If you have followed my other blog posts so far you should have a Nested ESXI installation comprising of 3 x ESXi hosts. Now we need to implement a vCenter server. vCenter is the administration/orchestrator for the ESXI hosts.
We will need a Domain Controller VM. Whilst I won’t go into detail how to do this, there are many other blog posts on this:
My recommendation would be to put it on the same storage as the ESXI server VM’s (see highlighted VM in red below).
Once completed you should have the following VMs configured:
If you are using a Mac for the vCenter deployment you will need to follow my other blog post article to temporarily turn off Gatekeeper, which prevents unverified apps from running. You can find that post here.
If you are using Catalina or above you may need to follow this VMware KB: https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/79416#:~:text=Register-,%22ovftool%20cannot%20be%20opened%20because%20the%20developer%20cannot%20be%20verified,using%20VCSA%20UI%20Installer%20(79416)&text=This%20is%20due%20to%20a,non%20notarized%20apps%20from%20running.
You will also need a VMware vCenter license. I would recommend looking at the VMware Advantage program (see my post here) or the vExpert program to get a license.
You first need to download the vCenter installer. Open a browser and go to https://customerconnect.vmware.com.
Once logged in you need to click on Downloads
Select All Products, find VMware vSphere and click View Download Components
Select the correct version that you require (in my case 7.0)
Find the version that you want (in my case Enterprise Plus), find vCenter and click Go To Downloads
Under VMware vCenter Server Appliance, click Download Now
Tick the box to agree to the terms and then click Accept.
Your ISO file should start downloading.
Deploying vCenter via the UI Installer
Once downloaded, mount the iso and you should find a folder called UI Installer
Open thisfolder and you’ll find the relevant folders for the OS that you are using to deploy from (In my case Mac)
Run the Installer app
If prompted click Open
Once the installer opens, clicks Install
On the initial installer screen click Next
Click the checkbox to the agreement and click Next
Enter the name\IP of your vCenter server and the root credentials you want to use. When ready click Next
You will be prompted regarding the certificate for your ESXi server. Click Yes.
Enter a name for your vCenter server and set\confirm the password for it. Click Next
Select Tiny as the size for your vCenter and click Next
Select the storage for your vCenter server and select the check box for enabling thin disk mode. Click Next
Enter the network details for your vCenter server and click Next
Review the details for your vCenter deployment and click Finish
Your vCenter deployment should start.
Once completed you should get a dialog box to advise so. Click Continue
You will then be taken to the stage 2 screen. Click Next
Set the Time synchronization mode to Synchronise time with the ESXi host and set SSH access to Enabled or Disabled (personal choice, can be enabled\disabled later if required)
Add a new Single Sign-On domain as vsphere.local and add an administrator account password. Once completed, click Next
Untick the checkbox to take part in the CEIP (Customer Experience Improvement Program) and click Next
Double check your details and click Finish
Click OK to the warning (just advises that you need to not interrupt the installer)
The installer will then install
Once completed you should see the below confirmation screen, click the link to connect to your vCenter server or click Close (noting the address before you close)
If you are prompted to access the site select the relevant option to allow access
Click Launch vSphere client (HTML5)
Enter the login details you created during the setup and click Login
You should hopefully get a screen similar to below. (Note: I enabled the dark theme which I prefer (under Administrator@vsphere.local drop down))
Click Configure, Licensing and then Assign License
Click New License
Enter your vCenter license key, give it a name and click OK
You should then see the license in your vCenter console
Your vCenter server is now deployed. Next time we’ll look at configuring the datacenter and adding the ESXi hosts.
One last point that’s worth noting, is that vCenter can take a while (circa 10 mins) to fire up completely to the stage where you can login. Bear this in mind if you shutdown\startup your Home lab.