Install vCenter Server 4.1 on Windows Server 2003

To efficiently manage VMWare vSphere hosts, you need to purchase and install VMWare vCenter Server 4.1. With vCenter Server, you can manage vSphere hosts at an enterprise level, such as implementing HA cluster, VMotion, Data Motion, or anything that an ideal VMWare cluster must have. In another words, VMWare vCenter Server is the central management console of your VMWare hosts.

VMWare vCenter basically comes with two separate versions. The first version is VMWare vCenter Server Foundation, which allows you to manage up to three vSphere hosts. If you need to manage more than 3 vSphere hosts from a single vCenter Server, you need to acquire VMWare vCenter Server Standard, theoretically allows you to manage up to 255 vSphere hosts.

This tutorial is to show you how to install VMWare vCenter Server 4.1 on Windows Server 2003.

  1. From Windows Server 2003, insert VMWare vCenter Server 4.1 DVD in, and run the installer (autorun.exe).Start installing VMWare vCenter Server
  2. From VMWare vCenter Installer dialog, click vCenter Server.

    Installing vCenter Server 4.1

  3. Select your language, and click OK to launch the setup process
  4. Click Next from the Welcome message
  5. Click Next again
  6. Read through the license agreement and click Next to continue
  7. If you want to go with the Trial mode, then leave the Serial Number field blank

    Installing VMWare vCenter Server 4.1

  8. Leave the default option for database, Install a Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express instance (for small scale deployment), if your environment consists under 50 vSphere hosts, then this option is OK. Otherwise, go with a separate installation of SQL Server.

    Install vCenter using SQL Express

  9. Click Next
  10. Leave the default option Use SYSTEM Account checked.

    Using System Account for VMWare vCenter installation

  11. Click Next
  12. Click Next to agree with the location of VMWare vCenter installation path.
  13. Select Create a standalone VMWare vCenter Server instance to install for a single server.

    Install vCenter 4.1

  14. Click Next
  15. Leave all ports as default. Please note that vCenter uses HTTP and HTTPS port on this server, so if you must turn off any web service on this server before continue.

    vCenter Server Ports

  16. Click Next
  17. Based on the size of your hosts (VMWare ESX hosts, not virtual machines), you could select your inventory size.

    vCenter Inventory Size

  18. Click Next
  19. Click Install
VMWare vCenter Installation Wizard will continue and finish all the remaining tasks automatically.
After this step, you should have vCenter server ready. And the next steps are to connect to ESX hosts and manage it from this vCenter.


About The Author

Hao Nguyen

Hao Nguyen

Hello! I'm Hao Nguyen and I'm currently working as a Network Engineer for a small firm in Houston. I enjoy writing technical documents and blog, such as


  1. kaisala says:

    Sorry to bother you, it’s because I’m stuck and have come to ask help to install a cluster:
    In fact I installed vmwareworkstation 7 and from it I installed two machines running Windows 2003 and company also installed active directory and everything is ok
    Domain: univkis.lan
    Name: swcluster1 ip (public): s / m: gateway:
    Preferred dns server:
    Ip (private): s / m:
    HDD: 40GB (single drive)
    Name: swcluster2 Ip (public): s / m: gateway:
    Preferred dns server:
    Ip (private): s / m:
    HDD: 40GB (single drive)
    I created an account called cluster with its cluster service password
    From here I’m stuck because whenever tries to create a cluster, I get the error he can not find a quorum (shared disk).
    Can you help me by telling me how to create a share and then the cluster step by step and with screenshots please, I will be grateful and thankful

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