Step-by-Step Guide – vCenter Appliance 5.5 Installation

Overview

VMware vCenter Server is a centralized management application for your vSphere environment. vCenter Server lets you manage multiple ESXi Hosts and Virtual Machines centrally. vCenter Server (dependent on licensing) unlocks a range of enterprise features for scalability, availability and management e.g. vMotion, High Availability, Fault Tolerance, Update Manager, Distributed Resource Manager, Storage Clusters etc. In this guide we will look at the steps for a successful vCenter 5.5 installation.

Contents

  1. Download the vCenter appliance 5.5 .from VMware
  2. Import .ova into VMware Workstation or VMware Fusion
  3. Configure – Hostname, IP Address, Gateway, DNS on Virtual Appliance
  4. Access – vCenter appliance 5.5 configuration page using google chrome
  5. Configure – vCenter appliance using the First Time Set-up Wizard
  6. Test Installation – Access vCenter using the C# Windows vSphere Client
  7. Test Installation – Access vCenter using the vSphere Web Client
  8. Test Installation – Access vCenter Single Sign On (SSO) using the vSphere Web Client

Prerequisites

Minimum System requirements for vCenter Appliance 5.5;

  • Processor – Intel or AMD x64 processor with two or more logical cores, each with a speed of 2GHz
  • Memory – 4GB Minimum
  • Disk Storage – 7GB at least
  • Network – 1Gbps Recommended

Key Configuration Information

  • Hostname – vcenter.vmlab.local
  • IP Address – 10.0.0.10
  • Subnet Mast – 255.0.0.0
  • Default Gateway – 10.0.0.2
  • DNS 1 – 10.0.0.5
  • DNS 2 – 8.8.8.8

1. Download the vCenter Appliance 5.5 from VMware

Step 1 – Go to vmware.com and navigate to the section where you can trial vSphere 5.5 or use this link > Register for a trial account > Login

Download the vCenter appliance 5.5 .from VMware - Register

Step 2 – Once logged in > Scroll to the download section > Download the VMware vCenter Server 5.x Appliance – OVA File.

Download the vCenter appliance 5.5 .from VMware - OVA DL

 2. Import .ova into VMware Workstation or VMware Fusion

Step 1 – Open VMware Workstation or Fusion > Click on File > Click on Open

Import .ova into VMware Workstation or VMware Fusion - Start Import

Step 2 – Navigate to downloaded VMware vCenter Appliance Image > Click OK > Confirm where you want the imported virtual machine to reside on disk > Click Import to commence the import > Wait for completion

Import .ova into VMware Workstation or VMware Fusion - Import Wizard

Import .ova into VMware Workstation or VMware Fusion - Import In Process

3. Configure – Hostname, IP Address, Gateway, DNS on Virtual Appliance

Step 1 – Power on the deployed virtual machine

Configure – Hostname. IP Address, Gateway, DNS on Virtual Appliance - Start VM

Step 2 – Log in to the appliance with the default vCenter Appliance credentials username – root / password – vmware. Select Login and press enter > login with the default credentials.

Configure – Hostname. IP Address, Gateway, DNS on Virtual Appliance - Select Login

Step 3 – Once logged in, type following network configuration command “/opt/vmware/share/vami/vami_config_net” and hit enter.

Configure – Hostname. IP Address, Gateway, DNS on Virtual Appliance - Run Network Script

Step 4 – Select Option 2 – Default Gateway (Ensure Num Lock is ok) > Choose Interface 0 > Type IPv4 lab default gateway – 10.0.0.2 > Hit Enter, and leave the IPv6 address blank > Wait for configuration to complete

Configure – Hostname. IP Address, Gateway, DNS on Virtual Appliance - Config Gateway

Step 5 – Select Option 3 – Hostname > Type the New Host Name – vcenter.vmlab.local > Hit Enter > Wait for configuration to complete

Configure – Hostname. IP Address, Gateway, DNS on Virtual Appliance - Config Hostname

