In first post of this series Installing and Configuring Esxi we looked into Installation of Esxi 6.5 and as I stated in that post installation method has not changed at all. In this post we will look into overview of VCSA and will discuss about VCSA components.

Staring with vSphere 6.0, vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) 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. Same holds true for v6.5 as well.

Earlier in v6.0 there was a limitation that if you are planning to use VUM in your infrastructure, you have to install it on a windows server.

Lot of customers had provided the feedback to VMware to include VUM with linux based VCSA and VMware listened to them and now in v6.5 VUM can be used alongside VCSA on same node. This I guess was a bit of challenge for VMware and Engineers have done a commendable job to make this happen. We all should be highly thankful to the team for making this a reality.

The vCenter Server Appliance is a preconfigured Linux-based virtual machine that is optimized for running vCenter Server and the associated services. VCSA is available in ovf format and thus it reduces the deployment time of vCenter Server and also provides a low-cost alternative to the Windows-based vCenter Server installation.

The vCenter Server Appliance contains the following software packaged inside:

  • Project Photon OS® 1.0
  • The Platform Services Controller group of infrastructure services
  • The vCenter Server group of services
  • PostgreSQL

vCenter Server Components and Services

vCenter Server provides a centralized platform for managing, operating and resource provisioning for virtual machines and Esxi hosts.

vCenter server can be either installed with embedded Platform Service Controller or can use external PSC.

The following components are included in the vCenter Server and vCenter Server Appliance installations:

Platform Services Controller:  It contains vCenter Single Sign-On, License service, Lookup Service, and VMware Certificate Authority.

vCenter Server: contains vCenter Server, vSphere Web Client, vSphere Auto Deploy, and vSphere ESXi Dump Collector. vCenter Server for Windows also contains the VMware vSphere Syslog Collector. The vCenter Server Appliance also contains the VMware vSphere Update Manager Extension service.

A note on VCSA 6.5

VCSA 6.5 is deployed with hardware version 10, which supports 64 virtual CPUs per virtual machine in ESXi. It uses the embedded PostgreSQL database that has the scalability of up to 2,000 hosts and 35,000 virtual machines.

In v6.5, the VCSA and Platform Services Controller appliance support file-based backup and restore.

VCSA High Availability

Starting with vSphere 6.5, the vCenter Server Appliance supports high availability.This solution consists of an Active, Passive, and Witness nodes. The Passive and Witness nodes are clones from the original (Active) vCenter Server.

There are two supported workflows: Basic & Advanced.

The Basic workflow will clone the nodes, and create rules for placement. DRS and Storage DRS are not requirements but provide automated placement when available. The Basic workflow is flexible, allowing the choice of node placement within a cluster or across clusters within a vCenter Server.

Placing nodes in different clusters, datacenters, or vCenter Servers requires the Advanced workflow. This is a manual process, including cloning of the nodes and placement.

Thats it for this post. In next few posts of this series, we will dive more into vCenter Server and learn about the deployment types and also will see how to install Windows based vcenter  server and VCSA.

Disclaimer: Info about VCSA High availability has been taken from Emad Younis blog VCSA 6.5 What’s New

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