vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 – A Fresh Install

The VMware vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) is a security hardened SUSE Enterprise 11 operating system baked with the vCenter server function. With vSphere 6.0 the appliance now has the same mins/max as the Windows installed version. This makes it very appealing to move over to the appliance!

vCenter 6 Appliance vs Windows

Before You Start:

  • Pick a host and ensure it has a standard switch with a vmnic uplink. Because Distributed Switches is a vCenter function it wants to perform the upgrade on a standard switch.
  • The installation media is a .ISO instead of a .OVA. You will need to burn it to a disc, extract it, or mount it.
  • If you want to upgrade your environment instead of fresh deployment, check out my posts Upgrading Windows based vCenter 5.x to 6 and vCenter Server Appliance Upgrade from 5.x to 6.0

PluralSight:

PluralSight has amazing video courses on VMware vSphere. If you haven’t checked out PluralSight it’s an amazing service! Highly recommended!

Installation:

The VCSA is no longer a .OVA but instead a .ISO image so burn/extract/mount it on your computer. First we need to install the VMware Client Integration 6.0 Plugin. In the vcsa folder there is the executable named VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0.exe.  The installation is simple, once installed proceed to the next step:

Install the VMware Client Integration Plugin 6

Now the plugin is installed, open the vcsa-setup.html in the root of the ISO. This will launch the vCSA installer splash screen:

1 vCSA Upgrade - Mount the ISO

Click Install:

1 vCenter Server Application - Splash Screen

Accept the EULA and click Next:

2 vCSA Install - License Agreement

Enter the FQDN or IP address and root credentials of the ESXi host for the VCSA to be deployed on. Click Next:

VCSA 6 - Connect to ESXi host

Enter the name that you want to call your appliance and set a root account password. Click Next:

4 vCSA Install - Name the appliance

For a small environment/lab, you will want to stay with the embedded platform services controller. If you are in a large environment that has multiple vCenters you may want to separate vCenter from the platform services controller. If you want to read more about separating them read about it in the VMware vCenter Server 6.0 Deployment Guide. Click Next:

5 vCSA Install - Platform Services Controller

If you have a SSO domain already enter the information below. Otherwise create a new SSO domain. Click Next:

Note: Do not use the same Active Directory domain name as your SSO domain. You will have major issues!

6 vCSA Install - Set SSO information

Here you can pick how much resources your vCSA will get.

Tiny: 2 vCPU , 8 GB memory , 120 GB disk space

Small: 4 vCPU , 16 GB memory , 150 GB disk space

Medium: 8 vCPU , 24 GB memory , 300 GB disk space

Large: 16 vCPU , 32 GB memory , 450 GB disk space

Pick your appliance size and click Next:

7 vCSA Install - Appliance Size

Pick a datastore to deploy the appliance to, click Next:

8 vCSA Install - Select Datastore

The vCSA supports using a external Oracle database. I want to continue using the embedded Postgres database. Click Next:

9 vCSA Install - Configure Database

Select the standard switch network you want to use, enter the IP address, FQDN, subnet mask, gateway, and DNS server. Check the box if you want to enable SSH (you can enable this later if you don’t check it now).  Click Next:

10-1 vCSA Install - Network Settings 10-2 vCSA Install - Network Settings

Look over the summary page. If everything looks correct click Finish:

11 vCSA Install - Ready to Complete

Once the VM is created you can monitor the console while it works. Nothing really happened but was neat comparing the console progress bar with the installation.

12 vCSA Install - Can monitor progression

And it’s finished! Click Close:

13 vCSA Install - Installation Complete

VCSA is ready for configuration!

Configuring the VCSA to use Active Directory:

Below is how to configure the VCSA to use Active Directory users and groups. First access the VCSA web client via https://FQDN or IP ADDRESS/vsphere-client/

Log in using the administrator SSO domain you configured above and password.

1 VCSA 6 - Login

On the home page click System Configuration

2 VCSA 6 - System Configuration

Click Nodes -> Your Node Name (LABVC01.virtuallyBoring.com) -> Manage -> Active Directory -> Join

3 VCSA 6 - Join to Active Directory

Enter your domain name and a user name/password that has at least SystemConfiguration.Administrators domain permissions

(More information about this step can be found here in the vSphere 6.0 Documentation: https://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-60/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.vmware.vsphere.vcsa.doc%2FGUID-08EA2F92-78A7-4EFF-880E-2B63ACC962F3.html?src=vmw_so_vex_sbori_1079)

4 VCSA 6 - Join AD Creds

Once you click OK and do not see an error, reboot your VCSA. It will not give you a success message.

To reboot right click your node name and click Reboot

5 VCSA 6 - Reboot

Once reboot log back into the web client. On the left menu click Administration. Now in Active Directory you should see your domain showing up with the Leave button enabled.

7 VCSA 6 - Successfully joined to domain

Now the VCSA is talking to the domain we need to configure it as a Identity Source. Click Home then on the left menu click Administration

6 VCSA 6 - Administration Menu

Click Configuration -> Identity Sources -> then the green + sign

8 VCSA 6 - SSO IdentitySource

Since we are configured the VCSA for Active Directory use the first option Active Directory (Integrated Windows Authentication)

Enter your domain name

Select Use Machine Account then click Ok

(More information about this step can be found here in the vSphere 6.0 Documentation:https://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-60/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.vmware.vsphere.security.doc%2FGUID-B23B1360-8838-4FF2-B074-71643C4CB040.html?src=vmw_so_vex_sbori_1079)

9 VCSA 6 - Add Identity Source

Select your domain in the list and click Set as Default Domain

10 VCSA 6 - Set as Default Domain

(Default) will show up beside your domain. If your domain isn’t selected as the default I have had issues with the “Use Windows Session Credentials” option.

11 VCSA 6 - New default domain

Now that we have the Identity Source configured we are ready to assign permissions to a domain user.

On the left menu click Global Permissions -> Manage -> click the green + sign

12 VCSA 6 - Global Permissions

Click the Add button

13 VCSA 6 - Global Permissions - Add

Change the drop down menu to your domain, you can search or browse for users and groups, select them then click Add. Once finished click Ok

14 VCSA 6 - Global Permissions - Select Users and Groups

On the drop down menu select which role you want to assign the users/groups. Click Ok when finished.

15 VCSA 6 - Global Permissions - Finish

You now have a fresh install of the VCSA and configured it to use Active Directory users and groups for permissions.

If you did not deploy the latest version check out my post on Upgrading to Update 2!

Additional Resources:

VMware vCenter Server 6.0 Deployment Guide: https://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/10453

11 thoughts on “vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 – A Fresh Install

  1. I’ trying to install vCSA 6 on windows 7 VM running on MBP via fusion. I’ve given the VM, 120G HDD, 10G RAM, 2 vCPUs but yet it still complains about “Not enough memory on host for the selected profile (Tiny)”.. MBP is running with 16GB RAM with 512G Flash storage, quad core i7 CPUs.. any advice is appreciated

  2. Increase the ESX host to 8GB of RAM and the vCenter 6.0u1 will install. Seems anything less than that will give you the error. You can lower the memory after the vCenter is built

  3. Thanks for this great article. I did manage to successfully deployed the VCSA onto my vm host. However, I can’t seems to access it or ping its address (static). When log in through the console, I saw that the gateway was not set, but I can’t seems to set it. Running vami_config_net through the shell to set the gate throws me a “No module named libxml2mod” not found error, even though I’ve verified that its installed.

    Any suggestion of what went wrong? I used the latest ISO downloaded from vmware. Can’t find any solution on google as well and I’m at a lost now. Anyone can help?

    Thanks!!!

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