Building an advanced lab using VMware vRealize Automation – Part 6: Deploy and configure the vCenter Server Appliance

20150630 - vRAIn part 5 of this series we created a Windows 2012 R2 Domain Controller to provide our authentication services for the environment.

In this part, we deploy the VMware vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) 5.5. This will serve as the backbone to our infrastructure, as well as the endpoint for the majority of our VMware vRealize Automation deployments. Later in the series, we will configure other endpoints such as VMware’s vCloud Air or AWS.

Other posts in this series

  1. Intro
  2. Physical infrastructure – storage
  3. Physical infrastructure – networking
  4. Physical infrastructure – compute
  5. Authentication services
  6. Deploy and configure the vCenter Server Appliance
  7. Configure vCenter Server Appliance SSL certificates
  8. Deploy and configure the vRA Appliance
  9. Deploy and configure the IaaS platform
  10. Configure tenants
  11. Configure endpoint & fabric/business groups
  12. Configure blueprints (coming soon)
  13. Configure entitlements (coming soon)
  14. Configure policies (coming soon)
  15. Integration with vCloud Air (coming soon)
  16. Tidy up (coming soon)

Deploy the vCenter Server Appliance

Download the vCSA from VMware.  Select the .ova file and save it locally.

Open the vSphere Client and connect to ESXi1.

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Click File, Deploy OVF template…

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Click Browse…

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Select the OVA and click Open

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Click Next >

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Give the VM a name and click Next >

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Click Next >

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Select the disk format and click Next >

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Click Finish

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When the VM has deployed, power it on and go to the console.  In the following example, the appliance has obtained an address from DHCP.

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If it doesn’t, you need to set one manually.  Login using root and vmware.  Run:


From the main menu, set the hostname, IP address, gateway and DNS servers:

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Exit and restart the appliance:


On the domain controller, create a DNS entry for the appliance:

dnscmd . /RecordAdd vcsa A

Open a web browser and connect to  Login using root and vmware.

Accept the EULA and then cancel out of the wizard.  Click on the Network tab and verify the hostname is set in full:

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Click on the System tab and click Reboot.

When the appliance comes back up, login again and click the Network tab.  Verify again that the hostname is set in full.

Download William Lam‘s script from GitHub and save it locally as

Open it in Notepad++ and modify it to suit your environment.  I have used:

# User Configurations

# SSO Administrator password (administrator@vsphere.local)

# Join Active Directory (following 5 variables required)

# Enable NTP

# VCSA expected Inventory Size (small, medium or large) - Details

# Enable VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program

Fire-up a command line and use PuTTY to upload the script to your vCSA:


Copy the script over:


SSH to the vCSA:


Apply the executable permission:

chmod +x

Run the script:


Once the script completes, reboot the appliance.

When the appliance has rebooted logon to  https://vCSA-IP-address:9443/vsphere-client:

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Logon using administrator@vsphere.local and the password you set in the script above:

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Click Administration, Users and Groups, Groups and then click Administrators:

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Click the Add member icon:

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Change the domain to your production domain:

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Select your admin users, click Add and then OK.

Create the following PowerCLI script build_cluster.ps1 (modify variables accordingly to suit your environment):

