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Installing vCenter 8.0.2 - Step by step

Updated: Feb 10

Pre-requisites

This guide runs through the install of the VCSA version of vCenter 8.0.2 using the standard GUI installer method. Note that the ISO must be mounted on a workstation, in order to deploy the vCenter appliance. You cannot create a VM and boot it from the vCenter ISO, as you would typically do with a Linux or Windows ISO.


The importance of DNS - I can't stress enough the importance of DNS for VMware in a production environment, and this carries through into a homelab if this is where you are following this guide. In my first 2 Homelab iterations, i build an Ubuntu Server and configured BIND to manage DNS. Not only does it teach you a lot about DNS, but its very easy to setup and there are plenty of guides to help you. On my 3rd iteration, I decided to use my existing Synology NAS as a DNS server for my Homelab. The advantage of this is that it is external to my lab environment, and it isn't dependant on my lab environment to run. A worthwhilimprovement!


Another thing to be aware of, a Tiny deployment in vCenter 7 only required 12GB RAM, but in vCenter 8, that requirement has increased to a minimum of 14GB. Something to be aware of if running this in a Homelab environment!


Download vCenter ISO

The first thing you will need is the vCenter 8 ISO. You can download this from your VMware Portal on a 60 day evaluation license (even if you're existing licences are for earlier versions), but in my case i used my VMUG Advantage subscription which gives me access to VMware products with license keys as i am doing this in my homelab. The ISO provided by my VMUG subscription is shown below:


Filename: VMware-VCSA-all-8.0.2-22617221.iso


The build number 22617221 corresponds to vCenter Server 8.0 Update 2a. You can cross reference vCenter builds and versions here → Build numbers and versions of VMware vCenter Server


Install vCenter

Mount the ISO

Navigate to D:\vcsa-ui-installer\win32 and dpuble click installer.exe

Select Install

Note the message about the External Platform Services Controller being deprecated.

Click Next

Tick the box to accept the EULA, click Next

Enter the details of the ESXi host on which vCenter will be deployed. Click Next

Click Yes to accept the certificate warning



Specify the unqualifed hostname and the root password for the vCenter appliance.

Click Next


Select Deployment Size: Accept the defaults on the deployment size screen (unless you need to change them)

Click Next


Select Datastore: As you can see in my homelab, i have a couple of Synology datastores configured. This is obviously in an established lab. If you're setting up vCenter for the first time in a homelab, probably your best option is to add a second virtual disk to your nested ESXi host, rescan the adapters, then create a local datastore using the additional disk. This will provide you with a target for vCenter deployment.


Continuing on my my lab, I have selected one of my existing Synology datastores for my deployment. As this is a lab environment, i have also selected Thin Disk mode. Click Next


Configure the network settings as appropriate for your environment. Click Next


Review the settings that will be applied, then click Finish


Install - Stage 1 begins...


After a few moments, deployment of the appliance begins...


If you check recent tasks for your ESXi host, you should see vCenter being deployed!


Powering on vCenter


Preparing to install RPMs


Preparing Storage


Installing RPMs


Interestingly you can see VMware Update Manager being installed below, although this feature is now called Lifecycle Manager since vSphere 7! I guess they didn't rename the package :-)


97%


Installing Containers (which strangely went from 97% to 92% progress)


99% complete.....



Stage 1 Completed. click Continue


The Stage 2 setup wizard launches. Click Next



Set Time Synchronization Mode to either the local host or an external NTP source. Typically you would an external NTP source in production, so this is what i have used here. Configure SSH Access as rquired. I have enabled SSH as this is for my lab environment. Click Next


Configure your SSO domain settings. Here i opt to create a new SSO domain, and have configured the default SSO domain name "vsphere.local" and set a lab password. Click Next


Configure CEIP (Customer Experience Improvement Program) as required.

I like to leave this enabled, for improved analytics feedback to VMware. Click Next


Review Settings and click Finish


Review the warning message and click Ok








Wizard begins Stage 2 - VMware appliance configuration


The installer begins starting services....


Services progressing


Starting VMware vCenter Server......


Starting the vSphere Client Service


Yawwn, i need a faster machine lol .....



Nearly there


Installation Finished. Review the text then click Close.


We can now access new installed vCenter's landing page


We're now at the vCenter 8 login screen, lets log in


.....and finally, here is the vCenter 8 homepage after logging in


Troubleshooting


If you experience problems during the installation moving from Stage 1 to Stage 2, this is almost always a DNS problem. Make sure you have DNS (and associated records) configured correctly for both the ESXi Target host and the vCenter you are deploying. You may need to run some nslookup tests to diagnose any issues.


And thats how to install vCenter 8! Give me a thumbs up if you found this guide useful!

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