How to create an all in one vCO dev server on Windows 2008 64-bit

The recently released vCenter Orchestrator 4.1 requires and takes advantage of a 64-bit OS. For development purposes, it can be desirable to have a single server to perform the following roles:

  • Windows Domain Controller (Active Directory)
  • E-mail Server (POP3/SMTP)
  • Database Server
  • vCenter Server
  • vCO Server
  • vCO Client

This short article is intended to help you get all these services running on a single server. Setting up these features in an incorrect order may result in conflicting ports and/or the inability to get some of the software installed.

Base Operating System

For simplicity, I have installed Windows 2008 Server Enterprise 64-bit edition in a Virtual Machine. After installation and activation, apply all current security patches and software updates.


I have my dev machine configured with the following hardware:

  • Single CPU
  • 3 GB Memory
  • 40 GB Disk

VMware vCenter Installation

After your base operating system has been installed, you should go ahead and get VMware vCenter 4.1.x installed next. When installing vCenter, an instance of LDAP and SQLExpress (DB Instance name will be "SQLEXP_VIM") will be used to manage local authentication and data.

IMPORTANT: During installation, on the "Configure Ports" screen, change the LDAP port from 389 to 3899 and the SSL port from 636 to 6369. These changes from the defaults are required to prevent port conflicts when the server is promoted to a Domain Controller.

Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express for 2005

During the vCenter 4.1.x installation, an instance of SQL Express 2005 was installed. We'll use this instance for the databases for vCO and the mail server coming up in the next steps... You'll need to get the SQL Server Management Studio Express for 2005 so that you can create the necessary databases. You can download it from here: Download SQL Server Management Studio Express for 2005.

NOTE: You'll need to be logged in as the "administrator" account or run a command prompt as the "administrator" account, then execute the msi installer, otherwise the installation will fail at the end.

Create a database for vCenter Orchestrator named "VCO" and a database for your e-mail server if you choose to use hMailServer for e-mail.

Install Active Directory

Now that vCenter is installed, you can run "dcpromo" on the server to create a domain controller! Perform this step before continuing on to the vCO and mail server installations.

Install an e-mail server capable of POP3 and SMTP

For an e-mail server, you'll want something capable of at least 5 accounts (possibly more depending on your test scenarios.) For my test/dev server, I chose hMailServer and have it installed. The installation is pretty simple and straightforward.

VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) installation

Your base requirements are all set for a dev vCenter Orchestrator server so it is now safe to install vCenter Orchestrator 4.1.

The installation and configuration of vCenter 4.1 is nearly identical to that of vCenter 4.0. Please reference these articles for step-by-step instructions:

Utilities and Other Programs

Your core dev server is ready, but you may want to grab a few other programs and tools to make your test/dev experience better. Some of my personal favorites are as follows: