If you missed any of the previous parts of the series or want go back here is the jump list:


VMware vCenter Server is "THE" management system for your VMware vSphere private cloud.
It's used to manage your clusters of ESXi servers, configure HA, DRS and vMotion, manage your virtual networks and their interfaces to the physical network.
Its also used to provison storage (maybe even integrated with your SAN) and create virtual machines, including templates and other wonderful things.
So whats the requirements for VMware vCenter server?!... Well firstly it CAN be either virtual or physical and its supported on either.
Also note that a 64-Bit DSN is required to access the vCenter database.
Minimum requirements for the vCenter Server 5.5/5.5 U1 are as follows:
Two 64-bit CPUs or one 64-bit dual-core processor (2.0 GHz or faster)
4GB RAM - If only vCenter Server installed on this server.
10GB RAM - If vCenter Server, vCenter Single Sign-On, and vCenter Inventory Service are installed on the same server.
Note: Also add 2GB RAM if your running SQL Server express or SQL installed locally on this server.
Disk storage:
4GB - If only vCenter Server installed on this server.
60 to 100GB - If vCenter Server, vCenter Single Sign-On, and vCenter Inventory Service are installed on the same server.
Note: Disk requirements may be higher if your database runs on the same machine.
Operating System:
  • Windows Server 2008 SP2 64-bit (Standard, Enterprise or Datacenter)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (Standard, Enterprise or Datacenter)
  • Windows Server 2012 (Standard, Enterprise or Datacenter)
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 (Standard, Enterprise or Datacenter) - supported if you are installing vCenter 5.5 U1 (not 5.5)
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Express (Note: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express is intended for use with small deployments of up to 5 hosts and/or 50 virtual machines)
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 SP4 32-bit
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 SP4 64-bit
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 SP3 32-bit
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 SP3 64-bit
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 32-bit
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 64-bit
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1 32-bit
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1 64-bit
  • Plus other Oracle and IBM DB2 databases (see matrixes)
For detailed OS and Database information please refer to the Host OS section of the VMware vSphere Compatibility Matrix and the VMware Product Interoperability Matrixes.
The following is used in this walkthrough installation of vCenter Server 5.5:
Windows Server 2012 Standard
SQL Server 2012 SP1 64-bit (full SQL Server install on local vCenter server)
First up we need to install SQL Server 2012 (or you could skip this and use SQL Express 2008 R2 which will be installed for you as part of the vCenter install)
I'm going to start here assuming you have installed SQL Server 2012, but if not here will show you how: SQL Server 2012 Install Step by Step
1. Open SQL Server management studio
2. Expand security and create a new login
3. Give the SQL user a username/password and choose SQL authentication. Untick enforce password policy.
4. Under Server Roles for the user make sure only public is ticked. Click Ok to create the user.
5. Create a new database for your vCenter Server.
Give it a name.
Set the initial size to something like 200 MB.
6. Set the recovery model to simple to save the log growing to large.
7. Go back to your SQL user you created and set their default database to the vCenter database.
8. Under user mapping set them as dbo of the vCenter database you created. Click Ok.
9. On the vCenter server create a 64-bit system DSN.
Note: Ensure you have installed the SQL native client on the vCenter server if you are using a remote SQL server
10. Start the vCenter installer once again and choose "vCenter Server"
11. The vCenter Server installer will start, Click Next.
12. Enter your license (if you don't it will run in a 60 full eval). Click Next.

13. If deploying a small scale deployment (5 hosts and upto 50 VMs) you can choose to use SQL Server 2008 Express (which is actually 2008 R2)!.

If using an full SQL server installation (either local or remote) like we are here, ensure you created a 64-bit DSN, choose to use an existing database and select your DSN.

Click Next.


14. Enter the credentials for your ODBC connection

15. Choose to run the vCenter service under the "SYSTEM" account or recommended user-specified account.

This can be a standard active directory account with local administrator rights on the vCenter server.

The account will be grated "Log on as a service" right on the server.

Click Next.


16. As this will be the first vCenter installation choose "Create a standalone VMware vCenter Server Instance".

You would create linked mode vCenter servers if you have muliple vCenter servers, most likley if you were deploying a vCenter at two different datacenters for use with Site Recovery Manager.

Click Next.


17. Verify the ports to use for vCenter server, change if required (I recommend keeping the defaults unless you have a very specific reason).

Click Next. 

18. Select your deployment inventory size to correctly size the JVM memory for vCenter server web services.

19. Enter your vCenter Single Sign On administrator credentials (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to register the vCenter Server with vCenter SSO.

Also enter the lookup service URL (e.g. https://vcenter1.vmadmin.co.uk:7444/lookupservice/sdk)

20. Accept the SSO lookup certificate by clicking Yes
21. Register the Administrators user group with vCenter Single Sign On (make sure the user group box is ticked). This way anyone that is a local administrator on this server can manage vCenter (inc domain admins).
22. Ensure the correct vCenter Inventory Service address is entered. Here we are installing this on the same server as vCenter server.

E.g. https://vcenter1.vmadmin.local:10443

23. Change your installation location if required. Click Next
24. Click Install and get yourself a coffee!

25. The installation of vCenter server will complete, Click Finish.

Next up is to install the vSphere Web Client (instead of the vSphere Client) so we can connect to and manage our vCenter Server.

Next up part 5 vSphere Web Client Install



Share this blog post on social media:

Social Links


All advice, installation/configuration how to guides, troubleshooting and other information on this website are provided as-is with no warranty or guarantee. Whilst the information provided is correct to the best of my knowledge, I am not reponsible for any issues that may arise using this information, and you do so at your own risk. As always before performing anything; check, double check, test and always ensure you have a backup.

Copyright ©2008-2021 Andy Barnes - Please do not copy any content including images without prior consent!

Designed and Hosted by Andy Barnes