Getting started with vCenter Server Appliance 6

#en, #server, #vmware edit this page

So I’ve done some work with VMware in the past and even got certified on vSphere 4, but then I changed jobs and ended up working, almost exclusively, with Microsoft software. That included a little bit of Hyper-V but mostly I worked “higher up” in the stack, with applications like Exchange and Lync, that is. As I changed jobs again and find myself focusing on Datacenter technologies now, I decided it was time to reactivate some VMware skills and get to know the latest version.

I deployed a vCenter Server Appliance in a new environment the other day, and thought it might be a good starting point.


You may have heard that VMware want’s to ditch the good ol’ vSphere client and switch to a Web Client kind of a thing, this has been going on for a while, but in every release they are getting more serious about it. New features almost always come “web only”. Unfortunately they decided to make this a flash-based client, yeah, it’s almost as bad as java, but that’s another story.

So get yourself a machine with a web browser and install/enable the flash plugin. I had troubles with Safari, Chrome and IE11 so I ended up using Firefox (think about that for a sec…). 

Download the VCSA from, it comes as an ISO image that you will have to mount on your management machine. The idea is, basically, to use a website to deploy an OVF template to one of your vSphere hosts.


Inside the ISO you’ll find the Web Client Plugin, which is required to deploy the OVF template, it’s located at: \vcsa\VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0.exe

Once the Client Plugin has been installed, open the \vcsa-setup.html file and follow the wizard.

Most steps are straightforward, first select the target ESXi host and configure the VM name and a password for the root account.

Then select how the Platform Services Controller is deployed. As far a I know, this is a new role in vCenter 6, which controls Licensing, SSO and Certificates. I selected to deploy an embedded PSC.


The next step is to configure Single Sign-On. In my case I created a new SSO domain, as this was the first vCenter Server in the environment. Remember the “SSO Domain name” you use, it will be required to log on later. The SSO domain name must be different than the Active Directory domain name. 

Note: Make sure to check documentation when upgrading an existing vCenter, as the SSO configuration has changed quite a bit.

Select an appliance size and which datastore to use for the VCSA appliance.

Finally you can configure network settings. When entering a FQDN for the vCenter appliance, make sure it is already configured in DNS and the VCSA can reach the DNS server you specify. Deployment will fail if DNS doesn’t check out. As I had no NTP Server handy, I selected to synchronise the VCSA’s time with the ESXi host. And no, I would not recommend this.

Now after the deployment of the OVF finishes, we should be able to logon to the vSphere Web Client using a browser, or to the classic vSphere Client installed on Windows. Make sure to logon using the administrator@ssodomain account, you wont be able to do much configuration as root!

Stay tuned for more :)