Deploying vSphere 6.5 Update 2 Platform Services Controller (PSC) and vCenter in an HA configuration [Part 1]

This will be the first part of deploying your vSphere 6.5 Update 2 Platform Services Controller (PSC) and vCenter in an HA configuration. We will walk through the entire setup starting with the Platform Services Controllers (PSCs) and then move on to deploying vCenter and configuring the HA environment.

Video Demonstration and Discussion

Must haves

  • DNS for every system (this includes the reverse DNS) – All of your PSC and vCenter deployments along with the VIP on your load balancers need this setup before you start
  • NTP
  • Secondary VLAN for the Private Network between vCenter servers and the Witness server (this VLAN must be different than the VLAN used for the management of vCenter)
  • Load Balancers need to be up and ready. There are only three load balancers that are supported by VMware: NetScaler, F5 and NSX. Your configuration is unsupported if you use another load balancer (even if it works). VMware actually does a decent job of going through each of these configurations:
  • Some of the articles talk about putting certificates on your Load Balancers. This is not required. SSL Passthrough (which means you don’t have certs on the load balancers) is a supported configuration. Within this document, I will be doing SSL Passthrough.
  • One thing you should note and not miss, is that the Timeout (or stickiness) of the connections within the load balancers needs to be set to 1440 seconds. The issue, especially with the deployment, is if this is not set, the deploy can fail if it tries to hit one PSC and then at a later time, hits the other PSC. I’ve even gone so far as to shutdown one PSC at a site during the deployment to make sure I don’t have to rebuild 🙂

Deploying the Platform Services Controllers (PSCs)

This process is covered here: VMware vSphere 6.5

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VMware vSphere 6.5 Platform Services Controller (PSC) Deployment in a Ring Topology/Replication Agreement with Enhanced Linked Mode

This process will walk you through deploying your vSphere 6.5 Platform Service Controllers in a Ring Topology. This is useful for deploying your PSCs into a single SSO domain with multiple sites (hence creating the Enhanced Linked Mode setup). It is also useful if you are going to be doing vCenter HA (vCenter HA is the process of making vCenter Highly Available as apposed to setting HA up for your clusters).

Deploying vSphere 6.5 Platform Service Controllers (PSC) in a Replication Agreement

Must haves

  • DNS entries for every PSC (this includes the reverse DNS)
  • NTP


The PSCs have to be installed one at a time. For the initial config I found that if you configure one DNS server and one NTP server during deployment it works out better. You can add a secondary DNS and NTP after you’ve finished the deployment.

This process will use ONE SSO domain (vsphere.local) and two sites (SITE1 and SITE2) – This creates our Enhanced Linked Mode between two sites.

  1. Leveraging the installer.exe from the vCenter ISO, you will deploy each PSC completely for one site and then move on to the next site.
  2. You will create a replication ring since we’ll have more than 2 PSCs


  1. Launch the installer.exe
  2. Click Install
  3. Click Next
  4. Accept the EULA and then click Next
  5. Under External Platform Services Controller select Platform Services Controller and then click Next
  6. Enter in the vCenter FQDN name that you will be using to deploy the PSC (alternatively, you can enter in a host to deploy to). Follow that by enter in a username and password of an account that has Administrator (or root) access. Click Next
  7. A thumbprint window may appear. Click Yes
  8. Select the Cluster that the PSC will be deployed to (optionally, you can select a Folder as well).

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VMCA 6.5 Update 2 as a Subordinate CA

We are going to walk through how to create a Subordinate CA from your own internal CA. We’ll be using Microsoft for our CA but you are welcome to use your own.

One of the reasons for this particular guide is just due to some changes I noticed in Update 2 that may not be clear when using older documentation. I’ve retrofitted the older documentation that I found so hopefully this is easier to follow.

Video Demonstration


First, we are going to take VMware KB2112009 and slim it down.

Creating a Microsoft Certificate Authority Template for SSL certificate creation in vSphere 6.5 Update 2

Note: If you have a Root CA (offline) and a Subordinate CA (online), the instructions here will need to be carried out on the Subordinate CA. After all, he’s the only one online. Right? 😉

If you want to buck normal convention and only have the Root CA be online, you will do these steps on him instead.

  1. Click Start > Run and then type: certtmpl.msc
  2. Find the Subordinate Certificate Authority template and right click it and select Duplicate Template
  3. Change the Certificate Authority to Windows Server 2008
  4. Click the General tab
  5. Change the Template display name to: vSphere 6.x VMCA
  6. Change the Validity period to 10 years and the Renewal period to 5 years (Things to note here: You can choose values here to conform to your own companies requirements. Further, when the VMCA issues certificates, the validity period is 2 years by default regardless of what you put here – this seems to be new in Update 2).
  7. Click the Extensions tab
  8. Select Key Usage and click Edit
  9. Adjust the settings to conform to the following:

  1. Click OK (or Cancel if you did not have to make changes)
  2. Click OK to save the template
  3. Click Start > Run and then type: certsrv.msc

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