Some pitfalls when installing vCenter SSO using a custom DB

SSO-MultiSIteSSO_thumbWhen installing vCenter Single Sign On (SSO) you have three options:

  • Install SSO as part of the VMware vCenter Simple Install option – In this case vCenter SSO, the vCenter Webservices and vCenter Server will be installed by one single wizard using default settings;
  • Install SSO as a separate product, using the included SQL Server Express database;
  • Install SSO as a separate product, using an existing database server (Oracle, MS SQL or DB2).

This article will discuss some general SSO pitfalls, and focus on the third option using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. After the SSO installation is started, a first important choice has to be made:

  • Create a new primary node
  • Join an existing vCenter SSO Installation
  • Recover a previous SSO installation

Because we’re running a new SSO installation, we choose the first option. The next screen shows the following selection:


You can choose to install a basic vCenter SSO, or choose to create a new primary node to use the options displayed in the wizard (multinode or multisite). There’s an article available on, which discusses the (architectural) consequences of this choice. For example: when running VMware SRM, a multisite configuration is a very interesting option.

Configure an existing MS SQL Database for vCenter SSO

In the next step we’ve got to choose if want to use an existing database, or just use the included SQL Express database:


We choose the second option, but something is stated wrong in the wizard. The installer tells you have to run the script “rsaIMSLiteMSSQLSetupTablespaces.sql”. Unfortunately this is not the only script you have run; after running this script you should also run the “rsaIMSLiteMSSQLSetupUsers” script which is available in the same directory (Things are correctly in the installation manual, but not in the wizard so be careful). If you don’t run this second script, you’ve to setup vCenter SSO users manually which makes the installation more complicated. Just run the script to prevent mistakes.

The first script will create a new database called “RSA”, the second script will create two users with the correct permissions called “RSA_USER” and “RSA_DBA”.

Note: You have to set a few values in the scripts:

  • Location of the MS SQL database data folder;
  • Passwords for RSA_USER and RSA_DBA, these are both SQL users.

Important: Don’t use special characters in the passwords for the RSA_USER and RSA_DBA accounts, otherwise you can run into the following error:

Error 29115 Cannot authenticate to DB

This error and solution is discussed in KB Article 2035449.

You will find a third script on the installation directory called “rsaIMSLiteMSSQLCreateSchema”, this script should not be executed otherwise you will end up with an error in the installation wizard.

The remaining part of the wizard is pretty straight forward. In case you have errors the vCenter SSO installer will log additional information in the file vm-sso-javalib.log, which can be found in Windows temp directory (%temp%).

After completing the SSO installation, the next step is to install the vCenter Webservices service if you’re planning to install vCenter Server…

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About viktorious

Viktor van den Berg is a Solution Architect at PQR and VCDX #121.

Viktor is a regular speaker at seminars and conferences. Continue reading...

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