Deploy Embedded PSC with Enhanced Link Mode – Part 1

vSphere 6.7 was released in April 2018 which included many new features and enhancements. Following on from this release, vSphere 6.5 Update 2 was released in May 2018, which included some features from vSphere 6.7. As vSphere 6.7 was released prior to vSphere 6.5 U2, there is not a supported upgrade path from vSphere 6.5 U2 to vSphere 6.7. This should be carefully considered in any implementation or future upgrade plans. I expect there will be a supported upgrade path from vSphere 6.5 U2 to a future minor version release of vSphere 6.7.

vCenter Server 6.5 Update 2 now supports Enhanced Linked Mode (ELM) when the vCenter appliance is deployed with an embedded Platform Services Controller (PSC). Previous versions required external PSCs to enable ELM. The VMware KB Supported and deprecated topologies for VMware vSphere 6.5 (2147672) still needs further updates as there is only the following note at the bottom of the article:

Note: With vCenter Server 6.5 Update 2, you can deploy by using the GUI or CLI installer up to 15 vCenter Server Appliance instances in Embedded Linked Mode, and manage these instances with the vSphere Web Client or vSphere Client from any of the instances.

The recommendation from vSphere 6.5 U2 and vSphere 6.7 onwards, is to use Embedded PSCs. The caveat is that this is only for greenfield deployments, there is not a currently supported method to upgrade or migrate from external PSC deployment to an embedded PSC deployment.

Due to an issue with expiring PSC Machine SSL certificates in my homelab and challenges replacing these, I decided to deploy vCenter 6.5 U2 using embedded PSCs. I will be deploying a single SSO domain in a single SSO site. As you will notice during this deployment guide, there is not an option to create another SSO site when joining an existing SSO domain, this is due to SSO sites no longer being required for new deployments.

Please review the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide for full details of the prerequisites and details steps, along with validating product interoperability in your environment by reviewing the VMware Product Interoperability Matrices.

The vCenter 6.5 U2 appliance installation is broken into two stages, the first stage is to deploy a new appliance and the second stage is to complete the new 6.5 U2 appliance setup and configure vCenter Single Sign-On, then start the services of the newly deploy vCenter 6.5 U2 appliance.

I’ll assume you know how to download the required ISOs from the VMware website. I will be deploying the PSC/VCSA topology shown in the image below:



Image acknowledgement from VMware blog

Stage 1 – Deploy the new vCenter Server Appliance

In stage 1, I will deploy the OVA file of the vCenter 6.5 U2 appliance. Mount the ISO and navigate to the \vcsa-ui-installer\ directory and then to the required subdirectory for your OS:

  • For Windows OS, go to the win32 subdirectory, and run the installer.exe
  • For Linux OS, go to the lin64 subdirectory, and run the installer
  • For Mac OS, go to the mac subdirectory, and run the

I’m running my deployment from a Windows machine so I will run \vcsa-ui-installer\ win32\installer.exe


Select Install from the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 U2 Installer


The introduction provides an overview of the stages required to complete the installation.

Click Next


Select the I accept the terms of the license agreement checkbox

Click Next


Select the vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller radio button

Click Next


Enter the ESXi host FQDN where you would like the new vCSA 6.5 U2 appliance deployed.

Click Next


Click Yes on the Certificate Warning to continue.


Enter the name for the VCSA appliance VM and set a root password.

Click Next


Select the deployment size you would like for your environment. For my home lab, I selected Tiny

Click Next


Select a datastore for the VCSA and if you would like to enable Thin Disk Mode.

Click Next


Now select a network with ephemeral port binding, this is temporary and the new VCSA appliance can be moved to another network after the installation has completed.

Enter the required network configuration.

Click Next


Review the summary on the Ready to complete stage 1 page, verify the settings and then click Finish


Once the deployment has completed, click Continue to progress to Stage 2. If you close, you can continue with Stage 2 by navigating to the VAMI of the newly deployed vCenter Server appliance,

I will continue with the VCSA appliance configuration and SSO setup in Deploy Embedded PSC with Enhanced Linked Mode – Part 2.




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