ESXI 5.5: How to install the vCenter Appliance on an existing Host

If you just have ESXi 5.5 installed and you manage it with the vSphere client, you might want to install vCenter, which has some benefits (vSphere Web Client, get ESX alert emails and many others). Be aware that while ESXi 5.5 is free, the vCenter has a license cost. Also, make sure that the vCenter you install is always a newer or the same version than the ESXi you have.

You can either install the vCenter to run on an existing Windows Server or you can just import a virtual appliance (based on Linux). In this post, I describe the import of the virtual appliance.

  1. Download the vCenter .ova file from the myvmware.com page (you must create an account and apply for a 60 day evaluation). The file name is, for example: VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance-5.5.0.30400-3730881_OVF10.ova
  2. Start the vSphere Client and choose File > Deploy OVF Template
  3. Browse to the .ova file you just downloaded and click Next
  4. Leave all the defaults and click Finish at the end. The VM will now be deployed (this can taka a while).
  5. Start the new VM (it is called "VMWare vCenter Server Appliance" by default).
  6. Open a console to the VM.
  7. First you have to login to the Unix shell. Use
    User name: root
    Password: vmware
  8. To change the IP address, type
    /opt/vmware/share/vami/vami_config_net
  9. Once networking is setup, you can do the further configuration via web browser:
    https://192.168.1.2:5480
    (of course, you must take the IP address you have just configured)
  10. Login to the web page with the same credentials as under point 7.
  11. Configure vServer via web page (leave the defaults for most of the things).
  12. Once completed, use the vSphere Client and connect it to your vCenter IP address (not the ESX host directly anymore).
  13. You are now guided through the data center setup.
  14. That's it.

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