You can deploy the vCenter Server appliance on an ESXi host 6.7 or later, or on a vCenter Server instance 6.7 or later. Your system must also meet specific software and hardware requirements.

When you use Fully Qualified Domain Names, verify that the client machine from which you are deploying the appliance and the network on which you are deploying the appliance use the same DNS server.

Before you deploy the appliance, synchronize the clocks of the target server and all vCenter Server instances on the vSphere network. Unsynchronized clocks might result in authentication problems and can cause the installation to fail or prevent the appliance services from starting. See Synchronizing Clocks on the vSphere Network.

Hardware Requirements for the vCenter Server Appliance

When you deploy the vCenter Server appliance, you can select to deploy an appliance that is suitable for the size of your vSphere environment. The option that you select determines the number of CPUs and the amount of memory for the appliance.

The hardware requirements for a vCenter Server appliance depend on the size of your vSphere inventory.

Number of vCPUs Memory
Tiny environment (up to 10 hosts or 100 virtual machines) 2 14 GB
Small environment (up to 100 hosts or 1,000 virtual machines) 4 21 GB
Medium environment (up to 400 hosts or 4,000 virtual machine) 8 30 GB
Large environment (up to 1,000 hosts or 10,000 virtual machines) 16 39 GB
X-Large environment (up to 2,000 hosts or 35,000 virtual machines) 24 58 GB
Note: If you want to add an ESXi host with more than 512 LUNs and 2,048 paths to the vCenter Server inventory, you must deploy a vCenter Server appliance for a large or x-large environment.

Storage Requirements for the vCenter Server Appliance

When you deploy the vCenter Server appliance, the ESXi host or DRS cluster on which you deploy the appliance must meet minimum storage requirements. The required storage depends not only on the size of the vSphere environment and the storage size, but also on the disk provisioning mode.

The storage requirements are different for each vSphere environment size and depend on your database size requirements.

Default Storage Size Large Storage Size X-Large Storage Size
Tiny environment (up to 10 hosts or 100 virtual machines) 579 GB 1992 GB 4279 GB
Small environment (up to 100 hosts or 1,000 virtual machines) 694 GB 2046 GB 4304 GB
Medium environment (up to 400 hosts or 4,000 virtual machine) 908 GB 2140 GB 4468 GB
Large environment (up to 1,000 hosts or 10,000 virtual machines) 1358 GB 1958 GB 4518 GB
X-Large environment (up to 2,000 hosts or 35,000 virtual machines) 2283 GB 2383 GB 4620 GB
Note: The storage requirements include the requirements for the vSphere Lifecycle Manager that runs as a service in the vCenter Server appliance.

Software Requirements for the vCenter Server Appliance

The VMware vCenter Server appliance can be deployed on ESXi 6.7 hosts or later, or on vCenter Server instances 6.7 or later.

You can deploy the vCenter Server appliance using the GUI or CLI installer. You run the installer from a network client machine that you use to connect to the target server and deploy the appliance on the server. You can connect directly to an ESXi 6.7 host on which to deploy the appliance. You can also connect to a vCenter Server 6.7 instance to deploy the appliance on an ESXi host or DRS cluster that resides in the vCenter Server inventory.

For information about the requirements for network client machine, see System Requirements for the vCenter Server Installer.

Required Ports for vCenter Server

The vCenter Server system must be able to send data to every managed host and receive data from the vSphere Client. To enable migration and provisioning activities between managed hosts, the source and destination hosts must be able to receive data from each other through predetermined TCP and UDP ports.

vCenter Server is accessed through predetermined TCP and UDP ports. If you manage network components from outside a firewall, you might be required to reconfigure the firewall to allow access on the appropriate ports. For the list of all supported ports and protocols in vSphere, see the VMware Ports and Protocols Tool™ at https://ports.vmware.com.

During installation, if a port is in use or is blocked using a denylist, the vCenter Server installer displays an error message. You must use another port number to proceed with the installation. There are internal ports that are used only for inter-process communication.

VMware uses designated ports for communication. Additionally, the managed hosts monitor designated ports for data from vCenter Server. If a built-in firewall exists between any of these elements, the installer opens the ports during the installation or upgrade process. For custom firewalls, you must manually open the required ports. If you have a firewall between two managed hosts and you want to perform source or target activities, such as migration or cloning, you must configure a means for the managed hosts to receive data.

To configure the vCenter Server system to use a different port to receive vSphere Client data, see the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation.

DNS Requirements for the vCenter Server Appliance

When you deploy the vCenter Server appliance, similar to any network server, you can assign a fixed IP address and an FQDN that is resolvable by a DNS server so that clients can reliably access the service.

When you deploy the vCenter Server appliance with a static IP address, you ensure that in case of system restart, the IP address of the appliance remains the same.

Before you deploy the vCenter Server appliance with a static IP address, you must verify that this IP address has a valid internal domain name system (DNS) registration.

When you deploy the vCenter Server appliance, the installation of the web server component that supports the vSphere Client fails if the installer cannot look up the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) for the appliance from its IP address. Reverse lookup is implemented using PTR records.

If you plan to use an FQDN for the appliance system name, you must verify that the FQDN is resolvable by a DNS server, by adding forward and reverse DNS A records.

You can use the nslookup command to verify that the DNS reverse lookup service returns an FQDN when queried with the IP address and to verify that the FQDN is resolvable.
nslookup -nosearch -nodefname FQDN_or_IP_address

If you use DHCP instead of a static IP address for the vCenter Server appliance, verify that the appliance name is updated in the domain name service (DNS). If you can ping the appliance name, the name is updated in DNS.

Ensure that the ESXi host management interface has a valid DNS resolution from the vCenter Server and all vSphere Client instances. Ensure that the vCenter Server has a valid DNS resolution from all ESXi hosts and vSphere Client.

vSphere Client Software Requirements

Use of the vSphere Client requires a supported web browser.

VMware has tested and supports the following guest operating systems and browser versions for the vSphere Client.
Supported Guest Operating Systems
  • Windows 32-bit and 64-bit
  • Mac OS
Supported Browser Versions
  • Google Chrome 89 or later
  • Mozilla Firefox 80 or later
  • Microsoft Edge 90 or later
Note: Later versions of these browsers are likely to work, but have not been tested.