Home > Ultimate vSphere Lab > Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 8: vCenter

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 8: vCenter

And now finally we come to the point where we are going to install a VMware product πŸ™‚

Create yet another linked clone based upon the Windows2008R2_Base VM and name it VC.  This must be stored on SSD as well.

The Virtual Network must be VMnet2.  Add it to the domain labo.local.

Create a user VCAdmin in AD and make this a member of the Local Administrators group on the VC.  Log on with that user.

First we need to install SQL Native Client.  This is located on the SQL ISO (the one you installed SQL Server on @ SQL VM).  It can be found in folder 1033_enu_lp\x64\setup\x64 and is called sqlncli.msi.

The installation is just a matter of Next, Next, Next, Finish πŸ™‚


Now, hop on to the SQL VM and open SQL Management Studio.

Click Security – Logins – New Login.


The login name must be LABO\VCAdmin.


Right click Databases and select New Database.

Name it vCenter, set the owner to LABO\VCAdmin and size the MDF file to 100 MB.


On the Options tab, change the Recovery Model to Simple.


Get back into Security – Logins and open the properties of your LABO\VCAdmin account.  Go to the User Mapping tab.  Give the account do_owner permissions on both the msdb and the vCenter database! (the vCenter database should already be okay normally).


Okay, now head back to the VC VM.

Open up Administrative Tools and select Data Sources (ODBC).  Create a new System DSN.  Select SQL Server Native Client.


Name it vCenter and point to the SQL server.


Click Next on the following screen and…  uh oh


Go back to the SQL Server and open SQL Server Configuration Manager and Enable TCP/IP.  Restart the SQL Server Service.

After that, open Windows Firewall and select Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall.  Click Allow another program.  Browse for it and go to E:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Binn\sqlservr.exe.


Go back to the VC and try again… it should proceed now.

Change the default database to vCenter.


Finish the wizard.

Now that we have the SQL stuff covered, it’s time to install vCenter!  Start autorun from the vCenter binaries.

Select vCenter Server (duh!)


Setup will complain that IIS is installed (got installed with the .NET installation routine).  Therefore, disable the World Wide Web Publishing service on the VC server.



The following screens are quite easy to understand.  Select use an existing supported database and select the vCenter ODBC source you created above.


It will detect that Windows Authentication will be used.  Fill in the password for the vCenter service (VCAdmin, the account we gave dbo permissions on the databases).  This will also mean that the vCenter service will be started with this VCAdmin account!


Accept the default installation paths.  Create a standalone VMware vCenter Server instance.

Set the JVM Inventory Size to Small.


Finally, click Install to start the installation.


To finalize, install vSphere Client.


Start vSphere Client, install the certificate and you should connect flawlessly to our brand new vCenter environment!



And in case you were wondering, all our 3 VMs together consume about 20 GB.  Not bad πŸ™‚

That’s it for now!  Next up, we’ll start installing our ESXi hosts.


Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 1: The Story

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 2: The Hardware

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 3: VMware Workstation 8

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 4: Base Template

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 5: Prepare the Template

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 6: Domain Controller

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 7: SQL Server

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 8: vCenter

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 9: ESXi

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 10: Storage

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 11: vMotion & Fault Tolerance

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 12: Finalizing the Lab

Categories: Ultimate vSphere Lab
  1. piotrmikula
    January 5, 2012 at 09:16


    This is a great guide! Thank you so much. Would it be easier to install SQL and VC on the DC01 to cut down on steps?


    • January 5, 2012 at 14:13

      You could do that indeed, but it will make your environment less flexible. Since you now have all components on dedicated VMs, you have more possibilities to juggle with them πŸ™‚

      But if you are short on RAM/CPU, you can perfectly combine these roles on the Domain Controller.

  2. Nikolay Markov
    January 25, 2012 at 16:32

    In my case the DSN doesn’t show up in the installation screen.
    The only option I get : (Please create a 64 bit system DSN)
    Simply just run ODBC with option “Run as administrator” otherwise when i created the 64bit system dsn the registry would not get populated and the setup would then fail to find the 64bit DSN.

    • January 26, 2012 at 16:13


      i’ll update the post this evening to include this!

  3. Pat Wilson
    February 7, 2012 at 03:42

    Is there a way to add internet access to this lab setup? I had to stop with just he VMs. I did not setup the Vsphere stuff. This is great guide for us trying to setup labs.. Kudos!!!

