How to deploy a vSphere 6 U1 lab in Fusion

While new versions of vSphere are being released and deployment methods have been changed, it’s currently not so straight forward to deploy a vSphere lab inside Fusion and Workstation. This due to the fact that there is no OVF-based vCenter Server Appliance install available anymore (as of vSphere 6) and there is some manual fiddling required to make this work. This article will describe the steps you need to take for deployment.

First of all, I’m assuming you have Fusion or Workstation already running on your machine and have downloaded the necessary ISO files (vCenter Server Appliance and ESXi). I’ve written these steps from a Mac using Fusion, but you can use similar steps for Workstation on Windows. It’s also required to have a working DNS infrastructure for name resolution that vCenter Server depends heavily on.

Deployment of vCenter Server Appliance

Let’s start with the deployment of vCenter Server Appliance. Mount the ISO file to your OS. As I’m using Mac, I’m able to simply double click the ISO file and open it up directly.

Enter the vcsa folder and copy the vmware-vcsa file to a local folder. Rename the file to vmware-vcsa.ova.

Now, enter Fusion and click Add, following Import. Navigate to the vmware-vcsa.ova file and import it. The progress bar will fill up. Be careful: Do not click finish right after the import completes.

Click Customize Settings instead. Tweak your settings including network settings and close the settings and VM window.

Hold the option/alt key on your keyboard and right click the imported VM. Select open config file in editor. The config file should open up. Now paste the following lines in the bottom of the file:

guestinfo.cis.appliance.net.addr.family = “ipv4”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.net.mode = “static”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.net.addr = “172.16.181.15”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.net.prefix = “24”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.net.gateway = “172.16.181.2”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.net.dns.servers = “172.16.181.10”
guestinfo.cis.vmdir.password = “VMware1!”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.root.passwd = “VMware1!”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.time.tools-sync = “True”
guestinfo.cis.appliance.ssh.enabled = “True”

Tweak the IP addresses and passwords if you desire. Save the file and boot up your VM. It should take some minutes before it is fully loaded.

Finally, it should come up with a finished deployment showing the IP address you entered into the config file.

Now let’s add an ESXi server!

Deployment of ESXi

So, you got vCenter Server running in the background howling for some ESXi hosts to manage. Click Add inside Fusion and select New. Choose Create a custom virtual machine.

Select VMware ESX > VMware ESXi 6 (assuming you are deploying a vSphere 6 lab) and click continue. Select your disk configuration and finish the wizard. Now link the virtual DVD-drive to the ESXi ISO you’ve downloaded and boot up the VM. The deployment of ESXi is exactly the same as on a physical box so I’m not going into that any further.

Have fun labbing!

Sources used:

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