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Deploying a new vCenter 6 with VCSA

Firstly let me apologise for not posting much recently, my work has been quite hectic and therefore my blog has had to miss out.  I have a number of items to post up and hopefully over the next few days, I’ll start to get these up.

This post is about how to deploy a new vCenter v6 VCSA (vCenter Server Appliance) and follows my experience of deploying out the appliance with a separate Platform Services Controller recently.

Deploying the VCSA Platform Services Controller

The first part of the vCenter Server appliance deployment is the Platform Services Controller.  This uses the same ISO file as required for deploying the VCSA but the deployment type is selected part way through the wizard.  This step should be performed before installing the VCSA as the VCSA links directly into the Platform Services Controller for SSO etc.

  • Make a new account in Active Directory for the appliance before the deployment (if required) and also enter a DNS entry for the appliance.
  • Make sure that you have downloaded the latest VCSA appliance ISO from the VMware site, the version used in this document is VCSA v6 Update 1. (ISO name:  VMware-VCSA-all-6.0.0-3040890.iso)
  • Mount the ISO to the machine that you will use to deploy the appliance – my recommendation is to mount this to a machine already in one of the data centres to speed up the deployment.
  • Once the ISO is mounted, browse to the drive and run the ‘vcsa-setup.html’ file, you should see a screen similar to below:

iso

  • Click the ‘Install’ button and you will begin the wizard that will start a new installation, you will see a screen similar to below:

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  • Click the ‘I accept the terms of the license agreement’ box and then click ‘Next’
  • You are now asked to connect to the target ESXi host or vCenter server where the appliance can be deployed, in the example below we connected to our older vCenter server to perform the deployment:

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  • Click ‘Next’ to continue through the wizard.
  • You will be asked to confirm the certificate warning that appears, click ‘Yes’ to continue

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  • The screen will now show you a list of the data centres and folders on the vCenter you have selected to allow you to select the relevant folder to place the vCenter appliance, once you have selected a relevant folder click ‘Next’:

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  • You will now be asked to select the resource pool and host to deploy the appliance out to, select the relevant one and then click ‘Next’:

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  • The next stage is to enter a name for the appliance, this is the name that will appear on the ESXi host or in vCenter and does not need to be the name of the appliance in AD – for example we have added a description to the appliance name to make it more recognisable. You will also be asked to enter a password for the root account of the appliance, this should be at least 8 characters long and include upper case, lower case and special symbols.  Click ‘Next’ once complete.

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  • You are now asked to select which deployment type you would like to perform. There are basically two types available, the ‘Embedded Platform Services Controller’ which will install the vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller in a single appliance (which is ideal for smaller environments) or the ‘External Platform Services Controller’ which allows for a separate Platform Services Controller to be deployed and have one or more external vCenter Servers connect to it.

PLEASE NOTE:  You cannot switch from an embedded platform services controller to an external platform services controller or in reverse once the system has been deployed – you will need to redeploy both components again.  For this installation we will be using the ‘External Platform Services Controller’ and for this part of the deployment we need to select the ‘Install Platform Services Controller’ option and then click ‘Next’

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  • The next stage is to either create or join an SSO domain on an existing vCenter 6 platform services controller. For this deployment it is our first platform services deployment and therefore we will select ‘Create a new SSO domain’, you should enter and confirm a password to be used for the SSO (this uses the same complexity rules as earlier).  You should also enter an SSO Domain name, our advice is to use ‘parker.local’ domain name and then enter an SSO site name, in this case we have decided upon UK.  Once this information is entered, click ‘Next’ to continue

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  • You are now asked to select the appliance size, for the Platform Services Controller this is a standard size and therefore you can click ‘Next’ to continue

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  • You will now be asked to select the datastore that you wish the appliance to be deployed to, select the appliance and then click ‘Next’. To assist with the performance of the appliance, we have decided to not tick the ‘Enable Thin Disk Mode’ option

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  • The final stage of the deployment is to choose the network and enter the network settings, including the network address, name, subnet mask, network gateway, DNS and NTP – click ‘Next’ to continue.

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  • You will now be shown a summary of the settings that will be applied as part of the deployment, click ‘Finish’ to kick off the deployment.

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Deploying the vCenter Server Appliance

With the Platform Services Controller deployed, then the vCenter Server Appliance can be deployed.  The process is very similar to the Platform Services Controller and therefore we will start the instructions from the point that they differ from above.

  • The deployment of the vCenter Server Appliance differs at the point of selecting to either install the Platform Services Controller or to install the vCenter Server, on this occasion select the ‘Install vCenter Server (Requires External Platform Services Controller)’ option as shown below and then click ‘Next’

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  • You are now asked to connect the vCenter Server appliance to an existing SSO domain which requires you to enter the FQDN of the Platform Services Controller deployed earlier along with the password for the Platform Services Controller, click ‘Next’

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  • You should now select the appliance size that will be required, on our installation we chose to install a ‘Medium’ appliance size that allows the vCenter server to support up to 400 hosts and 4,000 virtual machines… this requires 8 vCPUs and 24GB of memory along with 300GB of disk space… once done click ‘Next’

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  • Select the option to ‘Use an embedded database (PostgreSQL)’ and then click ‘Next’

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  • You should now enter the network information in the same way as you did for the Platform Service Controller deployment and then click ‘Next’
  • You will now be shown a summary at which point you can click ‘Finish’ to perform the deployment.

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