You design authentication access, controls, and certificate management for the management domain vCenter Server according to industry standards and the requirements of your organization.

Identity Management

Users can log in to vCenter Server only if they are in a domain that was added as a vCenter Single Sign-On identity source or using local accounts that are defined in the local Single Sign-On domain. vCenter Single Sign-On administrator users can add identity sources, or change the settings for identity sources that they added. An identity source can be a native Active Directory (Integrated Windows Authentication) domain or an OpenLDAP directory service. For backward compatibility, Active Directory as an LDAP server is also available.

For more information on identity and access management, see Identity and Access Management for VMware Cloud Foundation.

Password Management and Account Lockout Behavior

vCenter Server enforces password requirements for access to the vCenter Server Management Interface. By default, you must include at least six characters, which should not be any of your previous five passwords. Account locking is supported for access to the vCenter Server Management Interface. By default passwords are set to expire after 90 days.

VMware Cloud Foundation applies the default password policy for vCenter Server. For more information on configuring a password policy and account lockout behavior according to security best practices, see Identity and Access Management for VMware Cloud Foundation.

Certificate Management

Access to all vCenter Server interfaces must be over a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) connection. By default, vCenter Server uses a certificate for the appliance which is signed by the VMware Certificate Authority (VMCA). To provide secure access to the vCenter Server appliance, replace the default certificate with a CA-signed certificate.

Table 1. Design Decisions on Certificate Management for the Management Domain vCenter Server

Decision ID

Design Decision

Design Justification

Design Implication


Replace the default VMCA-signed certificate of the appliance of the management domain vCenter Server with a certificate that is signed by an internal certificate authority.

Ensures that the communication to the externally facing Web user interface and API to vCenter Server, and between vCenter Server and other management components is encrypted.

Replacing the default certificates with trusted CA-signed certificates from a certificate authority might increase the deployment preparation time because you must generate and submit certificates requests.


Use a SHA-2 algorithm or higher for signed certificates.

The SHA-1 algorithm is considered less secure and has been deprecated.

Not all certificate authorities support SHA-2 or higher.


Perform SSL certificate life cycle management for vCenter Server by using SDDC Manager.

SDDC Manager provides automated SSL certificate lifecycle management rather than requiring a series of manual steps to be performed.