    • February 7, 2012 at 19:37

      Sure there is!

      Give the VM you want to provide Internet Access and extra Virtual NIC in VMware Workstation. Make this a ‘Bridged Connection’. It will receive an IP from your router/modem/… just as your regular desktop pc. Through that vNIC, you will be able to access the internet.

      Make sure though that you don’t specify a default gateway on the Internal vNICs (connected to VMnet2, …). The gateway needs to be set on the vNIC with the bridged connection!

      PS: i used this to setup a UMDS server and works flawless!

      • nathan
        April 27, 2013 at 14:29

        hi, how would one add a router to the mix so netwwork will get internet access. I dont want just one vm to have access.

        ie how would i add in pfsense router/firewall as if it was a real network?

        many thanks

  4. Derek
    March 28, 2012 at 04:25

    I disabled the disable the World Wide Web Publishing service and I am get the “set has detected that a web server, IIS, is still installed erroe” Is that normal?

    One more thing, I also could not find the DSN VCenter (MS SQL)instance in the Vcenter install, even after running the ODBC with admin rights. Scrap that VM and start over?

    • March 28, 2012 at 08:31

      The IIS error is normal… As long as you disable WWW service (or change the port of the default website), the error is merely a warning.

      Strange that the ODBC didn’t show up. Did you pick ‘SQL Server Native Client’ in the ODBC screen? Because you can also select ‘SQL Server’ as the type, but vCenter won’t pick that up…

      • Derek
        March 28, 2012 at 14:14

        Yes i picked the native client. Do you think I need to do a sysprep again? But yes I added it on the VC Admin and VC Administrator. It is showing up under DSN also. I am going to delete it and run through it one more time and see what happens

      • March 28, 2012 at 14:20

        Weird. You used the x64 ODBC configuration utility as well? Since the x86 (32-bit) is installed as well on x64. And if you create the ODBC Connection there, then it won’t show up…

      • Derek
        March 28, 2012 at 18:49

        Do you know the direct path so I can download the x 64 version for sure?

  5. Derek
    March 30, 2012 at 00:51

    I finally got it. I was running SQL Server 2012. I uninstalled it and installed server 2008 R2 like you have.

    • Anthony
      December 3, 2012 at 16:02

      FYI Derek, it works under SQL Server 2012 as well. I ran into the same issue and simply put the DSN under the wrong tab in ODBC like a DA (User DSN which is the 1st tab). Gotta make sure it’s under the System DSN per the instructions above πŸ˜‰ Loving this lab!

  6. Bart
    August 2, 2012 at 16:39

    I downloaded VCenter and it came in a .OVA extension how is this installed on a vm 2008 server? Thanks and I love the labs!!!

    • August 3, 2012 at 08:02

      You have downloaded vCenter Appliance. This comes in an OVA format (Virtual Appliance). It’s the easiest way to setup vCenter (it doesn’t need AD and/or an external DB), but it is also quite limited (no SRM support, …).

      To be honest, i haven’t seen it much in production environments.

      The labs require you to download the vCenter application, which is installed on top of Windows Server 2008 R2. It is listed on the VMware website as well.

      • Bart
        August 3, 2012 at 16:34

        Not to be a complete idiot BUT I cannot find the application on any of the download pages can you post up a url? Thanks πŸ™‚

      • August 6, 2012 at 06:59

        You can download either ‘vCenter 5 Update 1a related modules’ (the one you need in either zip or iso format) or ‘vCenter 5 update 1a Appliance’ (the one you downloaded in ovf format).

  7. Dirtyred
    August 31, 2012 at 05:53

    While I was installing vCenter, I got an error just before “Accept the default installation paths. Create a standalone VMware vCenter Server instance.” on step 8. I should have written it down, but it said something about settings might not work due to a config error. One thing I did notice different was “Fill in the password for the vCenter service”, mine was listed as Labo\VCadmin, whereas yours is simply VAadmin. Any thoughts? Or should it work anyway?

    • August 31, 2012 at 08:46

      The account name is prefilled and equals the logged on user, so it shouldn’t matter.

      If permissions are not valid, it won’t start the installation but instead complain that it can’t access the DB.

