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With the release of vSphere 5.5 now upon us, before jumping in and performing a fresh install or an upgrade I wanted to highlight the minor changes to the vCenter Server installer, specifically when to use the simple installer and when to use the individual custom install wizards.

With the new release, when you attach your ISO image you will be presented with the updated splash screen

Simple Install

Selecting this option which is now the default will give you an installation of the core components required for vCenter server with the default settings on too a single physical or virtual server. With vSphere 5.5 we have now added the vSphere Web Client into the mix to assist with setting up vCenter Single Sign-On if necessary. Simple Install will install the following core components in the required order specified.

Using the simple install, the components will be installed to the default C:Program FilesVMwareInfrastructure destination folder or upgrade the existing version in the installed location. If you have distributed components with vSphere 5.1, this will install all components locally when ran, installing any components anew if not present which may affect you permission and accessibility (ie new vCenter Single SIgn-On instance)

Use case:
You will use the Simple Install option if you are installing or upgrading a single vCenter server with all of its components local to each other (VMware recommendation).

NOTE: If you are intending to install or upgrade multiple vCenter servers (ie for Linked Mode) then you can use the Simple Install for the first vCenter server to setup the vCenter Single Sign-On security domain and then use the custom installation options for the additional vCenter servers.

Custom Installation

The custom install provides the individual installer for each vCenter component which allows for additional options during install or upgrade. Each installer must be ran in the correct order (shown above) and allows for the following use cases

  1. Distribute components across multiple servers
    (although supported, customers have shared that this does add complexity with management and availability options of vCenter server)
  2. Install into a specific destination folder
    (eg D:VMware)
  3. Install more than one vCenter server(s) in too the same vCenter Single Sign-On security domain
    (ie for Linked Mode as multiple vCenter Single Sign-On security domains (eg: vsphere.local) is not recommended)

As always please reference the VMware vSphere 5.5 Documentation Center for up to date documentation as well as the VMware Compatibility Guide and VMware Product Interoperability Matrixes prior to commencing any install or upgrade procedure.