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.
For those wanting to find out the new features specifically in vSphere and vCenter server 5 please see here.

So whats the requirements for VMware vCenter server?!… Well firstly it CAN be either virtual or physical and its supported on either.
The O/S since vCenter 4.x must be 64-bit, this has changed from earlier releases such as vCenter 2.5 which could be 32-bit.
Also note that a 64-Bit DSN is required to access the vCenter database.
Minimum requirements for the vCenter Server are as follows:
 
Processor: Two 64-bit CPUs Intel or AMD x64 2.0GHz or faster (could be one dual core – the key is two logical processors at a minimum)
Memory: 4GB RAM
RAM requirements may be higher if your database runs on the same machine. (VMware VirtualCenter Management WebServices requires 128Mb to 1.5GB of memory which is allocated at startup)
Disk storage: 5GB (Disk requirements may be higher if your database runs on the same machine)
Networking: 1GB recommended (If physical team NICs for redundancy)
Database: SQL Express for small deployments (5 hosts/50 VMs) or see below for supported databases.
Note: If you will be running SQL Server on the same server as vCenter server (thats either express or standard/enterprise) the requirements for the above will be higher.
Operating System:
Windows Server 2008 (64-bit)
Windows Server 2008 R2
Database:
Microsoft SQL server Database Support:
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 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 Standard edition (SP3) 64 bit
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise edition (SP3) 64 bit
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition 64 bit
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition 64 bit
Oracle Database Support:
Oracle 10g Standard edition (Release 2 [10.2.0.4])
Oracle 10g Enterprise edition (Release 2 [10.2.0.4])
Oracle 10g Enterprise edition (Release 2 [10.2.0.4]) 64 bit
Oracle 11g Standard edition
Oracle 11g Enterprise edition
(For detailed OS and Database information please refer to the VMware vSphere Compatibility Matrix)
The following is used in this walkthrough installation of vCenter Server 5:
Windows Server 2008 Standard R2 64-Bit
SQL Server 2008 R2 Express

 

 

 

 

1. Insert DVD or unzip “VMware-VIMSetup-all-5-xxxxxx.zip”

If it does not autorun, use “autorun.exe” in the root of the cd or folder. Click “vCenter Server” to start the installation

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 2. Read the the intro page and click Next.

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 3. Read the patent agreement and click Next.

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4. Read the license agreement, accept and click Next.

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 5. Enter your customer info, username, organisation and license (optional). Click Next.

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6. If deploying a small scale deployment (5 hosts and upto 50 VMs) you can choose to use SQL Server 2008 Express.

If using an full SQL server installation (either local or remote), create a 64-bit DSN and choose to use an existing database.

Click Next.

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7. 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.

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8. Verify or change the installation destination folder(s).

Click Next.

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9. 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.

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10. 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.

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11. Verify the ports to use for the inventory service and change if required.

Click Next.

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

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13. Click Install to begin the installation.

Optionally, if this is a vCenter server for a large deployment that may power on over 2000 VMs at once (such as VMware View), Tick the box to increase the number of ephemeral ports available on the server.

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 14. vCenter server will install (make a cup of coffee).

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

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