HOWTO: Deploy a vSphere 6.5 External Platform Services Controller (VCSA)

If you didn’t already here the news, VMware vSphere 6.5 is now GA.  Whilst lots of people will be concentrating on upgrading vSphere 5.x/6.x to 6.5 I’m going to start with the basics.

To install the Platform Services Controller using the VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA), you first have to mount the ISO.  In Windows 10 this is simple!

So first things first, double click on VMware-VCSA-all-6.5.0-<buildnumber>.iso to mount it as a drive on your system. (In my instance on my Windows 10 machines, this was drive letter H:)

Installation Steps

Using Windows Explorer, navigate to the H:\vcsa-ui-installer folder and double click on installer.exe to load the new installer.

vcsa-install-01Select Install.

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Click Next.

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Check the I accept the terms of the license agreement checkbox and click Next.

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Select Platform Services Controller option and click Next.

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Enter the FQDN of the target ESXi host, and the root username and root password for the target ESXi host.

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Click Next.

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If prompted, at the Certificate Warning, click Yes.

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Enter the VM Name (which is basically the display name in vCenter) and the password for the appliance root password.

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Click Next.

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Select the target Datastore and click Next.

Note: What i did find interesting was i couldn’t uncheck the Enable Thin Disk Mode checkbox whilst i was using an NFS datastore.  I’m unsure yet whether this is a local configuration setting/feature or a feature of the VCSA when deployed onto an NFS datastore.  As this is a homelab, I am assuming the former.

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Select the target Network  IP Version and IP assignment from the relevant dropdown.  Then enter the PSC’s FQDN along with the IP Address, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway and DNS Servers then click Next.

Note: Remember if you are using Distributed Switches and are trying to install the Platform Services Controller to an ESXi host you will need to have an Ephemeral Port Group for it to show up. 

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Click Finish.

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After a few minutes, you will be prompted with the Stage 1 Complete.

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Click Continue.

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Click Next.

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Either select Synhronize time with NTP servers or  Synhronize time with the ESXi host (depending on your preference).  Enter NTP servers (if required) and select Enabled from the SSH access dropdown.

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Click Next.

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Select the Create a new SSO domain option.

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Enter the new SSO Domain Name, SSO password and the Site name.

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Click Next.

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Uncheck the Join the VMware’s Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) check box and click Next.

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Click Finish.

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At the Warning dialog, Click OK to start the configuration of the Platform Services Controller.

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Click Close.

And there you have it, the first step to deploying your shiny new vCenter 6.5 is complete!

My initial thoughts on the VCSA 6.5 installer

The fluidity and responsiveness of the VCSA 6.5 installer is a quantum leap forward from the VCSA 6 installer.  The visible separation of the deployment and configuration steps into two distinct steps is a welcome addition.  Albeit that is probably what happens under the covers in the VCSA6 installer, we don’t actually get to see it.

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