Install VCSA in Nested vSphere Hosts

In an earlier post I showed you how to install VMware vSphere 7 in KVMs on Centos 8. In this post we will install the vCenter virtual appliance. Its the same procedure as a standalone servers aside from making sure your VMs have enough memory and have at least 500G for vCenter made available. In my case I am using an iSCSI Lun of 500G that I made available to my two vSphere VMs.

I am using the Mac UI version because its more intuitive than the CLI version I think. The Windows version is the same so you can still follow along.

Installing VCSA

  1. Download the version of VCSA that you want to install. Make sure it matches the vSphere version.
    1. VSCA 7.01 Download
    2. Locate the installer and mount it
  1. Go to the vcsa-ui-installer/mac directory or win32 if you have Windows. Linux is also available.
    1. double click on installer
  1. You will get a screen like this
  1. Click on install then Next
  2. Accept terms and that will bring you to the first setup screen. Enter the information for the target ESXi VM and Click Next
  1. You will get a certificate warning accept it. You will find yourself at the vCenter setup screen. Enter the name you want to call it or use the default and whatever password you want to use and click Next.
  1. Next you need to determine the size it’s going to be. Since vSphere is running in a virtual environment we will keep on the tiny side. Just make sure you have the datastore attached for vSphere if you don’t it will fail.
  1. Next you will get to the Select datastore screen here you will see right away if you have the necessary storage. I used thin to conserve space. If not allocate it and start over.
  1. Next is the Network settings for vCenter. After you enter all the info Click Next

Eventually you will get to Stage 2 at that point you will continue to configure vCenter.

VMware-vCenter-Server-7-setup_stage-2

Stage 2

Once stage 1 of vCenter 7 installation is finished, you have to pass stage 2 to finish the installation process.

  1. Hit Next to start stage 2 of vCenter Server setup.
VMware-vCenter-Server-7-setup_stage-2
  1. vCenter Server configuration. Select time synchronization settings and enable SSH access.
    1. Time synchronization mode: Synchronize with the ESXi host
    2. SSH access: Enabled
Stage-2-of-VMware-vCenter-setup_vCenter-Server-configuration
  1. SSO configuration. Select the Create a new SSO domain option.
    1. Single Sign-On domain name: vsphere.local
    2. Single Sign-On user name: administrator
    3. Single Sign-On password: Enter a password and confirm the password
SSO-configuration-for-VMware-vCenter-7
  1. Configure CEIP. Deselect the checkbox if you don’t want to send your statistics information to VMware and go to the next step.
VMware-vCenter-7-setup_configuring-CEIP
  1. Click Next you should see this if the configuration took in Stage 1. If not you will need to add you network configuration in as static. I enabled ssh since I often use CLI commands.
  1. Click Next again you should see what was configured. In my case I am not using an SSO but if you are this will be different.
  1. Ok time to finish up and don’t interrupt.
Do-not-terminate-the-vCenter-7-installation-process
VMware-vCenter-7-setup-is-in-progress_services-on-this-vCenter-Server-are-starting

VMware vCenter Server Appliance should start automatically after deployment has finished. If for any reason vCenter does not start automatically, connect to the ESXi host where vCenter virtual appliance (VCSA) is residing and start the VM manually in VMware Host Client.

Verifying everything works?

  1. Check to see if you can get to the VMware vCenter Server Management console with root/<password> : https://vsphere.lab:5480
  1. Check to see if you can login into the vCenter Client: https://vsphere.lab
    1. User = administrator@vsphere.lab
    2. Password = Whatever you assigned for SSO

Note: If you used a name on not just an IP for vCenter than it will redirect to that name. So if you enter https://10.20.20.175 it will redirect to https://vsphere.lab, for example. SO make sure you have DNS setup other wise it will fail to login.

That’s it now you can add your hosts, storage, setup HS, DRS, etc…

Troubleshooting

Common Errors

Here a some errors you may come across and the solutions that worked for me. Keep in mind this is 7.01.

Unable to get to Stage 2

I wasn’t able to get to Stage 2, sorry forgot to get a screen shot. What it turned out to be was my DNS entry for vsphere.local did not have a reverse lookup. Once I added this then it was fine. Make sure you have the correct DNS server in the configuration and it resolves forward and reverse.

Unable to save IP settings

If for some reason you couldn’t use “continue with existing settings” probably because of a mishap in Stage 1? Then you will add them as static and may get this message. If you do there is a simple fix, an odd one yes but it works. See below:

When configuring Stage 2 I received an error at the end “Unable to Save IP settings” I was able to get past this with Marcus’s recommendation below. Yes, as odd as it may seem this did work:

https://communities.vmware.com/t5/vCenter-Server-Discussions/VCSA-install-Unable-to-save-IP-settings/m-p/2811689/highlight/true#M90999

No healthy upstream

NTP?

If you search for this error the most common fix was related to NTP. Unfortunately that was not my problem as my NTP was configured properly using “https://tf.nist.gov/tf-cgi/servers.cgi&#8221; servers. I did have issues with saving NTP config see next error for that solution.

OS Type and Compatibility?

What my issue was is when I installed the Appliance it still used the old Guest OS Type: Other 64bit Linux. Also it has ESXi 5.5 Compatibility set. Once I changed the compatibility to ESXi 7.0 U1 I then was given the ability to change the Guest OS Type to: VMware Photon OS. Once that was done the error went away. See below an example of where to find these options for the vCenter Guest.

Manual network config instead of DHCP?

I also ran into a problem with this where it finished install and all services were running but it still got this error. In this case I manually added in the IP configuration rather than DHCP. When I reinstalled as DHCP it worked fine, obviously you shouldn’t have to do this. If you do some digging you will find this is pretty common.

NTP wont save or start on ESXi 7 host…WTF!

If you have difficulty trying to get the NTP config to take and you are at 7.01 then use IPs on ESXi host rather than hostname. vCenter works fine with a hostname but ESXi did not might get fixed later in a a patch?

  1. Go to Host -> Manage -> System -> Time & Date
  2. Change to “Use NTP”
    1. Start and Stop on Host
    2. Add IPs separated by commas # If you use a hostname it will complete but wont save it so use IPs.
  1. Clicking on Actions to start service did not work as of 7.01. So do this instead:
  1. On same page go to “Services”
    1. Find “ntpd”
    2. right click on it from your mouse and start

That’s it, pain in the ass, but it works.

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