vSphere is a sophisticated product with multiple components to install and set up. To ensure a successful vSphere deployment, understand the sequence of tasks required.

Installing vSphere includes the following tasks:

Figure 1. vSphere Installation and Setup Workflow

First install and setup at least one ESXi host, then deploy or install vCenter Server - embedded type for small evironments, external type for large environments.
  1. Read the vSphere release notes.
  2. Install ESXi.
    1. Verify that your system meets the minimum hardware requirements. See ESXi Requirements.
    2. Determine the ESXi installation option to use. See Options for Installing ESXi.
    3. Determine where you want to locate and boot the ESXi installer. See Media Options for Booting the ESXi Installer. If you are using PXE to boot the installer, verify that your network PXE infrastructure is properly set up. See PXE Booting the ESXi Installer.
    4. Create a worksheet with the information you will need when you install ESXi. See Required Information for ESXi Installation.
    5. Install ESXi.
      Note: You can also provision ESXi hosts by using vSphere Auto Deploy, but vSphere Auto Deploy is installed together with vCenter Server. To provision ESXi hosts by using Auto Deploy, you must deploy the vCenter Server Appliance or install vCenter Server.
  3. Configure the ESXi boot and network settings, the direct console, and other settings. See Setting Up ESXi and After You Install and Set Up ESXi.
  4. Consider setting up a syslog server for remote logging, to ensure sufficient disk storage for log files. Setting up logging on a remote host is especially important for hosts with limited local storage. See Required Free Space for System Logging and Configure Syslog on ESXi Hosts.
  5. Determine the vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller deployment model that is suitable for your environment.

    See vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller Deployment Types.

  6. Deploy or install vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller.

    You can deploy the vCenter Server Appliance or Platform Services Controller appliance on an ESXi host or vCenter Server instance, or you can install vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller on a Windows virtual machine or physical server.

    You can deploy or install multiple vCenter Server instances connected in Enhanced Linked Mode configuration by registering them to a common or different joined Platform Services Controller instances.

  7. Connect to vCenter Server from the vSphere Web Client. See After You Install vCenter Server or Deploy the vCenter Server Appliance.
  8. Configure the vCenter Server Appliance or vCenter Server instance. See vCenter Server Appliance Configuration and vCenter Server and Host Management.