After Installing ESXi you can deploy the vCenter Server appliance. Download the vCenter Server installer ISO file from MyVMware and mount it to a networked virtual machine or physical desktop/server from which you want to perform the deployment.

The machine from which you deploy the appliance must run on a Windows, Linux, or Mac operating system that meets the operating system requirements. See System Requirements for the vCenter Server Installer.


  • Time – Make sure everything is using the same NTP source and time is correct
  • DNS – make sure you can ping all the ESX hosts by FQDN
  • IPs – Have a document that tracks the IPs being used as a reference
  • Certificates – If you are using a local CA for certs, have all the certificates, roots, keys, and PFX passwords
  • Ports & Protocols – Verify all the necessary ports are open using

Step 1: Mount the ISO

Once you have downloaded the ISO (and verified the checksum) you will need to mount the ISO to your machine.

ISO mounting software that does not allow more than eight directory levels, for example, MagicISO Maker on Windows, is unsupported.

For Linux OS and Mac OS, Archive Manager is unsupported.

Due to a security change in MacOS Catalina, you must modify the security settings on your computer until the vCenter Server deployment completes. If you attempt to run the installer under MacOS Catalina without modifying the security settings, the vCenter Server installer reports the error: ovftool cannot be opened because the developer cannot be verified. For more information, see KB 79416.

Step 2:

Navigate to the vcsa-ui-installer folder and then into the folder for the OS you are installing from [lin64 \ mac \ win32] and run Installer. You should see the following window:

Step 3: Install VCSA (Stage 1)

Note: VMware no longer uses and External Platform Services Controller (PSC)- making installation a bit easier.

  • Select Deploy vCenter Server and click NEXT
  • Accept the End user license agreement and click NEXT

Enter the information for HOST that you are installing VCSA on.

  • Enter the IP or FQDN
  • Keep the HTTPS port as 443
  • Enter the Username
  • Enter the Password
  • Click NEXT

  • Accept the Certificate Warning by clicking Yes

Enter the HOSTNAME and ROOT PASSWORD for your VCSA and click NEXT

Password Requirement

  • At least eight characters
  • At least one lowercase character
  • At least one numeric character
  • At least one special character

Note: You may experience issues if your password starts with a special character.

Select Deployment Size

  • Select the size of your deployment
    (For my lab I use “Tiny”)
  • Click NEXT

Select where you want to install your VCSA. If you using vSAN, you can configure it during the VCSA install and will be covered in another post.

  • Select the Datastore that will store the vCenter appliance
  • Select Enable Thin Disk Mode to save space
  • Select NEXT

Enter the Network Settings for the VCSA

  • Fill in all the fields with the information from your environment
  • Click NEXT

Verify your information

  • If correct, click Finish

Once the install is complete you will be prompted to move on to Stage 2 of the VCSA deployment.

Click Continue

Step 4: Configure VCSA (Stage 2)

After clicking Continue you will be brought back to the vCenter Install page where you will select Stage 2

Note: If the installer did not return you to this page you my have DNS issues.

Click NEXT

vCenter Server Configuration

  • Decide where the server will get time. Best practice is to use a centralized NTP source. For this example I am using a NIST NTP Server.
  • Leave SSH disabled (STIG)
  • Click NEXT

Note: You can enable SSH as needed through the Management Console

SSO Configuration

If this is a new SSO Domain (first vCenter)

  • Enter an SSO Domain Name [vsphere.local]
  • Enter the Administrator Password
  • Confirm the Administrator Password

If this VCSA will be joining an existing VCSA, select Join Existing SSO Domain and complete the information about the current environment.

Click NEXT

Join or Decline VMware’s Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP)

Note: DoD install must decline CEIP

Verify the information

If correct Click FINISH

Click OK to the Warning

When the install completes successfully you should see this message.


Note: If you failed to get this screen- check DNS, Time, and Network Connectivity.

Step 5: Login to vCenter

Navigate to the VCSA in a Browser

Open a browser and navigate to https://Your_VCSA_FQDN

You should see this screen.


Enter the administrator credentials

  • Login with administrator@vsphere.local [or the administrator@your_SSO_Domain]
  • Enter the Administrator Password
  • Click LOGIN

Great Success!

You should see the following screen.