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Running VMware vCenter 6.7 on VMware Fusion

This guide will show you how to run the VMware vCenter Server appliance on VMware Fusion so that you can test features like VSAN, VMotion and Storage VMotion on a Mac without server hardware.

Hardware requirements

The vCenter 6.7 appliance requires a minimum of 10 GB of memory so you’ll need a Mac with at least 16 GB to run it alongside ESXi.

The following steps have been tested on a MacBook Pro (13-inch 2017) with 16 GB of memory running macOS Mojave and VMware Fusion 11.5*

Download vCenter

The first thing we need to do is download the VMware vCenter Server Appliance from VMware’s website.

Login to your account then click on Manually Download.

In this tutorial, I’ve downloaded VMware-VCSA-all-6.7.0-14367737.iso which we’ll mount in the next step.

Mount the ISO and open the vCenter virtual appliance OVA

Double click on the ISO image to mount it in Finder, open the vcsa folder and then double click on the vCenter OVA to start the installation.

Importing the vCenter virtual appliance into VMware Fusion

Double clicking the OVA will launch VMware Fusion and start the import process. Click Continue to begin.

Read the EULA and then click Accept.

Since we’re only testing vCenter on a Mac, leave it on Tiny vCenter Server with Embedded PSC and then click Continue.

We only need to configure a password in the next step because we’ll be configuring the management network and other settings once the appliance is imported. Enter a root password then click Continue.

You will be asked to give the virtual machine a name. Type vcenter then click Save.

Wait for the vCenter virtual machine to import then click Continue.

Click Finish to close the import wizard and boot the virtual machine.

The first boot might take a few minutes while vCenter is configured. You’ll see the following screen for awhile, don’t login, just wait for the UI to load.

After waiting patiently, the UI should now be loaded and we’re ready to configure the management network, which we’ll do in the next step.

Configuring the vCenter virtual appliance management network

The default network of the virtual appliance is set to bridged, as you can see from the image in the previous step showing an IP address assigned by the DHCP server of my router.

In the following steps, we’ll change the network to a private network shared with the Mac and then assign a static IP address.

Open the virtual machine settings, click on the network adapter and then change it to Share with my Mac.

Close the settings window, then click into the virtual machine, press F2 and then enter the password you assigned when importing the virtual appliance to login.

Select Configure Management Network then press Enter.

Press Enter on IP Configuration.

Select the Set static IP address and network configuration option by pressing Space then enter the IP addressSubnet Mask and Default Gateway. Press Enter to save the IP config.

Tip: You can find out the gateway by running ifconfig at the terminal and by adding 1 to the inet address of the vmnet8 interface. For example, mine is 10.1.1.1 so the gateway is 10.1.1.2. If you’re using DHCP, you can find out what part of the range you can use for static IP addresses in this tutorial.

You may notice my network address is different to yours. That’s because I’ve changed it and disabled DHCP by editing the /Library/Preferences/VMware Fusion/networking config file and restarting VMware Fusion.

Select the DNS Configuration and then press Enter.

Select Use the following DNS server addresses and hostname by pressing Space. Type in the gateway IP in the Primary DNS Server box and the IP address of the vcenter host specified in the previous step as the hostname then press Enter.

Warning: Since we are not using a DHCP server or modified any hosts files, we need to use the IP address as the hostname otherwise the vCenter server setup will fail in the final steps and the appliance will need to be re-deployed.

Press ESC to exit the network configuration screen. You’ll then be asked to confirm the changes by pressing Y.

Press ESC again to exit settings and you should now see the IP address we can use to configure and manage the vCenter appliance.

Run the new vCenter Server setup

Open a web browser and enter the IP address of your vCenter Server with using 5480 for the port.

For me that is: https://10.1.1.100:5480

Click the Set up option.

You will be asked to login to continue the setup. Enter the root password and click LOG IN.

Click NEXT to start Stage 2.

Enable SSH access and then click NEXT.

Wait for the settings to be saved.

Enter the single sign on domain name and administrator password then click NEXT.

Un-tick CEIP if you don’t want to share data with VMware and then click NEXT.

Click FINISH to apply the changes.

Wait for the installation to finish.

Remove the port number from the URL to login to vCenter for the first time. Click the LAUNCH VSPHERE CLIENT (HTML) button to load the login screen.

Login to vCenter using the administrator@[yourdomain] and the password you specified in the previous step.

You’re now ready to use vCenter Server.

Final thoughts

In this tutorial we learned how to install the vCenter Server appliance on a Mac using VMware Fusion*. This is useful for testing a demonstration purposes without having to spend a lot of money on hardware.

The next thing you should try out is installing ESXi on VMware Fusion and then adding it to vCenter.