VMware vSphere Lab: Virtual Edition – Part 6

This is the sixth post in a series outlining how to set up your own little virtualized Virtual vSphere Lab, if you missed part one, part two, part three, part four, or part five be sure to check them out first!

Now that we have working DHCP and DNS services in our lab network, we’re ready to get out two little ESXi friends connected to it’s management service, VMware vCenter Server.

To be able to do that, we obviously need to install vCenter Server. Here it goes!

Installing VMware vCenter Server

Installing VMware vCenter Server is a pretty straight forward task.
First off, connect the VMware-VIMSetup-all-4.1.0-259021.iso file to the srv-vc1 server.

To do this, right click srv-vc1 and select “Settings…“.
In the “Virtual Machine Settings” window find “CD/DVD (IDE)” and select “Use ISO image file:“. Then browse to your download location and find VMware-VIMSetup-all-4.1.0-259021.iso

Click on “OK” and the Windows AutoPlay feature shut prompt you what to do with the newly inserted DVD. Select “Run autorun.exe“.

If you don’t get the AutoPlay window browse to the DVD in Windows Explorer and run the DVD from there. Select “vCenter Server

Now, Windows User Account Control pops up, and since we know what we’re doing, we’ll just click on “Yes” and continue.

Next up, select which language to use for the installation. Since I don’t speak, or read, any of the other languages “English” is my obvious choice.

Click “OK” and the installation starts.

Once again, click “Next“, read the “End-User Patent Agreement” thoroughly and click on “Next” again to continue.

Read the “License Agreement” before you click on “I agree to the terms in the license agreement” then click on “Next” to continue

Now you need to fill our the “Customer Information” screen.
Notice that if you don’t provide a license key, it will run in evaluation mode, which is what we want for our lab.

click “Next” again to continue to the “Database Options” setup screen. The defaults are to install a local Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise instance for this vCenter installation, and in our little lab environment that’s the perfect option.
Leave the defaults as they are, and click on “Next” . The next screen is where you configure which user account the vCenter Server Service runs as, and again accept the defaults and continue by clicking “Next

The default destination folder is fine too, so we’ll quickly click on “Next” to get going

Next up is the “vCenter Linked Mode Options” window, and yet again the default of “Create a standalone VMware vCenter Server instance” is exactly what this lab requires, so we’ll click on “Next” again

In the “Configure Ports” window, we’ll leave the defaults as is as well.
There is no need to make things complicated by differing from the standard setup.

Next” again, which brings us to the “vCenter Server JVM memory” screen.
Since I seriously doubt we will be running more than 100 hosts in our lab environment, the default of “Small (Less than 100 hosts 1024 MB) will do just fine.

After another exciting “Next” click, we’re finally ready to start the actual installation.

Click “Install” and the installation starts and runs without further interaction needed until it’s finished.

Click on “Finish” and your brand new vCenter Server is installed!
Even if the vCenter Server installation is indeed finished, you still need to do at least one more step before you can start using it properly.
You need to get the VMware vSphere Client client installed, to be able to connect to the vCenter Server and start configuring it.

Installing the VMware vSphere Client

There are several ways to get hold of the VMware vSphere Client installation files. You can open your browser and browse to the IP address of one of the ESXi hosts and download it from there or you can install it from the same DVD that you installed vCenter Server from.

I chose to do the latter, and install it from the DVD. To install it from the dvd, open Windows Explorer, and double click the installation DVD.
This will bring up the initial installer screen again, but this time we will select vSphere Client

Once again the Windows “User Account Control” pops up, and we’ll click on “Yes” to continue.
Since this install is your basic “Next” “NextNext” installation, I’ll just post the screenshots of the procedure. Accept all defaults, and you should be ready to go.

Now the the vSphere Client is installed, you get a new icon on your desktop called “VMware vSphere Client“, double click it to start the client.

Fill out lab-vc1 in the “IP address / Name” field and tick the “Use Windows session credentials” option. Click on “Login” to log into your fresh vCenter installation.

You’ll now get a security warning that tells you that the current SSL certificate installed on the vCenter is untrusted.
This is because vCenter creates a self-signed certificate during installation. As this is in a lab environment, that’s fine.
Tick the “Install this certificate and do not display any security warnings for “lab-vc1”.” option and click on “Ignore“.

