I’ll add additional posts as I run into new things, here are my notes so far.
If you’re using Windows 2008 R2 U1 install the “feature” .NET 3.5.1 before you do anything else or you won’t be able to add it later – and it’s needed for the fat/C# vSphere client (which is still needed to connect directly to hosts and manage Update Manager.)
The Simple installation may take a while. And may look like it is hung, and may prompt to “disable scripts that are causing this window to run slowly”. Don’t cancel the scripts, just be patient.
During installation you are required to set a complex password for SSO. However, once installed you can change that password to anything 5 characters or longer incl “12345” and “password”. Please note those are not suggestions, but that is the same combination I use on my luggage.
Install Firefox. The webclient just runs better on the Fox. Still very slow compared to the C# client, but much better than under IE.
Install Adobe Flash. And you might need to get it here – in my environment the link at Adobe never completes installation – but it does automatically remove the installer regardless of installation completing.
Web client requires you to login to https://localhost:9443 at least once, and the first time you’ll want to use firstname.lastname@example.org (the default SSO account) because…
If you login to vSphere as the local windows admin and no vCenter Server appears in the list, that is because the local admin has rights to login to the webclient but no no longer gets automatic access to vSphere. So you’ll have to login using email@example.com to grant permissions.
Once logged in, go to Administration / Configuration / Identity Sources and add your AD domain so you can give your AD accounts permissions and turn on integrated authentication.
The vSphere 5.5 Web Client thinks it is 5.1. See, I told you it was slow!