vSphere-6:Part 1-Introduction

As part of my preparation for VCP6-DCV exam I have decided to start learning vSphere 6 and started setting up my lab for the same.

This will be a long series of posts where we will look into Installation, Configuration and Management of vSphere 6 components. A lot has been changed with vSphere 6 and its time to learn some new stuffs. So let’s get started.

Introduction to VMware vSphere 6.0

With Vmware vSphere 6.0 many changes are done in architecture and some new features were introduced. One of the major changes that were introduced in vSphere 6.0 was removing the dependency on inbuilt database server (MS SQL Express) by introducing vPostgres SQL as embedded database for vCenter server installation.

However you can use external database you can use MS-SQL or Oracle (only for windows based vCenter Server). For vCSA you are bounded to use vPostgres SQL database (which I think a hard move from VMware)

vSphere 6.0 version comparison

vSphere 6.0 is coming in 3 editions:

1: Standard: The standard version of vSphere 6 provides you following feature:

  • HA and FT for 2 vCPU
  • Data protection(VDP) and vSphere Replication (For replicating VM from one vSphere Infrastructure to other)
  • vVOLS(Must be supported by backend storage) for creating virtualization aware storage
  • SPBM(Storage Policy Based Management): For creating storage policies and assign it to VM to place it on appropriate storage. This is achieved via API calls made by vSphere to storage
  • Content Library: A centralized place on vCenter to store iso images and vApps for a centralized management

2: Enterprise: Enterprise version of vSphere 6.0 provides all the features provided by standard version plus some additional features which are listed below:

  • VAAI (vSphere API for Array Integration)
  • BDE (Big Data Extensions)

3: Enterprise plus: vSphere 6.0 Enterprise Plus edition covers all features of enterprise version plus some additional features like:

  • FT for 4 CPU
  • Host profile/Auto Deploy
  • Flash Read Cache-Requires SSD disks on each Esxi server. FRC is enabled per VM and when enabled it increases storage Read IO throughput’s.
  • Long distance and cross vCenter vMotion

For a complete list of new features that are introduced in vSphere 6.0 I would recommend reading this wonderful blog by Eric Siebert.

For more detailed information on version comparison please read this Article by Thomas Krenn.

vSphere 6 Configuration maximums

With vSphere 6 VMware published a new set of  values for configuration maximums for the virtual infrastructure. This is the very first thing most of the people wanna know when VMware announces a new release of vSphere as they want to know how big a virtual infrastructure can grow.

To get a sneak peak of what has been changed with vSphere 6.0 have a look on the below comparison table between vSphere 6.0 and 5.5.


vSphere 6- Architectural Changes

One of the major changes in vSphere 6 is the change in architecture of vCenter Server 6. The way vCenter was deployed has been changed big times. With vCenter 6 VMware introduced concept of Platform Services controller (PSC).

PSC is replacement for Single Sign On with some more added functionality. PSC takes SSO to next level by providing and synchronizing SSO, licenses and certificates across the virtual infrastructure.

vCenter Server has been split into 2 parts in vSphere 6. One part is now called the Management Node and the other is the Platform Services Controller.


PSC consists of following components and are deployed when we deploy PSC:

1: VMware Certificate Authority (VMCA)

2: Single Sign On (SSO): SSO includes

  • Single Token Service (STS)
  • Identity Management Service (IdM)
  • Directory Service (VMDir)

3:VMware Licensing Service (Formerly held by vCenter Server)

4: Misc Services including:

  • VMware Common Logging Service
  • VMware Component Manager Service
  • VMware HTTP Reverse Proxy

PSC can be deployed in 2 modes:

  • Embedded
  • Centralized


You can have multiple PSC talking to one another for high availability and it is compatible with both vCSA and Windows based vCenter Server.

To know more about PSC in details I would recommend reading this Blog by Jonathan McDonald

vCSA Vs Windows Based vCenter Server?

With VMware vSphere 6 vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) now offers same scalability as provided by windows based vCenter Server installation. Earlier there was a limitation with vCSA that it cannot support huge infrastructure where you have a lot of Esxi hosts and virtual machines running.

This has forced customers to use windows based vCenter installation which could cost them an additional license for windows server instance and if they are planning to use external database then a database license as well. It is no more the case as vCSA now supports same scalability as compared to its windows based counterpart and thus saving some money for customers.

Web-Client Improvements

In vSphere 6 the performance and the response time of Web-Client has been enhanced significantly – so working with the Web Client instead of the C# Client will not be a problem/challenge anymore.

The look & feel of the Web Client have also been improved and it is now much more similar to the good old vSphere Client. For instance the the recent tasks are now shown in bottom, just like in the vSphere Client as compared to previous version of Web-Client where it was displayed in left hand side bottom corner (Which I hated a lot).


Also in vSphere 6 Web-Client Vmware has  given an option for customizing User Interface. The position of all sections are customizable. To change the position simply drag and drop the section to the desired position.



To read more about improvements in Web-Client please have a look on this Blog by Brian Trainor

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