Adding Multiple vCenters onto a single Web Client (v5.1 & v5.5)


I was listening to the new features being released as part of vSphere 5.5 and also vCenter 5.5, and the idea that all of the components of vCenter should once again be installed on a single server and that the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) has been reworked to support more hosts and virtual machines.  This indicates to me that the VCSA will eventually be the only method of deploying vCenter in the future, with the Windows version being retired in the future.

One of the features that I use within my environment is ‘Linked Mode’ but this is not included in VCSA and not even in the new version, this is possibly because it is a method used in the classic GUI but the same method isn’t available in the web client.  After further investigation, I discovered that you can actually add multiple vCenters onto a single Web Client… although there aren’t many people discussing it on the web and it took a while to find some information on it (thanks to James Bowlings

So here is the way that I went through to configure this in my test lab:

  • Deploy the first VCSA appliance, assigning a relevant IP Address, subnet mask and default gateway
  • Power up the VCSA, once it has booted up, you will be presented with a screen advising you to go to the web page of the VCSA admin site:
  • Log into the web page using the username:  root   and the password:  VMware
  • The first screen that you will be presented with is the License Agreement, accept this and after a couple of seconds the configuration wizard will appear.
  • At this point, click ‘Cancel’ as we need to go through and configure a name for the vCenter (this is to avoid issues later on)
  • Go to the ‘Network’ tab, then click on the ‘Address’ button
  • Enter a new Hostname and click ‘Save Settings’, this may then request a reboot of the server
  • If you do need to reboot, log back on once the server is back up again
  • Click the ‘vCenter Server’ tab and then the ‘Launch’ button next to ‘Setup wizard’
  • If this is your first vCenter server, then I would advise the first option available ‘Configure with default settings’ as this will perform a simple installation of the componentsvcenter1
  • Click ‘Next’ and work through the remainder of the wizard.  Once the Database and SSO configuration is completed, the web client service will start and you should then be able to log onto the web client (https://ipornameofvcenter:9443/vsphere-client/), you should be able to use the previously listed username and password to access the web client.
  • I would go through and change the password for the ‘Admin’ account, as this is configured using a random password when the VCSA is installed.
  • This first VCSA appliance, in its most basic form, is now installed.
  • Deploy a second VCSA appliance, power it up and then connect to the admin web page in the same way as before.
  • Accept the License Agreement and change the hostname as mentioned previously and then ‘Launch’ the Setup Wizard
  • Instead of choosing to ‘Configure with default settings’, this time we are going to select the option ‘Set Custom Configuration’
  • Choose how you would like your database to be configured and then click ‘Next’
  • When you are presented with the SSO configuration, select ‘External’ as the ‘SSO Deployment type’ and then fill in the information in the form, making sure that you are pointing the at the first VCSA that was deployed:
    *  Under username, use:  root
    *  Under password, use:  vmware
    *  Under Name, use:  admin@System-domain
    *  Untick ‘Is a group’
    *  Under URL, enter:  https://ipornameoffirstvcenter:7444/lookupservice/sdk
    *  After a short while, a certificate status will be shown as ‘Untrusted’, you MUST tick the box ‘Trust SHA-1 thumbprint’ or they will not link together.
    *  The ‘Untrusted’ entry will then change to ‘Trusted’
  • Click ‘Next’ to continue
  • Continue through the wizard until it completes and finishes configuring the databases etc.
  • Reboot both the first and second VCSAs to make sure that the configurations are taken correctly.
  • Once everything is rebooted, if you log onto the web client of the first VCSA as:  root   and  VMware  , you will notice that you will still only see the first vCenter listed… this is because the web client will automatically list only the vCenter servers that are registered with the lookup service that the account has rights to access.  Currently the root account is not configured to access the 2nd VCSA, but we will change that now.
  • Go through to the accounts area and make sure that you add the ‘Admin’ account to this vCenter – you can also configure access via Active Directory at this point as well
  • Log out of the web client and then log on again as:  admin@system-domain  using the password created earlier
  • You should now see both the vCenters listed, again go through to the accounts area and add the ‘root’ account to this vCenter – once again you can configure access to this vCenter from Active Directory
  • You should now be able to see both vCenters whenever you log in as Admin, root or even as one of the Active Directory groups you configured earlier.

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