Many of you know that I am a huge fan of VIN (vSphere Infrastructure Navigator) and the value it can bring to vSphere administrators and their organizations. With the latest release of VIN 2.0, there are even more exciting features and integration with both the vSphere and vCenter Operations Manager platforms. However, one of the prerequisites for using the latest version of VIN 2.0 is that you will need to be running a vSphere Web Client 5.1 Server which can be a challenge for customers still on vSphere 5.0.

There was a question raised internally awhile back ago on whether it would be possible to have VIN 2.0 function with a vCenter Server 5.0? In the VIN 2.0 release notes, there is a statement that seems to indicate this is possible:

The user interface of the vCenter Infrastructure Navigator 2.0 virtual appliance that is deployed on vCenter Server 5.0 can only be viewed from the vSphere Web Client 5.1

A feature that may not be very well known with the release of vSphere 5.1 is that the vSphere Web Client Server also supports vCenter Server 5.0 which must be manually added through the vSphere Web Client admin application. This means that vSphere administrators not only benefit from all the new feature enhancements of the new vSphere Web Client but will would also be able to get a single view of their entire vSphere 5.x infrastructure.

Given all this information, I suspect this should work and I had an idea on how I could implement this. Since VIN 2.0 can only be used from a 5.1 version of the vSphere Web Client, we can simply deploy a VCSA 5.1 (vCenter Server Appliance) and configure it to point to our vCenter Server 5.0 environment. This will then allow us to use VIN 2.0 with our vCenter Server 5.0 environment while still maintaining our vCenter Server 5.0 environment.

Note: Though I have opted to use the VCSA as that is the simplest method IMHO, you are not required to. The only requirement is access to a vSphere 5.1 Web Client Server which you can also install on a separate Windows server.

Here is a quick diagram of what this would look like:

For some background here is what the environment looks like:

  • VCSA 5.0 managing ESXi 5.0 hosts with running VMs
  • VCSA 5.1 (configured, but no inventory)
  • VIN 2.0 deployed onto the ESXi 5.0 hosts being managed by the vCenter Server 5.0

Here are the steps to get this working:

Step 1 - Deploy the VCSA 5.1 and configure the system as you would normally. We will only be using the vSphere Web Client from this VCSA.

Step 2 - Register your vCenter Server 5.0 environment using the admin app in the vSphere Web Client. If you are using the VCSA 5.1, you will need to follow the instructions here.

Step 3 - Deploy VIN 2.0 into the vCenter Server 5.0 environment if you have not already.

Step 4 - Open a browser and connect to the VCSA's 5.1 vSphere Web Client. The URL should be https://[VC-IP]:9443/vsphere-client and provide the vCloud Suite License key which is required to license VIN 2.0

Step 5 - Enable discovery for the vCenter Server 5.0 under the "Infrastructure Navigator" tab on the left hand side of the vSphere Web Client.

Step 6 - Once the initial discovery has completed, you should now be able to see VIN information displayed for your virtual machines.

So there you have it! VIN 2.0 functioning with a vCenter Server 5.0 environment with a bit of help from the 5.1 version of the VCSA. You will still be able to connect to the vCenter Server 5.0 environment using either the vSphere C# Client and even the 5.0 vSphere Web Client. Though with so many new features in the new vSphere Web Client, this a great way to start getting comfortable with the new interface and enjoy all the benefits from VIN.

8 thoughts on “How To Configure vCenter Server 5.0 To Work With VIN 2.0?

  1. Hi
    This can be done with out VCSA5.1; At least this is possible with vCenter 5.0.

    On a site note… I hope the next rls will have some much needed user rights management integrated.

    • Michael,

      Same note to you as to David. The only requirement is vSphere 5.1 Web Client access, how you do that is completely up to you whether that is using the VCSA or installing vSphere 5.1 Web Client on a separate Windows system.

  2. Hi William

    Interesting article.

    If I have a windows based vCenter 5.0 update 2 server, and a separate windows server for the Web client installation running the 5.1 Web client, I can achieve the same result I take it? Also confirming the 5.0 Web client installation on the vCenter Server DOES NOT need upgrading to the 5.1 Web client for this to work.

    Michael, I agree the integrated user rights is needed, and the ability to do more export options like ADM can currently provide.


    • Hi David,

      Yes, the requirement as noted in the documentation is just access to a vSphere 5.1 Web Client, how you provide that is up to you (whether that is using the VCSA or Windows vSphere 5.1 Web Client).

      I’m not sure I follow your statement of the vCenter Server does not need to upgrade to 5.1 Web Client? I never said you had to, the only requirement is that you have a 5.1 Web Client and that can be provided using VCSA (simplest way IMHO) or you can stand up another Windows server to install 5.1 Web Client.

    • Hi William

      So a small issue here with having a dedicated web client server. If you have web client 5.0 installed and want to update to 5.1, the installer asks for an SSO server/lookup service to connect to. In my environment there is not one (as we run vCenter 5.0 update 2), so you cannot proceed with the upgrade, which means no VIN 2.0 use.

      I couldnt find anything to say SSO is needed for the web client server, which is annoying as you can manually configure connectivity from the 5.1 web client to a vCenter 5 system

      Do you know of anyway to install the 5.1 client without accessing an SSO server?


    • David,

      Again, I’m don’t follow what you’re asking. This article is mainly focused on users who ONLY have a vCenter Server 5.0 env and would like to use VIN 2.0. To do so, you need to setup a SEPARATE vSphere 5.1 Web Client which requires an SSO Server, that is a per-requisite. You are not upgrading your existing vSphere 5.0 Web Client

  3. Hi,

    Thanks for the article, it has really helped! I have deployed VCSA 5.1 and am using the embedded SSO Service. So how do I login to the web client?? as I have not configured the appliance with an SSO account or with AD integration. I am only testing VIN 2.0


    • Looks like because I had the FQDN in the hostname of the VCSA, it would try and authenticate via SSO using (appending the domain name to the end). I removed the FQDN from the hostname field and am now able to logon using the root login account!

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