# Author:	@virtualhobbit
# Website:
# Ref:

# Variables

$vc = ""
$credential = Get-Credential
$vcsaRootPW = "VMware1!"
$admins = "MDB-LAB\VMware Administrators"
$datacenter = "London"
$cluster = "London_Lab"
$esxi_array = @("", "")
$username = "root"
$rootPW = "VMware1!"
$dvSwitch = "vDS"
$uplinkPorts = "8"
$vdsVersion = "5.5.0"
$pg_array = @("Management","vMotion","FT","iSCSI_1","iSCSI_2","NFS","London Management VMs")
$vmknic_array = @("Management","vMotion","FT","London Management VMs")
$vmknicPortsList = 1..2 | ForEach {"dvUplink$_"}
$vmknicPortsUnused = 3..8 | ForEach {"dvUplink$_"}
$iscsi1 = "iSCSI_1"
$iscsi1PortsList = "dvUplink3"
$iscsi1PortsUnused = 1..2 + 4..8 | ForEach {"dvUplink$_"}
$iscsi2 = "iSCSI_2"
$iscsi2PortsList = "dvUplink4"
$iscsi2PortsUnused = 1..3 + 5..8 | ForEach {"dvUplink$_"}
$nfs = "NFS"
$nfs_uplink = "dvUplink5"
$nfsPortsUnused = 1..4 + 6..8 | ForEach {"dvUplink$_"}
$managementPG = "Management"
$esxi1 = ""
$dc = ""
$vms_array = @($dc, $vc)
$vss = "vSwitch0"
$vmPG = "VM Network"
$dvVmPG = "London Management VMs"
$vMotion = "vMotion"
$sm = ""
$ft = "FT"
$iscsi1IP = ""
$iscsi2IP = ""
$dsCluster = "iSCSI"
$dsCluster_array = @("iSCSI_LUN1","iSCSI_LUN2")
$tempDS = "TEMP-datastore"
$nfsPath = "/NFS"
$nas = ""
$heartbeatDS_array = @("iSCSI_LUN1","NFS")
$isolationAddress = ""
$dc = ""

# ----------------------------- Do not modify below this line -----------------------------

# Connect to vCenter
Connect-VIServer -Server $vc -Credential $credential

# Set the vCSA root account password
# Set-VMHostAccount -UserAccount root -password $vcsaRootPW

# Grant admins in the production domain the Admin role on vCenter
New-VIPermission -Role Admin -Principal $admins -Entity Datacenters

# Create a new datacenter
$location = Get-Folder -NoRecursion
New-Datacenter -Location $location -Name $datacenter

# Create a new cluster
New-Cluster -Location $datacenter -Name $cluster -DRSEnabled -DRSMode FullyAutomated -HAEnabled

# Configure licensing for vCenter
$si = Get-View ServiceInstance
$LicManView=Get-View $LicManRef
$license = New-Object VMware.Vim.LicenseManagerLicenseInfo
$license.LicenseKey = $vcLicenseKey
$vcLicName = "vCenter Server 5 Standard"
$servInst = Get-View ServiceInstance
$licMgr = Get-View $servInst.Content.licenseManager
$licAssignMgr = Get-View $licMgr.licenseAssignmentManager
$vcUuid = $servInst.Content.About.InstanceUuid
$vcDisplayName = $servInst.Content.About.Name
$vcLicKey = ($licMgr.Licenses | where {$_.Name -eq $vcLicName}).LicenseKey
$licInfo = $licAssignMgr.UpdateAssignedLicense($vcUuid, $vcLicKey,$vcDisplayName)

# Configure licensing for ESXi hosts
$licenseDataManager = Get-LicenseDataManager
$hostContainer = Get-Datacenter -Name $datacenter
$licenseData = New-Object VMware.VimAutomation.License.Types.LicenseData
$licenseKeyEntry = New-Object Vmware.VimAutomation.License.Types.LicenseKeyEntry
$licenseKeyEntry.TypeId = "vmware-vsphere"
$licenseKeyEntry.LicenseKey = $esxiLicenseKey
$licenseData.LicenseKeys += $licenseKeyEntry
$licenseDataManager.UpdateAssociatedLicenseData($hostContainer.Uid, $licenseData)

# Add hosts to cluster
ForEach ($esxi in $esxi_array){

Add-VMHost $esxi -location $cluster -user $username -password $rootPW -force:$true


# Create a new distributed virtual switch
New-VDSwitch -Name $dvSwitch -Location $datacenter -NumUplinkPorts $uplinkPorts -Version $vdsVersion

# Create vDS portgroups
ForEach ($pg in $pg_array){

New-VDPortgroup -Name $pg -Vds $dvSwitch


# Set teaming policy for Management, vMotion and FT
ForEach ($pg in $vmknic_array){

Get-VDSwitch $dvSwitch | Get-VDPortgroup $pg | Get-VDUplinkTeamingPolicy | Set-VDUplinkTeamingPolicy -ActiveUplinkPort $vmknicPortsList -UnusedUplinkPort $vmknicPortsUnused


