Deploy a VCH to a Basic vCenter Server Cluster

This topic provides instructions for deploying a virtual container host (VCH) in a very basic vCenter Server environment. This basic deployment allows you to test vSphere Integrated Containers Engine with vCenter Server before attempting a more complex deployment that corresponds to your real vSphere environment.

The vCenter Server instance to which you deploy the VCH must match the specifications listed in the prerequisites.


  • Deploy the vSphere Integrated Containers appliance. For information about deploying the appliance, see Deploy the vSphere Integrated Containers Appliance.
  • Download the vSphere Integrated Containers Engine bundle, vic_1.1.x-version.tar.gz, from https://vic_appliance_address:9443 and unpack it on your working machine. If you configured the appliance to use a different port for the file server, replace 9443 with the appropriate port.
  • Create or obtain a vCenter Server instance with the following configuration:
    • One datacenter
    • One cluster with two ESXi hosts and DRS enabled. You can use nested ESXi hosts for this example.
    • A shared datastore, that is accessible by both of the ESXi hosts.
    • The VM Network is present
    • One distributed virtual switch with one port group named vic-bridge
  • Verify that your vCenter Server instance and both of the ESXi hosts in the cluster meet the requirements in Environment Prerequisites for VCH Deployment.
  • Make sure that the correct firewall ports are open on the ESXi hosts. For information about how to open ports on ESXi hosts, see Open the Required Ports on ESXi Hosts.
  • Familiarize yourself with the vSphere Integrated Containers Engine binaries, as described in Contents of the vSphere Integrated Containers Engine Binaries.
  • Familiarize yourself with the options of the vic-machine create command described in VCH Deployment Options.


  1. Open a terminal on the system on which you downloaded and unpacked the vSphere Integrated Containers Engine binary bundle.
  2. Navigate to the directory that contains the vic-machine utility:
  3. Run the vic-machine create command.

    Wrap any option arguments that include spaces or special characters in quotes. Use single quotes if you are using vic-machine on a Linux or Mac OS system and double quotes on a Windows system. In these examples, the user name is wrapped in quotes because it contains @.

    • Linux OS:
      $ vic-machine-linux create
      --target vcenter_server_address
      --user 'Administrator@vsphere.local'
      --password vcenter_server_password
      --bridge-network vic-bridge
      --image-store shared_datastore_name
    • Windows:
      $ vic-machine-windows create
      --target vcenter_server_address
      --user "Administrator@vsphere.local"
      --password vcenter_server_password
      --bridge-network vic-bridge
      --image-store shared_datastore_name
    • Mac OS:
      $ vic-machine-darwin create
      --target vcenter_server_address
      --user 'Administrator@vsphere.local'
      --password vcenter_server_password
      --bridge-network vic-bridge
      --image-store shared_datastore_name

The vic-machine create command in this example specifies the minimum information required to deploy a VCH to vCenter Server:

  • The address of the vCenter Server instance on which to deploy the VCH, in the --target option.
  • The vCenter Single Sign-On user and password in the --user and --password options.
  • The port group named vic-bridge, for use as the container bridge network.
  • The name of the shared datastore to use as the image store, in which to store container images.
  • Disables the verification of clients that connect to this VCH by specifying the --no-tlsverify option.
  • Disables the verification of the vCenter Server certificate by specifying the --force option.

Because the vCenter Server instance only has one datacenter and one cluster, and uses the VM Network network, vic-machine create automatically detects and uses these resources.

This example deploys a VCH with the default name virtual-container-host.


At the end of a successful deployment, vic-machine displays information about the new VCH:

Initialization of appliance successful
VCH Admin Portal:
Published ports can be reached at:
Docker environment variables:
Environment saved in virtual-container-host/virtual-container-host.env
Connect to docker:
docker -H vch_address:2376 --tls info
Installer completed successfully

What to Do Next

To test your VCH, see Verify the Deployment of a VCH.

For examples of commands to deploy a VCH in various other vSphere configurations, see Advanced Examples of Deploying a VCH.

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