vSphere 5 vCenter Server Virtual Appliance Quick-Start Guide

The vCenter Server Linux Virtual Appliance (vCSA) is a preconfigured Linux-based virtual machine that is optimized for running vCenter Server and associated services.

vCenter Server Virtual Appliance provides all features as the Windows vCenter Server but does not support the following features:

  • Microsoft SQL as the database for vCenter – requires stable ODBC driver for Linux that can scale.
  • vCenter Server Linked Mode – requires ADAM.
  • vCenter Server Heartbeat – requires Windows.
  • IPv6.
  • Single sign-on using Windows session credentials.
  • VMware View Composer (Linked Clones) – installed on Windows vCenter Server only.
  • vSphere Storage Appliance – VSA Manager & VSA Cluster Server installed on Windows vCenter Server.
  • VIX Plugin for vCenter Orchestrator – VMware Tools API only works with Windows vCenter Server.

Other VMware products that work with the vCSA:

  • vCenter Operations.
  • vCenter Orchestrator.
  • vCenter CapacityIQ.
  • SRM5.
  • Auto Deploy.
  • vCenter Update Manager.
  • vMA.
  • vSphere Client.
  • vSphere Web Client.

The following table lists the required files that you will need, gather these files before proceeding.

Watch the 10-minute installation video (Optimized for iPad)




Deploy the vCenter Server Linux Virtual Appliance

  • Launch your vSphere Client and navigate to File | Deploy OVF Template.
  • Browse to the location of the vCenter Appliance .ovf file, then click on Open.
  • On the following screen click on Next.
  • Then click on Next again on the OVF Template Details page.
  • Under Name and Location, give your vCenter Appliance a name then click Next.
  • Choose a datastore then click Next.
  • Select a disk format on the next page then click on Next to continue.
  • Click on Finish to start deploying.

Configuring the vCenter Server Linux Virtual Appliance

  • Boot the appliance.
  • Open a vSphere Client console session to the virtual appliance and configure the network and timezone.
  • Now open up a browser and type https://<ip_of_appliance&gt;:5480 to continue the configuration.
  • Accept the certificate error to continue.
  • Login as root, the default password is vmware.

  • Now read through the entire EULA and click on Accept EULA to continue. Please be patient while the vCenter is configured (this takes a few minutes). If you look at the appliance remote console you’ll see the services being configured and started.

  • You can start using the web interface again once the console screen returns to default.

  • Next click on Status, and view the current status of the vCenter Server. The service should be on a Stopped state and the Database Type should show not configured.
  • Click on the tab, you will notice that there are no DNS Servers configured and the appliance’s hostname is the standard localhost.localdom, lets change this.
  • The best way to change the Network settings is to go to the console of the vCenter server and select configure network. Walk through changing the IP address, DNS servers, and the Hostname for the appliance.

  • Log back into the interface using the IP address which you just configured. https://<ip_of_appliance&gt;:5480 Setup authentication by clicking on and then on either NIS or Active Directory. My ‘thevbox.info’ lab environment uses AD.
  • Click on the tick box and then fill in your domain details and then click on Save Settings. You should receive an Operation is successful message to confirm that the authentication settings has worked.

  • We now need to configure a database for vCenter to use, for this article, let’s use the embedded DB2 database. Click on to continue.
  • When using the embedded database, there is no need to enter any details, just click on . This will take several minutes to complete, once done click on . After what seems to be too long, the database will complete configuration, you should receive an Operation is successful message to confirm.

  • Set the time zone by clicking on and then . Select your time zone and then click

  • Now reboot the virtual appliance one last time. To reboot click on and then click on . Click Reboot again to confirm.
  • This time the vCenter Appliance will successfully start the vpxd daemon and initialize the database, eventually vCenter 5.0 will be ready for you to use.

Connecting to vCenter 5.0 for the first time

With all VMware vSphere Clients, when you start the vSphere Client and connect to either a vCenter Server or an ESX/ESXi host, it will check whether the vSphere Client is compatible. This is still the case with vSphere 5.0 and you will need to update your vSphere Client if you haven’t already done so. You can update by connecting to vCenter Server or ESX/ESXi or you can download the vSphere Client executable from the VMware Downloads website.

  1. Launch the vSphere Client and connect to your newly configured vCenter Server.
  2. You must use root | vmware to login, domain credentials will not work until the permissions are added to vCenter.

  1. Update the vSphere Client as necessary.
  2. Add an AD group into vCenter permissions and set the role as Administrator. [See video].
  3. Now you will be able to log in with domain credentials.
  4. You will need to enter your username in DOMAIN\Username or username@DOMAIN format.

The little things…

  • To make sure that you can continue to use host customization files, use the following KB Article combined with WinSCP. Connect to the virtual appliance using WinSCP and navigate to the /etc/vmware-vpx/sysprep and place the appropriate sysprep files in their proper folders.

  • More to come….

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