# Set teaming policy for iSCSI_1
ForEach ($pg in $iscsi1){

Get-VDSwitch $dvSwitch | Get-VDPortgroup $pg | Get-VDUplinkTeamingPolicy | Set-VDUplinkTeamingPolicy -ActiveUplinkPort $iscsi1PortsList -UnusedUplinkPort $iscsi1PortsUnused


# Set teaming policy for iSCSI_2
ForEach ($pg in $iscsi2){

Get-VDSwitch $dvSwitch | Get-VDPortgroup $pg | Get-VDUplinkTeamingPolicy | Set-VDUplinkTeamingPolicy -ActiveUplinkPort $iscsi2PortsList -UnusedUplinkPort $iscsi2PortsUnused


# Set teaming policy for NFS
Get-VDSwitch $dvSwitch | Get-VDPortgroup $nfs | Get-VDUplinkTeamingPolicy | Set-VDUplinkTeamingPolicy -ActiveUplinkPort $nfs_uplink -UnusedUplinkPort $nfsPortsUnused

# Add hosts to vDS
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){

Get-VDSwitch -Name $dvSwitch | Add-VDSwitchVMHost -VMHost $VMHost


# Migrate vmnic1 to vDS
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){

$vmnic1 = Get-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VMHost $VMHost -Name "vmnic1"

Get-VDSwitch -Name $dvSwitch | Add-VDSwitchPhysicalNetworkAdapter $vmnic1 -Confirm:$false


# Migrate Management portgroups to vDS
$dvManagementPG = Get-VDPortGroup -Name $managementPG -VDSwitch $dvSwitch
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){

$vmk = Get-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VMHost $VMHost -Name vmk0

Set-VMhostNetworkAdapter -PortGroup $dvManagementPG -VirtualNic $vmk -Confirm:$false


# Migrate VMs to vDS
$vmsPortGroup = Get-VMHost $esxi1 | Get-VirtualSwitch -Name $vss | Get-VirtualPortGroup -Name $vmPG
ForEach ($vm in $vms_array) {

Get-VM -RelatedObject $vmsPortGroup  | Get-NetworkAdapter | where { $_.NetworkName -eq $vmsPortGroup.Name } | Set-NetworkAdapter -PortGroup $dvVmPG -Confirm:$false


# Remove old portgroups
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){

$vswitch = Get-VirtualSwitch -VMHost $VMHost -Name vSwitch0

$oldvmPG = Get-VirtualPortGroup -Name $vmPG -VirtualSwitch $vswitch

$oldmanagementPG = Get-VirtualPortGroup -Name "Management Network" -VirtualSwitch $vswitch

	ForEach ($pg in $oldvmPG,$oldmanagementPG){

		Remove-VirtualPortGroup -VirtualPortGroup $PG -Confirm:$false


# Remove old vSwitch
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){

$vswitch = Get-VirtualSwitch -VMHost $VMHost -Name vSwitch0

Remove-VirtualSwitch -VirtualSwitch $vswitch -Confirm:$false


# Migrate vmnic0 to vDS
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){

$vmnic0 = Get-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VMHost $VMHost -Name "vmnic0"

Get-VDSwitch -Name $dvSwitch | Add-VDSwitchPhysicalNetworkAdapter $vmnic0 -Confirm:$false


# Migrate remaining vmnics to vDS
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){

$vmnics = 2..7 | ForEach {Get-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VMHost $VMHost -Name "vmnic$_"}

Get-VDSwitch -Name $dvSwitch | Add-VDSwitchPhysicalNetworkAdapter $vmnics -Confirm:$false


# Create vMotion on all hosts
$i = 0
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){


New-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VMHost $VMHost -PortGroup $vMotion -VirtualSwitch $dvSwitch -IP 192.168.84.$i -SubnetMask $sm -vMotionEnabled:$true -Confirm:$false


# Create Fault Tolerance on all hosts
$i = 0
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){


New-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VMHost $VMHost -PortGroup $ft -VirtualSwitch $dvSwitch -IP 192.168.85.$i -SubnetMask $sm -FaultToleranceLoggingEnabled:$true -Confirm:$false