  8. Meraf
    September 2, 2012 at 13:23

    Great tutorial. However can you help me with something.. When installing vCenter Server i’m pointing to DSN vcenter MSSQL and I’m getting warning that the specified ODBC system DSN currently points to the SQL master databese and cannoty be used for user applications. What I did wrong ? Thanks

    • September 3, 2012 at 14:05

      Make sure you have changed the Default Database option in the ODBC connection properties (it is listed in the post at about 1/3th.

      • greg
        October 5, 2012 at 23:04

        what kind of server/workstation are you using exactly?

      • October 9, 2012 at 10:21

        It’s a bit older, but in short:
        – Quad Core Intel CPU with HT
        – 16 GB of RAM
        – 128 GB SSD
        – 1 TB HDD
        – Windows 7 x64 & VMware Workstation

  9. Arnab
    September 14, 2012 at 09:02


    When you created VMnet2 you gave it a Subnet of

    When you created the DC and SQL you gave it a subnet of

    So now when we create the VC it gets a Subnet of and wont be able to connect to SQL as it belong to a different subnet?

    So just wondering should the VMNet2 be having a subnet of 24?

    I got stuck at the stage in ODBC connection properties when it was trying to connect to the SQL server?

    Am i doing something wrong?


    • October 9, 2012 at 10:30

      The subnet in Workstation doesn’t really matter as that is mainly used if you let VMware Workstation act as a DHCP server.

      Just ensure the subnet is /24 in the guest VMs (including the VC)

  10. Brian
    September 27, 2012 at 17:16

    How do you go about licenses for everything?

    • October 9, 2012 at 10:21

      It’s a tricky one…

      Eval licenses if you are not a VMware Partner would be your only option…

  11. alpha
    October 8, 2012 at 05:33

    I followed all the instructions but when I get to install the vCenter I am getting the error “Error 25003.Setup Failed to create the vCenter Server repository.”

  12. HectorA
    October 9, 2012 at 08:51

    WOW! This is just what I needed after completing my first VMware 5 training. I started the lab so get some hands on experience and everything went well until I got to this step to build my vCenter server. I only had the option of downloading the eval for VMware vSphere 5.1. This installation is not what I see here. I cannot pass the SSO because the vCenter SQL DB is not configured correctly to handle this. After playing with it I finally got to the point where it is indicating the “The dabase does not have the required logical tablespace name: RSA_INDEX and RSA_DATA. My SQL knowledge is extremely limited and there is where I have had to stop. I did go ahead and create the ESXi 1 and 2 hosts and installed the VMWare vSphere client on the vCenter server and can access these individually with no problem. However, the vCenter is key and I am in need to guidance and help.

    Can anyone in the forum help me out? Thanks!

    • October 9, 2012 at 10:12

      If you download an eval, you can indeed only download the latest version. I didn’t have time yet to update this to 5.1, so some things probably have changed in the setup.

      You could always try to use SQL authentication (create a local SQL user with the same persmissions as in the blog series).

      • HectorA
        October 10, 2012 at 11:20

        Boerlowie, Got my hands on a copy of both the vCenter and VMvisor 5.0 from a buddy from work and am now starting the Storage lab. I recreated the host machines because vCenter 5.1 was having a problem adding them to the Cluster due a specific service (missed documenting the name) wouldn’t start. Thanks for your generosity!

  13. Greg
    October 14, 2012 at 22:39

    getting a strange error now when finishing the install of vcenter “user vcenter\sqladmin is not a member of the Administrators group. vCenter server service requires admin privileges for user account.

    Any ideas?

  14. Greg
    October 14, 2012 at 23:14

    I noticed in your vCenter install it is populated with VCAdmin but mine is populated with sqladmin. Weird. I know Ive out something out of place but don’t know what. HELP!!

  15. Greg
    October 15, 2012 at 00:27

    boerlowie et all –

    please disregard the posts on Oct 14 #’S 32 AND 33

    I figured out what Iw as doing wrong:

    First I didnt have an account created for domain\SQLadmin
    2nd, I didnt have a “local admin” account created for SQLAdmin (altough I saw “SQLAdmin in users my tired eyes didnt pay attention to the fact that it was not local “local machine\SQLAdmin”)

    Now with all created and with proper permissions I have vCenter installed and its as smooth as can be.

