Authentication and authorization govern access. vCenter Single Sign-On supports authentication, which means it determines whether a user can access vSphere components at all. Each user must also be authorized to view or manipulate vSphere objects.

vSphere supports several different authorization mechanisms, discussed in Understanding Authorization in vSphere. The focus of the information in this section is how vCenter Server permission model works and how to perform user management tasks.

vCenter Server allows fine-grained control over authorization with permissions and roles. When you assign a permission to an object in the vCenter Server object hierarchy, you specify which user or group has which privileges on that object. To specify the privileges, you use roles, which are sets of privileges.

Initially, only the administrator user for the vCenter Single Sign-On domain, administrator@vsphere.local by default, is authorized to log in to the vCenter Server system. That user can then proceed as follows:

  1. Add an identity source in which users and groups are defined to vCenter Single Sign-On. See the Platform Services Controller Administration documentation.
  2. Give privileges to a user or group by selecting an object such as a virtual machine or a vCenter Server system and assigning a role on that object for the user or group.