing up and restoring, see vSphere Installation and Setup.