# Configure iSCSI_1 on all hosts
$i = 0
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){


New-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VMHost $VMHost -PortGroup $iscsi1 -VirtualSwitch $dvSwitch -IP 192.168.86.$i -SubnetMask $sm -Confirm:$false


# Configure iSCSI_2 on all hosts
$i = 0
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){


New-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VMHost $VMHost -PortGroup $iscsi2 -VirtualSwitch $dvSwitch -IP 192.168.87.$i -SubnetMask $sm -Confirm:$false


# Configure NFS on all hosts
$i = 0
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){


New-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VMHost $VMHost -PortGroup $nfs -VirtualSwitch $dvSwitch -IP 192.168.88.$i -SubnetMask $sm -Confirm:$false


# Add iSCSI targets and set bindings
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){

$hba = Get-VMHost $VMHost | Get-VMHostHba -Type iScsi | Where {$_.Model -eq "iSCSI Software Adapter"}

# Add targets
New-IScsiHbaTarget -IScsiHba $hba -Address $iscsi1IP,$iscsi2IP

# Set up PowerCLI for esxcli commands
$esxcli = Get-EsxCli -VMHost $VMHost

# Set binding
3..4 | ForEach {$esxcli.iscsi.networkportal.add($hba, $true,"vmk$_")}


# Create iSCSI datastores
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){

$i = 0

Get-VMHostStorage $VMHost -RescanAllHba -Rescanvmfs

$datastores = Get-Datastore -VMHost $VMHost

if (-Not ($datastores -like "iSCSI*")){

	ForEach ($lun in $luns){


		$luns = Get-VMHost $VMHost | Get-ScsiLun | Where { $_.Vendor -eq "MSFT"}

		New-Datastore -VMHost $VMHost -Name iSCSI_LUN$i –Path $lun.CanonicalName -Vmfs -Confirm:$false


# Create a new datastore cluster
New-DatastoreCluster -location $datacenter -Name $dsCluster -Confirm:$false

# Add the iSCSI datastores to it
Get-Datastore $dsCluster_array | Move-Datastore -Destination $dsCluster

# Configure the datastore cluster
Set-DatastoreCluster -DatastoreCluster $dsCluster -SdrsAutomationLevel FullyAutomated -Confirm:$false

# Storage vMotion existing VMs to datastore cluster
ForEach ($vm in $vms_array) {

Move-VM $vm -Datastore $dsCluster -DiskStorageFormat EagerZeroedThick -Confirm:$false


# Remove temp datastore
Remove-Datastore -Datastore $tempDS -VMHost $esxi1 -Confirm:$false

# Add NFS datastore
ForEach ($VMHost in $esxi_array){

New-Datastore -Nfs -VMHost $VMHost -Name $nfs -Path $nfsPath -NfsHost $nas


# Configure datastore heartbeating on HA cluster
$haCluster = Get-Cluster -Name $cluster
$dsMoRef = Get-Datastore -Name $heartbeatDS_array | %{$_.ExtensionData.MoRef}
$spec = New-Object VMware.Vim.ClusterConfigSpec
$spec.dasConfig = New-Object VMware.Vim.ClusterDasConfigInfo
$spec.dasConfig.hBDatastoreCandidatePolicy = "userSelectedDs"
$spec.dasConfig.heartbeatDatastore = $dsMoRef

# As our firewall ignores ICMP, we need to set the isolation address
New-AdvancedSetting -Entity $cluster -Type ClusterHA -Name 'das.isolationaddress1' -Value $isolationAddress -Confirm:$false

# Disable default isolation address
New-AdvancedSetting -Entity $cluster -Type ClusterHA -Name 'das.usedefaultisolationaddress' -Value:$false -Confirm:$false

# Enable FT on
Get-VM $dc | Get-View | ForEach {



Disconnect-VIServer $vc -confirm:$false

Open PowerCLI, set the execution policy and run the script:

Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted

When the dialog box appears requesting credentials, enter administrator@vsphere.local and the password you set previously.

The vCenter Appliance will now be configured.

Coming up

In this post we deployed the VMware vCenter Server Appliance and configured it for the lab.

In part 7 we configure the vCSA to use non-self-signed SSL certificates in preparation for the vRealize Automation deployment.

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