A new option in vSphere 5 is to deploy vCenter as a virtual appliance. Although not a 100% replacement of the traditional Windows vCenter install it is very useful for test environments because it is very easy to deploy. The download is in ovf format. When I wanted to try it in VMware Workstation 7 I could not import the ovf appliance with “The OVF descriptor file could not be parsed” error. The reason for that is an incompatibility of the OVF format in VMware Workstation with the one in vSphere. To solve it download the VMware OVF Tool from http://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/server/vsphere/automationtools/ovf, install it and convert the vCenter Server Appliance ovf with the following command:
"c:\Program Files\VMware\VMware OVF Tool\ovftool.exe" VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance-18.104.22.16824-472350_OVF10.ovf VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance.vmx
Opening OVF source: VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance-22.214.171.12424-472350_OVF10.ovf
Warning: No manifest file
Opening VMX target: VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance.vmx
Writing VMX file: VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance.vmx
Disk Transfer Completed
The created vmx file can be now opened and run in VMware Workstation. Do not forget to dial down the memory requirements (8 GB by default) to something more reasonable. The default credentials to the appliance are login: root, password: vmware.