This will save the certificate from the vCenter Server in your vCenter Client, and suppress the SSL certificate warnings for further sessions.

Finally you get logged in, and presented with a warning that since you are running an unlicensed vCenter installation and that it will stop working after 60 days. Again, this is our lab, we don’t care and click “OK“.

And there it is, both vCenter Server and vCenter Client installed and ready for use! In part seven, I’ll cover connecting the vCenter Server and the lab ESXi hosts.


  1. Hi. I am a little confuse at the beginning of Part 6. Hope you can help me clarify some information.

    “To do this, right click srv-vc1 and select “Settings…“.
    In the “Virtual Machine Settings” window find “CD/DVD (IDE)” and select “Use ISO image file:“. Then browse to your download location and find VMware-VIMSetup-all-4.1.0-259021.iso”

    Am I supposed to create srv-vc1 virtual machine with iso image VMware-VIMSetup-all-4.1.0-259021.iso ?

    What srv-vc1 supposed to be? an operating system of some kind?

    1. @Christian: I think Alex was asking why lab-vc1 is now being referred to as srv-vc1. I believe this was just a typo so I went ahead and used the existing lab-vc1 created in Part 3.

      This is great stuff…thanks for your efforts!

    1. @Tom Brady: Sorry for the delay, I’ve been caught up in real life work issues. I hope to post Part 7 in the next couple of days, and wrap it all up over the weekend. Thank you for your patience.

  2. Keep getting message, “unable to login” using Windows credentials to LAB-VC1.

    “vsphere client could not connect to lab-vc1.
    A connection failure occurred.(Unable to connect to remote server.)”

    I used caps, lower-case, ip address of

    Do you have any suggestions?

  3. Services. Enabled the orchstrator, et voila. Entered the ip address and it registered in DNS. Great stuff.

    Where’d you go? Need more labs.


  4. Hi Christian,

    What a brilliant lab setup guide!

    Unfortunately part 7 & beyond were never published. I understand that with all the screenshots it’s an awful lot of work, but is there at least a small chance that these parts will ever make it online?

    Thank you very much!

    1. @Chris: The intention is to get all the parts published, I just need to find time to actually get it done. I’m very sorry for the delay, and the next time I attempt anything like it I’ll make sure all the parts are ready before I actually start publishing them.

      Hopefully I’ll be able to find time again very soon!

  5. Good to hear that!

    There’s no need to be sorry :) It’s kind of a huge project to do such a detailed installation guide.

    I hope everybody will appreciate your work!

    Best regards

    1. @Chris: Problem is when you start out big, and you run out of time or other commitments eat into your available time. I really want to finish up this series, it’s bugging me a lot that I haven’t been able to do so yet.

  6. Seriously awesome guide Chris! Very nice, simple and to the point. Keep up the great work! Looking forward to seeing how all the pieces fit together.



  7. Hey Christian,

    Very nice guide, I appreciate your time and effort. Perhaps I did a step wrong but I have set up my two ESXi hosts as well as the W2K8 server. When I attempt to connect to the W2K8 host from the VMWare client I get the error vSphere Client could not connect to vControl (vControl is the name of the W2K8 server).

    This seems like a very vague error, does it ring any bells for anyone here?


  8. Hi Christian

    I’ve setup a lab similar to your lab. But I have some problems that I cannot fix them:
    – My host run OS Windows 2008, and it run normally. But when I start VMware Workstation 7 and power on my virtual machines (vCenter, esxi 4.1), my host often shutdown unexpected after 30-40mins I powered on the VMs.
    – I cannot configure vSphere HA, it always problem with esxi 4.1 network configuration that I cannot find the root cause.

    Can you give me some step guide to configure the HA.

    (Sorry for my bad English!)

    1. anwarul: Sadly this series is a bit outdated by now, and I never finished it. Perhaps I´ll do another series later on, on a newer version of vSphere when that time comes.

      1. there are some differences but not enough to cancel your part 7. it will let us install 4.x and then upgrade to 5.x. please finish

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