VCSA 6.7 Linked Mode Installation

VMware makes it very easy to deploy vSphere vCenter 6.7 in linked mode. In VMware terms, a linked mode installation means deploying the Platform Service Controller (PSC) and the Virtual Center Server (vCenter Server) separately, each of these component will be running on its own appliance (or server if it is a Windows installation).

This post will go through the steps of installing vCenter 6.7 in linked mode. We will start by deploying the PSC first and defining an SSO domain, then installing the vCenter server and link it to the installed PSC. Copared to an embedded installation, this is typically a better choice for medium and large organizations.

You might be interested by deploying vCenter 6.7 in Embedded Mode. If so, check out below link.

VCSA 6.7 Embedded Mode Installation

vCenter 6.7 can be deployed on Windows Server or as an appliance. We’ll go ahead with the appliance-based installation in this article.

Here is the lab existing IP scheme and naming convention:

Server Name Server FQDN IP Role
P1DC1 DNS Server
P1H1 ESXi Host hosting H1PSC1
P1H2 ESXi Host hosting H1VC1
P1PSC1 Platform Services Controller
P1VC1 Virtual Center Server


Installation Prerequisites

  • A downloaded and mounted vCenter Server Appliance Installer.
  • An active NTP server for time synchronization.
  • An operative compute and storage resource for the appliance deployment.
  • A DNS server with properly configured zone, containing forward and reverse DNS records of the vCenter appliance.

vCenter 6.7 Linked Mode Installation Steps

Installing the PSC

Go to MyVMware portal, search for vCenter Server 6.7 and make sure you download the ISO file named VMware vCenter Server Appliance. VMware vCenter Server and modules for Windows being the binaries for the Windows installation.

Once downloaded, mount the ISO file to your Windows machine and open its content. You can also extract it using your favorite compression tool.

Double click the installer located in vcsa-ui-installer\win32 folder and start the wizard.

As this is a fresh installation, click on Install.

The vCenter installation is a two stages process, which are deployment then configuration. Click Next to start deploying the appliance.

Accept the license agreement and click on Next.

Select your deployment type. We’ll go ahead with a linked mode deployment here. We first need to install the PSC to create an SSO domain, so check Platform Service Controller, then click Next.

Type the hostname on which you want the appliance to be deployed to, and provide the host’s username and password.

Click OK to accept the certificate warning.

Provide a name and a password to the PSC appliace.

Select the datastore on which to deploy the appliance. Enable thin provisioning if you want to save some space.

Configure the appliance’s network settings by providing a port group to connect to, an IP address, a gateway and DNS server.

Click Finish to start the installation.

The first stage of deploying the PSC appliance will start.

Once the first stage process is complete, you’ll be invited to click on Continue to go ahead with the second stage, which configuring the appliance.

Click Next.

In the Appliance configuration window, point your appliance to an NTP server and enable the access through SSH.


Create a new SSO domain and provide a admin password. Make sure your vSphere SSO domain is different form your Active Directory domain to avoid any authentication issues.

Click Next.

Click Finish to complete the appliance configuration stage.

Confirm by clicking OK.

PSC Installation complete!

Now that the PSC is installed and the vSphere SSO domain created. The next step now is to install the vCenter and link to the vSphere domain.

Installing vCenter

Re-run the installer.exe in vcsa-ui-installer\win32 and go through the first steps of the wizard to reach the Select deployment type window, where you need to select vCenter Server.

The rest of the steps of the first stage will be similar to the PSC installation steps, where you will have to provide the ESXi host where to deploy the vCenter, the VM name and root password, the deployment size and datastore, and finally the network settings.

Once the vCenter appliance deployment is done, an informational message is displayed to confirm that stage 1 of the installation has been successfully completed. Click on Continue to proceed with stage 2 to set up the VCSA appliance.


When the vCenter Set Up window appears. Click Next to start the configuration.

On the Appliance configuration step, you can configure an NTP server and enable SSH access to the appliance. Note that SSH is needed to enable vCenter Server High Availabilty (HA).

You will be invited to provide the PSC server and an SSO domain to connect the vCenter to. An SSO domain has been created previously during the PSC installation step. In this lab, the PSC service is running in and the SSO domain is named vSphere.local. You will just need to connect your vCenter appliance to it. Don’t forget to change the values in your lab accordingly.

Review your configuration settings then click Finish to complete stage 2 deployment process.

Click OK to confirm that you want to proceed.

The installation and configuration might take a few minutes to complete.

Once done, you will get a confirmation prompt informing that the the appliance is setup is successfully. You can click on the Getting Started link to access the VCSA client.

You’ll be prompted to choose between either the old Flash-based web client or the new HTML5 client. I’ll go ahead with vSphere Client (HTML5).

Provide your credentials to login.

You have now a fully functional linked mode vCenter installation, where you can start creating your resources.

A Note about vCenter Enhanced Linked Mode

Following the same installation steps for installing vCenter, you can link more than one vCenter to your PSC in you environment. As such, you will have an enhanced linked mode deployment with a single SSO domain and single administration pane for managing all existing vCenters in your infrastructure. In this example, I’m installing a second vCenter called P1VC2 linked to the same PSC as P1VC1 is linked to. IP scheme as below

P1PSC1 Platform Services Controller
P1VC1 Virtual Center Server 1
P1VC1 Virtual Center Server 2




After the installation of the second vCenter, both vCenters can be administered from a single pane, as shown below screenshot.






  1. Pingback: VCSA 6.7 Embedded Mode Installation – vAdmin-Land

  2. Pingback: Notes about vSphere 6.7 Deployment Topolgies – vAdmin-Land

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