Step 6 – Select Option 4 – DNS > Type the lab DNS1 server – 10.0.0.5 > Hit Enter > Type a public DNS2 server – 8.8.8.8 (not mandatory) > Hit Enter > Wait for configuration to complete

Configure – Hostname. IP Address, Gateway, DNS on Virtual Appliance - Config DNS

Step 7 – Select Option 6 – IP Address > Select no (N) on the IPv6 configuration prompt > Select yes (Y) on the IPv4 configuration prompt > Select no (N) on the use DHCP instead of a static IPv4 configuration prompt > Type the lab vcenter IP address – 10.0.0.10 > Type the lab subnet mask 255.0.0.0 > Select yes (Y) on the Is this Correct Prompt > Hit Enter > Wait for configuration to complete

Configure – Hostname. IP Address, Gateway, DNS on Virtual Appliance - Config IP Address

Step 8 – Select Option 1 – Exit this Program > Select this option to complete the initial set-up > Type exit at the prompt > Hit Enter to go back to the default Blue appliance configuration screen

Configure – Hostname. IP Address, Gateway, DNS on Virtual Appliance - Exit

Step 9 – Restart the appliance, and configure the time zone if required on the blue console screen. Notice that vCenter appliance configuration page IP address has not been changed.

Configure – Hostname. IP Address, Gateway, DNS on Virtual Appliance - Success

4. Access – vCenter Appliance 5.5 configuration page using google chrome

The vCenter Appliance 5.5 has not been successfully deployed. The next stage is to access the built in appliance configuration menu. The configuration menu comes in the form of a webpage which can be accessed on port :5480.

Step 1 – Open a web browser (recommended google chrome) > Navigate to the web address – https://10.0.0.10:5480 > (Ignore the security warning for your lab).

Access – vCenter appliance 5.5 configuration page using google chrome - Login Page

Step 2 – Login with the default vCenter Appliance credentials – username – root / password – vmware

Access – vCenter appliance 5.5 configuration page using google chrome - Login Credentials

5. Configure – vCenter Appliance 5.5 using the first time set-up wizard

The vCenter appliance comes with its own configuration page on port :5480, this is excellent feature of the appliance and allows quick and easy vCenter deployments in lab / SME environments. The vCenter Appliance 5.5 first time setup wizard should appear as seen below. If the wizard does not appear, it can be launched manually as well from the home screen of the appliance once logged in.

Step 1 – Accept Licence agreement on the first time setup wizard.

Configure - vCenter Appliance 5.5 using the first time set-up wizard - EULA

Step 2 – Select > Configure with default settings > Click Next

Configure - vCenter Appliance 5.5 using the first time set-up wizard - Config

Step 3 – Click Start (The default settings option will populate the DB, SSO, Active Directory and Time Synchronizations settings with the defaults)

Configure - vCenter Appliance 5.5 using the first time set-up wizard - Config Default

Step 4 – Success, it will take a few moments, and your vCenter Appliance is now ready to manage and configure your vSphere environment.

Configure - vCenter Appliance 5.5 using the first time set-up wizard - Complete

Step 5 – Log out of the vCenter Appliance 5.5 management page

Configure - vCenter Appliance 5.5 using the first time set-up wizard - Logout

6. Test Installation – Access vCenter using the c# Windows vSphere Client 

Now that we have a fully functional vCenter, we need to test access to it. We will firstly test this using the traditional, soon to be legacy (as VMware transitions all users to the feature rich Web Client) C# Windows vSphere Client Application. In this part we will only test access to the vCenter, using this windows based application.

Step 1 – Download VMware vSphere Client 5.5 from the VMware website. You can use the same credentials you used to access the vCenter Server Appliance trial.

Test Installation - Access vCenter using the c# Windows vSphere Client - Download

Step 2 – Once downloaded, install the vSphere C# Client onto a workstation. We are using a basic Windows 7 Installation here.

Test Installation - Access vCenter using the c# Windows vSphere Client - Install A

Step 3 – Accept all defaults and click install, and wait for the installation to complete.

