Dec 14 2016

VMware vSphere vCenter Server 6.5 Appliance Deployment using CLI


A while back i wrote a blog post about the VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 6.5  Installation & Configuration via UI and as i mentioned in the blog post there is also a command line interface option (CLI) available and this is what this blog post will be all about.

The procedure is really simple to follow and there are actually templates of the JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) based input file needed during the deployment included in the VCSA .iso file under ISO-File-Mount-Point:\vcsa-cli-installer\templates\. There are templates available for the following scenarios:

  • Installation
  • Migration
  • Upgrade

We will focus on the Installation part and the available templates are:


I’ll be using the “embedded_vCSA_on_ESXi.json since i don’t have a vCenter Server available and i don’t need an external Platform Service Controller for my deployment.

Select the JSON you need and make the appropriate changes. In my case i made changes to the following parameters (see end of blog post for the complete JSON file i used):

  1. ESXi host
    1. hostname
    2. username
    3. password
    4. deployment.network
    5. datastore
  2.  Appliance
    1. deployment.option
    2. name
  3.  Network
    1.  ip
    2. Ddns.servers
    3. prefix
    4. gateway
    5. system.name
  4. OS
    1.  password
    2. ssh
  5.  SSO
    1.  password
    2. domain-name
    3. site-name
  6. CEIP
    1. chip.enabled

Now we are ready for the deployment but before we proceed, let’s find out what command options we got since i would like to avoid any user interaction during the deployment if possible. The command, vcsa-deploy, i will use to perform the actual installation can be found in the following directory “ISO-File-Mount-Point:\vcsa-cli-installer\Platform-architecture” so in my case, since i run the command on a Windows 10 VM, it is  ISO-File-Mount-Point:\vcsa-cli-installer\win32

The vcsa-deploy.exe command has the following sub commands:

  • install
  • migrate
  • upgrade

By running the command vcsa-deploy.exe install –help (two minus signs before help) we can find out the available parameters


In my case i decided to use the

(two minus signs before both accept and no) and arguments since that’s what is needed to perform the unattended installation.

Installation command:

Installation starting with verification process:


Then OVF deployment:


After deployment the Install Services taking place:


Last step is to Configure vCenter Services:


When done a deployment summary is shown:


Now let’s access the system via the three main interfaces not including the physical machine console where the director console interface (DCUI) is shown.

  • SSH where you can login with the root or administrator@vsphere.local accounts
  • https://vc01.vcdx56.local:5480 which is the new admin interface which looks pretty nice.
  • https://vc01.vcdx56.local which gives you the option to start various interfaces e.g. flash mode based vSphere Web Client and the new HTML5 based client


  • https://vc01.vcdx56.local/vsphere-clinet which takes you to the Flash based vSphere Web client
  • https://vc01.vcdx56.local/ui which takes you to the HTML5 based client

Below is the configuration file i used with my specific configuration for the following parameters:

  • hostname
  • username
  • password
  • deployment.network
  • datastore
  • appliance
  • thin.disk.mode
  • deployment.option
  • name
  • network
  • ip.family
  • mode
  • ip
  • dns.servers
  • prefix
  • gateway
  • system.name
  • os
  • password
  • ssh.enable
  • password
  • domain-name
  • site-name
  • eip.enabled


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