Installing vCenter on Server 2008 R2

There are a couple of small gotchas to be aware of when installing vCenter on a Windows 2008 R2. The main reason for this is that R2 is 64-bit only. The issues arn’t with the installation of vCenter as much as issues with getting the installation to recognise the connection to the SQL backend server.

vCenter requires a 32-bit DSN. The problem on R2 is that if you setup a DSN through Start > Administrative Tools > Data Sources (ODBC) the vSphere installer won’t be able to see it as the created DSN will be a 64-bit connection.

In addition to a 32-bit DSN vCenter also requires the SQL (2005 or 2008) native client. The confusing part is you need to download and install the 64x version of the native client and then use the procedure below to setup the connection.

So here is a quick guide on installing vCenter 4.0 on a Windows 2008 R2 server.

Prerequisites –

Procedure –

  1. Download the native client from the above link
  2. Install the SQL 2008 native client with default settings
  3. From the run command – %systemdrive%\Windows\SysWoW64\Odbcad32.exe
  4. Select the System DSN Tab
  5. Choose the Native SQL Client
  6. Run through the rest of the setup of the DSN connection as normal.
  7. Run the vCenter installation as normal and the installation program should show you DSN as a Database connection option.

Note – If you go back to Start > Administrative Tools > Data Sources (ODBC) no  DSN’s will appear. This is normal as they have been created using the 32-bit tool and so will only show up when you launch it from %systemdrive%\Windows\SysWoW64\Odbcad32.exe

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