This post provides a walkthrough for installing the latest iteration of vCenter Server 7.0; bringing cloud-native workloads to the data centre with embedded Kubernetes and Tanzu on VMware Cloud Foundation. The vCenter Server installation bundle comes as an ISO file mountable on a Windows, Linux, or Mac device. The installer must be run from a machine with network connectivity to the ESXi host or vCenter Server where the new appliance will be deployed. The target host or vCenter must be running vSphere version 6.5 or later.
Several design decisions have been removed in vSphere 7 as component topology and lifecycle management have been drastically simplified. The external Platform Services Controller (PSC) deployment model available in versions 6.0 and 6.5 has been removed, only the embedded option is offered in vSphere 7. Furthermore, running vCenter Server on Windows has finally been deprecated, and all deployments must now use the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA). A migration path from Windows vCenter Servers 6.5 and 6.7 to VCSA 7.0 is available.
- vCenter Server 7.0 can only be deployed to, and manage, ESXi hosts v6.5 or later. There is no direct upgrade path for hosts running ESXi v5.5 or 6.0 to v7.0.
- You must check the compatibility of any third party products and plugins that might be used for backups, anti-virus, monitoring, etc. as these may need upgrading for vSphere 7.0 compatibility.
- To check version compatibility with other VMware products, see the VMware Product Interoperability Matrices.
- In addition to software, you should also check the hardware in use is compatible with vSphere 7 using the VMware Compatibility Guide.
- The vCenter Server appliance requires the following compute specifications, this includes vSphere Lifecycle Manager running as a service on the appliance:
- Tiny (up to 10 hosts, 100 VMs) – 2 CPUs, 12 GB RAM
- Small (up to 100 hosts, 1000 VMs) – 4 CPUs, 19 GB RAM
- Medium (up to 400 hosts, 4000 VMs) – 8 CPUs, 28 GB RAM
- Large (up to 1000 hosts, 10,000 VMs) – 16 CPUs, 37 GB RAM
- X-Large (up to 2000 hosts, 35,000 VMs) – 24 CPUs, 56 GB RAM
- Storage resources for the smallest environment start at 415 GB and increase based on database requirements, see Storage Requirements for the vCenter Server Appliance.
- The ESXi host on which you deploy the VCSA should not be in lockdown or maintenance mode.
- All vSphere components should be configured to use an NTP server. The installation can fail or the vCenter Server Appliance vpxd service may not be able to start if the clocks are synchronized.
- FQDN resolution should be in place when deploying vCenter Server.
- A list of Required Ports for vCenter Server can be found here.
- The configuration maximums for vSphere 7.0 can be found here.
The vCenter Server 7 installation is practically identical to its predecessors’ versions 6.5 and 6.7. Download the VMware vCenter Server Appliance 7.0 ISO from VMware Downloads: v7.0.0 B. Mount the ISO on your computer and browse to the corresponding directory for your operating system, in my case \vcsa-ui-installer\win32. Right-click Installer and select Run as administrator. As we are installing a new instance, click Install.
The installation is split into 2 stages, we begin with deploying the appliance. Note that the External PSC deployment is no longer available. Click Next.
Accept the license agreement and click Next.
Enter the FQDN or IP address of the host, or vCenter Server target to deploy the new VCSA. Enter the credentials of an administrative or root user and click Next. The installer will validate access. If you are prompted with an untrusted SSL certificate message click Yes to continue. Tip – connect to a vCenter for visibility of any networks using a distributed switch, connecting to the host direct will only pull back networks using a standard switch.
Enter the VM name for the VCSA and a root password, click Next.
Select the deployment size in line with the number of hosts and virtual machines that will be managed, click Next.
Select the datastore where the VCSA will be deployed, select thin provisioning if required, and click Next. Configure the network settings for the appliance and click Next.
On the summary page, click Finish. The appliance will now be deployed.
With the VCSA now deployed we can move on to stage 2, click Continue. If like me you added the DNS entry without leaving sufficient time for the client to pick it up, then you can still initiate the setup once the FQDN is resolving from a web browser at HTTPS:\\VCENTERFQDN:5480
Click Next to begin the VCSA setup.
Configure the NTP servers, enable SSH access if required, and click Next. Enter a unique SSO domain name, the default is vsphere.local. The SSO domain name should not be the same as your Active Directory Domain. Configure a password for the SSO administrator, click Next.
Select or deselect the customer experience improvement program box and click Next.
Review the details on the summary page and click Finish. Click Ok to acknowledge that the VCSA setup cannot be paused or stopped once started. When the installer is complete click Close to close the wizard.
Connect to the vCenter post install using the IP or FQDN of the vCenter. Access vSphere by clicking either Launch vSphere Client (HTML5), the Flash (FLEX) vSphere web client is no longer provided.
You must apply a new vCenter license key within 60 days. Log in to the vSphere Web Client using the SSO administrator login. An orange banner is displayed that will link you directly to the licenses page; alternatively, you can select Administration from the Menu drop-down, and click Licenses.
If you have an Active Directory domain, then vCenter can use this as an identity source, configurable in the Administration page under Single Sign On and Configuration.