Test Installation - Access vCenter using the c# Windows vSphere Client - Install B

Step 4 – Click Finish, to quit the installer > Click on the desktop shortcut to launch the application.

Test Installation - Access vCenter using the c# Windows vSphere Client - Install C

Step 5 – Login to your vCenter > Type the configured vCenter Appliance IP address (10.0.0.10), or use the hostname (vcenter.vmlab.local) > Type the hostname in this case, and the default credentials for the vCenter Appliance > The default username is “root” and the password is “vmware”.

Test Installation - Access vCenter using the c# Windows vSphere Client - Login

Step 5 – Success! You have now logged into the vCenter Appliance 5.5 and tested that access works using the vSphere C# Windows Client

Test Installation - Access vCenter using the c# Windows vSphere Client - Success

7. Test Installation – Access vCenter using the vSphere web client

The VMware vSphere Web Client will eventually replace the traditional C# Client. The Web Client is feature rich, and Vmware have deliberately started to incorporate the ability to configure new vSphere features into the vSphere Web Client only. If you still use the C# client I recommend that you start to get familiar with the Web Client.

The good news is that the Web Client in the vCenter Appliance works straight out the box, with no additional configuration aside from the initial set-up we did earlier in section 4.

Step 1 – Access the VMware vSphere Web Client. Point your browser to the hostname or IP address of your Web Client which runs on port :9443 over HTTPS. In our case point your web browser (chrome) to – https://vcenter .vmlab.local:9443 or https://10.0.0.10:9443 > Accept the security warning.

Test Installation - Access vCenter using the web client - Login A

Step 2 – Login with the default credentials for the vCenter Appliance > The default username is “root” and the password is “vmware”.

Test Installation - Access vCenter using the web client - Login B

Step 3 – Success! You have now logged into the vCenter Appliance 5.5 and tested that access works using the vSphere Web Client.

Test Installation - Access vCenter using the web client - Success

7. Test Installation – Access vCenter Single Sign On using the web client (Optional)

Single Sign On (SSO) is a new feature introduced in vSphere 5.1. With the introduction of SSO, it means that you no longer logon directly to the vCenter, but instead with a security domain which you define in your vSphere environment. When you login to a product within vSphere, your request is passed to the SSO server which you can configure with multiple identity sources like Active Directory. Once you are successfully authenticated by SSO, your username and password is exchanged for a security token which then allows you to access vSphere components e.g vCenter Server, vCloud Director, vCenter Orchestrator etc. I will cover SSO in greater detail, in a later blog post. SSO therefore now an important and mandatory authentication broker to VMware products.

Although optional at this stage, it is important to touch on how to access the SSO configuration page within the vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 using the vSphere Web Client. You will notice that the SSO configuration section is not visible using the credentials “root” and “vmware” we used in section 6 and 7 earlier.

Step 1 – Access the VMware vSphere Web Client. Point your browser to the hostname or IP address of your Web Client which runs on port :9443 over HTTPS. In our case point your web browser (chrome) to – https://vcenter .vmlab.local:9443 or https://10.0.0.10:9443Accept the security warning.

Test Installation - Access vCenter Single Sign On using the web client - Login A

Step 2 – Login with the default SSO credentials for the vCenter Appliance > The default username is “administrator@vsphere.local” and the password is “vmware”.

Test Installation - Access vCenter Single Sign On using the web client - Login B

Step 3 – Success! You have now logged into the vCenter Appliance 5.5 – SSO configuration section and tested that access works using the vSphere Web Client. Notice when you click on Administration, you see an additional option to configure and manage SSO. This option did not exist under the credentials “root” and “vmware” used to access vCenter Server.

Test Installation - Access vCenter Single Sign On using the web client - Access

Test Installation - Access vCenter Single Sign On using the web client - Success

Your Lab is now successfully configured with vCenter 5.5. The third part in this series looks at the installation of your two ESXi 5.5 Hosts.

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