How to Install VMware: Start with a vSphere Pre-installation Checklist

preparationPreparation, Documentation, Implementation, Celebration!

vSphere installation and setup is not complicated but does require proper planning if you want a cloud solution that will be robust and scalable.

So after your design sessions or workshops with stakeholders from other technology teams are completed, and you have a design ready for implementation, the next item needed is preparation.

Note: Meetings with storage and network teams in the beginning are crucial to long term scalability and stability of your vSphere. This is where most VMware Engineers fail. Don’t try to do it alone, get support and buy-in from key people on other teams on storage and network design, as well as host and VM server configurations.

Hitting the Bullseye

Step one in our step-by-step VMware installation process is to make a vSphere pre-installation checklist with important information.

The checklist will save you hours of frustration later on when the troubleshooting begins, which believe me, you will troubleshoot a lot while performing the simplest VMware vSphere install.

Let’s go through the list of what you will need to know during the vSphere install.

VMware vSphere Pre-installation Checklist Suggestion:

  1. Is your hardware supported? Check the HCL.
  2. How many NICs will you have per host?
  3. Will it be 1GB or 10GB?
  4. Do you have enough ports and cables/Fiber?
  5. Is your network setup?
  6. Are your VLANs ready?
  7. Is your DNS setup?
  8. Do you have host IP addresses ready?
  9. Do you have management and data networks (VLANs) ready?
  10. Do you know what your primary and secondary DNS IPs are?
  11. Do you know what your gateway IP is?
  12. Make a list of names for your host servers. FQDN are required.
  13. Do you have a list of IP addresses for your data and management networks?
  14. Is your external network configured right? (VLANS, Routing)
  15. Is your storage configured right (SAN or NAS). iqn’s, igroups, LUNS, iSCSI, etc…
  16. Do you have a storage plan with LUNs and IDs ready?
  17. Are you using multi-path – what’s your plan?
  18. Do you have physical or virtual servers ready for running the vCenter and MS SQL?
  19. Do you have the software for ESXi and vCenter downloaded?
  20. Do you have a database ready with SA access?
  21. Do you have the right VMware licenses?
  22. Do you have enough VMware licenses?
  23. What patches do you need on your ESXi host and vCenter?
  24. Do you have a configuration plan for DRS, HA, vMotion and SvMotion?
  25. Do you have a user access plan for ESXi and vCenter?
  26. What else should be on your vSphere pre-installation checklist [add it now]?

Before you even think about installing any software, make a pre-installation checklist and track your setup progress.

This is only the beginning.

Once you have your ESXi hosts and vCenter online, then there’s many more steps you will need to do post-installation, such as:

Do you have vSphere installation setups you want to share?

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