  16. Arakan
    October 21, 2012 at 08:45

    I tried the steps like mentioned above, after installing the SQL Native Client in vCenter server like u said i moved to SQL Server> opened MS SQL Management Studio, a promt for login came, when i tried to login i getting this error

    i tried to login through SQL Server Authentication i getting the same error

    i googled the probs still no use, Please help me with this

    • October 25, 2012 at 07:21

      Some things to check:
      – Did you add the SQLAdmin account to the local Administrators group on the SQL Server?
      – Did you install SQL Server when you were logged on with the SQLAdmin account?

      I think something went wrong there and the SQLAdmin account doesn’t have permissions on the SQL.
      You should be able to logon with a Domain Admin account normally (as a workaround, you could add the SQLAdmin to the Domain Admins group).

      • Arakan
        October 31, 2012 at 05:44

        it was the issue with UAC and after i started the Mgmt studio using “Run As Administrator” there is no problem with logging but what should i do so that i dont have to use run as administrator every time ?

      • October 31, 2012 at 07:47

        That’s weird. Normally, MGMT Studio doesn’t require elevated privileges. And if it does, UAC should pop-up requesting additional credentials.

        Did you try disabling UAC as a test?

  17. Tim
    October 25, 2012 at 16:20

    Hello, I am installing vSphere5.1 (can no longer get eval of 5.0) and when I try to get past the “Configure Ports” step, I am getting the following popup:

    The following port numbers are either invalid or already in use.

    VMWare VirtualCenter HTTP port: 80

    I am assuming that it sees to port 80 in use, but am a little concerned as to why it would be in use since I have followed the lab setup instructions exactly. Any ideas as to what I should do?

    Thank you.

  18. Tim
    October 25, 2012 at 16:37

    update: I am running netstat -bna, and see indeed that something is listening. However, netstat reports it “cannot obtain ownership information”. Ideas? Thanks

  19. Tim
    October 25, 2012 at 16:44

    changed http port to 81 for now. Hope no bad side-effects!

  20. Rahul
    December 7, 2012 at 08:07

    after i installed vcenter server , rebooted , added hosts etc and then i shutdown my pc, now, when i try to launch vsphere client i get, unown error , connection failed, unable to connect to remote server. any clue?

  21. Trikam
    December 24, 2012 at 20:28

    Man I am learning a lot more then VMware here. Very exciting.
    I was not able to log in to SQL server with just enabling TCP/IP, you also have to enable pipes provider. Thought this might help.


  22. Ken
    December 24, 2012 at 21:49

    Hi , I hit a brick wall while trying to install vcenter server after I had choosen Inventory size small a screen would ask about admin@domain.com with password / I inputted a admin/password for the field and hit next and I got the following errror

    Error 29113. Wrong input – either a command line argument is wrong, a file cannot be found or the spec file doesn’t contain the required information, or the clocks on the two systems are not synchronized. Check vm_ssoreg.log in system temporary folder for details.

    In the vm_ssoreg.log file, located in the %TEMP% directory, you see the error:

    when I goto the TEMP folder.. nothing is inside for me to view because installation never finish or better yet.. it did not even start… anyone ran into the same problem ?


  23. Trikam
    December 24, 2012 at 21:56

    Need some here,

    I am at vCenter installtion, its asking me for Vcenter single sign on information? Can’t get pass this part.
    Please help.

  24. Ken
    December 24, 2012 at 22:55

    I check the vm_ssoreg.log here is what it returned hope someone can read it and help me find out whats the problem , my FQDN is vcenter.labo.local /

