Second vCenter was a Windows embedded that had to join the SSO domain and setup a new site.
Got the error:
failed to run vdcpromo - on the top part of the error: "install.vmafd.vmdir_vdcpromo_error"
Sean Whitney's post is the only help I found from a Google Search on such an error (and yes, the installation with the generic error 1603 he mentions)
The path where I saw logs was C:\ProgramData\VMware\vCenterServer\logs though, and they only persisted until the zip file was done bundling up.
I ruled out:
1) that my SSO password had a ! sign, changed it to a @ - it still happened, so that wasn't it... it sounded weird since we've used VMware1! in VMware labs forever...
2) In my second try I got a message that said this windows VM and the VCSA were off by 22 seconds
Thanks to Google I found the commands to check NTP from the VCSA console
Command> ntp.test --server time.windows.com
Message: Failed to reach 'time.windows.com'.
well well - let's change that
Command> ntp.server.delete --server time.windows.com
Command> ntp.server.add --server 0.pool.ntp.org
Command> ntp.test --server 0.pool.ntp.org
Message: '0.pool.ntp.org' is reachable.
I went to my PDC and updated the time server to match the NTP server
w32tm /config /manualpeerlist:0.pool.ntp.org /syncfromflags:manual /reliable:yes /update
and rebooted the PDC - system event logs confirm it's now syncing to this server.
I cancelled the installation, rebooted the vCenter and tried again.
Now it complans i'm off by 16 seconds. Ayayayayay. Then I got it differs by 5 seconds.
I'm pissed by now.
Let's try to get this VCSA to sync directly from the lone PDC - I can't make it faster than my freaking LAN.
on the PDC, if you hadn't already, make sure it's a reliable time server: