My last article showed you how to install ESXi 6.7 and now I would like to show you how to install the vCenter Server Appliance onto your spanking new host. The VCSA is what you use to manage your vSphere environment as you will more than likely have more than one host setup in a cluster. The VCSA is what allows you to do this and is an integral part of vSphere. In this guide we will be deploying the VCSA to a very sparse ESXi host. Hopefully, in your environment you have more to work with than what I do at home. So let's get started.
What I like about the VCSA install is that it can be done via a management server or workstation. I am using my home workstation which run my VMware Workstation 14 lab environment. Once you download the VCSA install ISO from VMware, go ahead and mount it and navigate to the following folder: M:\vcsa-ui-installer\win32. This folder is if your management workstation is Windows based. Inside that folder you will see the installer.exe.
Go ahead and double-click that installer.exe and you should be presented with this:
Since this is a brand new install, click on Install.
Not much to see here so just click the Next button
In this guide I am deploying the Embedded Platform Services Controller. By all means you can setup the External PSC if you'd like but you are on your own. Click Next.
Here you will enter in the FQDN of your ESXi host where you want the VCSA to reside. You also must provide the root account information. Click Next.
You will receive a certificate warning about the untrusted SSL certificate on your host so go ahead and just click Yes to accept the risk.
Now you need to provide your VCSA with a hostname and a root password. Once you are done with that click on Next.
Here you will select the deployment size. Of course this is based on your requirements. For the purpose of this guide, the Tiny option will suit me just fine. Once you have made your decision click Next.
Now you will need to choose a datastore where your VCSA will live. My host only has a local datastore so I chose that. In the real world you may have a SAN or some other shared storage setup where this will reside. Click Next to continue.
So now you need to choose which network the VCSA will use for communication. I only have the default VM Network so I went with that. In the real world you may have already setup your networks so choose the necessary network and start providing the IP address information it is requesting. Once that is all taken care of you can click on Next.
Stage 1 is now ready to begin the installation and all you need to do now is click Finish and go get some coffee or use the restroom as this will take some time to complete.
It is like watching the grass grown or paint drying.
Alright, almost done, we hit 80%. Don't fool yourself, the last 20% can take a while to complete.
Several cups of coffee and a bathroom break later, Stage 1 is finally complete so click Continue to begin Stage 2.
As with Stage 1, the first screen of Stage 2 isn't much to look at and nothing to do but click Next.
You have a choice to make here. Either synchronize the VCSA time with the ESXi host or with actual NTP servers. I personally like using NTP so that is what I did. Make your decision and then click Next.
Uh oh, a big scary warning. Not much to worry about here so click OK.
Here you will need to create your Single Sign-On domain and passwords. I stuck with the tried and true vsphere.local but you can do whatever you wish. Click Next once you are done.
Figure out whether or not you want to send information to VMware and click Next.
To kick off Stage 2 all you need to do is click Finish.
Now a scary warning but it is ok so click OK.
Go take a break or whatever you do when you are installing stuff that takes a really, really long time.
After an eternity it is finally done. Click the Close button.
After I clicked close my browser opened up to the VCSA homepage. This one looks much different than the 6.5 version. I prefer the HTML5 interface over the Flash interface so I clicked that button but you can do as you like.
Enter is your SSO details and login.
You should arrive at a familiar looking interface and can now begin configuring your environment.
For those who tried the 6.5 version's HTML5 interface will be happy to know that 6.7 HTML5 is more complete. 6.5 had a lot of features missing that forced you to use the awful Flash version but that issue seems to be gone now. I haven't checked everything and I am not sure if the HTML5 client is 100% but it is way more useful than it used to be.
That concludes this guide and I hope you found it useful.