vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) 6.5 Deployment Guide

Hi everyone,
In the world of virtualization using VMWare products, especially on-premises, the management software used is called vCenter. This comes in 2 flavours, vCenter for Windows and the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA). Lately VMWare is concentrating on the vCSA version and is dropping the version for Windows because the vCSA (based on Project Photon OS) provides more stability and scalability, and has been especially packaged and optimized for vCenter use.

This guide will shortly detail the deployment process. To install vCSA (vCenter Server Appliance), you will go through 2 stages.

First stage is the main installation stage:

1) download appropriate version of vCSA from https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/details?productId=614&downloadGroup=VC650
2) Mount the ISO on a Windows Computer and start the vcsa-ui-installer\win32\installer.exe. Once that is started, if this is the initial deployment, click on Install

Select Install

3) skip the introduction page and accept the EULA
4) Select the Embedded Platform Service Controller or External Platform Service Controller. The Embedded version will install the vCenter and PSC in one box, for simplified management – it’s the best option to use in a simple lab environment.
More details here https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.7/com.vmware.psc.doc/GUID-ACCD2814-0F0A-4786-96C0-8C9BB57A4616.html

Select the Deployment Type

5) on the next page ensure you enter the FQDN or the IP of the target host (or vCenter, see info button), enter the HTTPS port used (default 443) and the username and password to be used for deployment. For the purpose of lab setup if you get a certificate thumbprint warning message, click yes to continue, and wait for the validation process to finish
6) On the Setup Appliance VM page, enter the VM Name (the name that will be displayed on the host – do not mix up with the DNS name in an Active Directory deployment), and the root password. Make sure you use a secure password.

Set up Appliance VM settings

7) on the Deployment Size page, select your deployment size following the guidelines for resources in the lower part, and storage size used for SEAT (stats, events, alarms, tasks). For lab usage, defaults will be fine.

Select Deployment Size

8) On the next page, select the datastore that will host the vCSA virtual appliance. Be mindful that the installer requires enough disk space to thick provision the vCSA VM.

Select Datastore

9) On the network settings page, enter the required Network configuration details, like FQDN Name, IP, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway and DNS Servers

Network configuration for vCSA

10) On the last page, confirm all the details you have selected, and when done, press Finish.
If you do have access to the host, you will see the installation tasks running.

Tasks running on host during vCSA deployment

You can also monitor the installation if you open the console of the VM.

Deployment of vCSA in VM Console

At the end of the first stage, our installer wizard should show as per the below image.

Succesfully finished Stage 1 of the deployment

Now we will get to Stage 2 which is the configuration stage of the installation
1) On the introduction page click next
2) On the Appliance configuration page, select the desired Time Synchronization Mode and the SSH access

Appliance configuration

3) on the SSO configuration select the desired SSO domain name, username, password and Site Name

SSO Configuration

4) On the CEIP page select if you want to join the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP)
5) On the completion page, confirm the details of your setup, and click Finish
At the end of the configuration stage, the installer wizard should show as below.

Sucesfully finished the stage 2 of the deployment

To access the VMWare vSphere Appliance Management page, use the https://IP_of_VCSA:5480 address (5480 is the default port used for Appliance Management) and enter your credentials used at stage 1, step 6 above.

VMWare vSphere Appliance Management

To acess the vCenter itself, type in your browser https://IP_of_VCSA/ and select the desired client type (WebClient or HTML5-based) then enter your your credentials set at the SSO Config page in the installer (stage 2, step 3 above).

vSphere Web Client
vSphere HTML5 Client
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