    [2012-12-24 16:52:18,286 main ERROR com.vmware.vim.install.cli.commands.CommandArgumentsParser] Unable to connect to server
    [2012-12-24 16:52:18,286 main INFO com.vmware.vim.install.cli.RegTool] Return code is: ServiceNotResponding
    [2012-12-24 16:52:27,319 main DEBUG com.vmware.vim.install.cli.RegTool] $Id: //depot/vicore/vicore-vsphere51p01/regtool/viregtool/src/main/java/com/vmware/vim/install/cli/RegTool.java#1 $
    [2012-12-24 16:52:27,335 main DEBUG com.vmware.vim.install.cli.RegTool] Executing command: validateLsConnection -c C:\Users\VCAdmin\AppData\Local\Temp\{A4400513-2688-45A9-8439-CA991F4E4106}\certs -d https://vcenter.labo.local:7444/lookupservice/sdk -u admin@System-Domain -p *****
    [2012-12-24 16:52:28,723 main INFO com.vmware.vim.install.impl.RegistrationProviderImpl] Intializing registration provider…
    [2012-12-24 16:52:28,723 main INFO com.vmware.vim.install.impl.RegistrationProviderImpl] Getting SSL certificates for https://vcenter.labo.local:7444/lookupservice/sdk
    [2012-12-24 16:52:30,049 main DEBUG com.vmware.vim.install.impl.RegistrationProviderImpl] Establishing socket connection to vcenter.labo.local/ Timeout is 60000
    [2012-12-24 16:52:31,079 main ERROR com.vmware.vim.install.impl.RegistrationProviderImpl] Unable to connect to server
    [2012-12-24 16:52:31,079 main DEBUG com.vmware.vim.install.impl.RegistrationProviderImpl]
    java.net.ConnectException: Connection refused: connect
    at java.net.PlainSocketImpl.socketConnect(Native Method)
    at java.net.PlainSocketImpl.doConnect(PlainSocketImpl.java:351)
    at java.net.PlainSocketImpl.connectToAddress(PlainSocketImpl.java:213)
    at java.net.PlainSocketImpl.connect(PlainSocketImpl.java:200)
    at java.net.SocksSocketImpl.connect(SocksSocketImpl.java:366)
    at java.net.Socket.connect(Socket.java:529)
    at com.sun.net.ssl.internal.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.connect(SSLSocketImpl.java:564)
    at com.vmware.vim.install.impl.RegistrationProviderImpl.getSslCertificates(RegistrationProviderImpl.java:312)
    at com.vmware.vim.install.impl.RegistrationProviderImpl.initialize(RegistrationProviderImpl.java:220)
    at com.vmware.vim.install.impl.RegistrationProviderImpl.(RegistrationProviderImpl.java:133)
    at com.vmware.vim.install.RegistrationProviderFactory.getRegistrationProvider(RegistrationProviderFactory.java:143)
    at com.vmware.vim.install.RegistrationProviderFactory.getRegistrationProvider(RegistrationProviderFactory.java:60)
    at com.vmware.vim.install.cli.commands.CommandArgumentsParser.createServiceProvider(CommandArgumentsParser.java:253)
    at com.vmware.vim.install.cli.commands.CommandArgumentsParser.parseCommand(CommandArgumentsParser.java:99)
    at com.vmware.vim.install.cli.commands.CommandFactory.createValidateLsCommand(CommandFactory.java:36)
    at com.vmware.vim.install.cli.RegTool.process(RegTool.java:86)
    at com.vmware.vim.install.cli.RegTool.main(RegTool.java:33)
    [2012-12-24 16:52:31,125 main ERROR com.vmware.vim.install.cli.commands.CommandArgumentsParser] Unable to connect to server
    [2012-12-24 16:52:31,125 main INFO com.vmware.vim.install.cli.RegTool] Return code is: ServiceNotResponding

  25. John A
    February 5, 2013 at 11:28

    Answer is to install seperate and in a certain order the required componenets – if you run 5.1 simple installer see 1st screen – says if need to install seperate install in following order – single sign on
    vcentre last

  26. Mazhar
    March 14, 2013 at 12:28

    There is one confusion regarding vcentre server installation; Why on FQDN section is :VC.labo.local ; where it should be dc.labo.local if I not mistake; Please admin can please clear me ;
    Kind regards

    • April 14, 2013 at 19:49

      That’s indeed a good one… in theory it should be labo.local

      But i guess the setup accepts the FQDN of the vCenter as well because it does work like that as well… I’ll pay attention to that in a new series to get it sorted out… Thanks for pointing that out!

  27. Sam
    April 14, 2013 at 23:47

    Hi boerlowie,

    When is the new series coming out for 5.1.

  28. AwMeGawd
    July 18, 2013 at 06:06

    OK … if, like me, you are using this guide as a template to try and get vCenter 5.0 running on Svr 2012 and Vmware Workstation 9 and you run into the issue that you cannot install vCenter 5.0 as it get stuck at the DSN pane where the vVenter DSN you built does not appear even though it works fine on the Win 2012 Svr … we ll the issue is with the SQL Svr Native Client. 2012 uses Ver. 11 which, at the time of writing, does not work. You solution is to uninstall 2012 and install 2008 native clients …. Check out this page for instructions:


    It worked for me.

  1. June 8, 2012 at 16:43

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