For the past few days I have hard time getting vSphere 6 to work within my vSphere 5 environment, specifically, to successfully install VCSA (Virtual Centre Server Appliance).

Annoyingly enough, VMware has somehow decided that to install VCSA, an OVA deployment was not good enough (as with previous vSphere version 5.x). With all that rumble on getting away from Windows style deployment, now, the VCSA web based installation Wizard does some checks and fails to run if the platform you are running from is not Windows.

So you get rid of OVF deployment, you introduce web-based deployment, but you only allow that to run from Windows?? Why VMware?? Anyway …

Installing the nested ESXi was straight forward. Below is some of the problems I had when trying to deploy VCSA.


Problem 1 – I don’t like Windows

My problem is that I simply don’t like Windows anymore! I only work on Windows if I have no choice – say for example, if I’m at the office. Even though I could’ve easily bring up a Windows VM, I just had to get this done from my Mac. I really took that as a mission.

So I thought – “OK – let’s disable the bloody check in code … but where? Surely it must be possible though!”. My best friend Google came to the rescue as I it pointed me to the following blog (see steps 2 – 4). Having followed the instructions there, I was still getting all sorts of errors … and I did give the process quite a few tweaks before reattempting … I basically lost few good hours with no success.

But then, I thought that whatever the wizard is doing, it must be running some scripting in the background. So there must be a way to run this on the CLI, right? Google again, pointed me to the Command-Line Deployment of VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.0.


Problem 2 – Not enough storage space

First, I got to a stage when the VCSA would be successfully deployed but would fail to power up due to lack of resources – my bad! Tiny deployment requires 116 GB of HDD. I didn’t account for the following:

  1. The ESXi v6 will be virtual (nested)
  2. If I’m to next my VCSA inside a texted ESXi, I need to get the storage sorted on the nested ESXi
  3. But I cannot easily present external storage to the netted ESXi, unless I got access to it through the vCenter
  4. And yet, the vCenter is not installed

The point is, the VCSA would be initially deployed on the “local” storage of the nested ESXi and therefore, I have to give it 116 GB of extra space and move the VCSA to external storage later. I did that and this time, the VCSA powered up.

Problems were far from over though …


Problem 3 – Nested Virtual Networking can’t see my local network

The next problem I had was related to the virtual networking setup. Basically, I could ping the nested VCSA from the netted ESXi but I couldn’t ping it from my actual network. This was because by default, the VCSA is hooked to the VM Network portgroup and this exists inside the nested ESXi which also hosts the vmkernel interface for management. Of course I’d successfully ping from the vmkernel interface to the VCSA vNIC; they communicate internally anyway. But from within my local network (where my Mac is) this VM Network portgroup doesn’t exist.

Before giving up, I thought I’ll give it another go, only differently. Why would I nest my VCSAv6 inside the nested ESXiv6, if I could actually nest it inside my physical ESXi v5.5 host!? VMware says VCSA could be deployed inside vSphere v5.x:

screenshot490

Next:

  1. Deploying the nested ESXi Virtual Machine
  2. Deploying VCSA v6 within my physical ESXi v5

Thank you,
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