Identify available vCenter Server editions

vCenter comes in three different editions…

  • vCenter Server Foundation – Same as 4.x – Maximum 3 hosts, no support for linked mode and no orchestrator
  • vCenter Server Essentials – Same as foundation just bundled with Essentials and Essentials Plus.
  • vCenter Server Standard – Full Edition.  Comes in installable and in an appliance.  Appliance does have some limitations.

Deploy the vCenter Appliance

Appliance is a pre-configured Linux (SUSE Enterprise)  VM

No support for

  • MSSQL or IBM DB2 Databases
  • Does not support linked mode configurations
  • Does not support IPV6
  • Using the embedded database you only have support for up to 5 hosts and 50 VMs.
  • No Update Manager

Prerequisites

  • Must have vSphere Client
  • Can deploy on hosts running ESX 4.x or ESXi 4.x or later
  • Needs at least 7GB of space.  Limited to a max of 80GB

Download VMDK and OVF files from vmware.com.  Files must be stored in the same folder before deploying.  Deploy OVF in standard way.

Install vCenter Server into a virtual machine

Advantages of running vCenter virtualized

  • No need to dedicate a physical server to run vCenter
  • Can take advantage of vSphere HA
  • Ability to vMotion vCenter for hardware maintenance purposes
  • Allows for snapshots of vCenter to use for backups or archiving.

Size the vCenter Server database

There are many items which may affect the size of your vCenter Server database including number of hosts and VMs as well as the logging and statistics collection levels you specify in vCenter.  In the Statistics section of the vCenter server settings you can select your collection/retention levels and enter in your number of hosts and VMs and have it estimate the space required for the database.  There is also a sizing spreadsheet located here that you can download.

Install additional vCenter Server components

The following components come with the vCenter installation

  • vCenter Server for Windows (that include also the Orchestrator)
  • vSphere Client
  • vSphere Web Client (server part for Windows)
  • vSphere Update Manager
  • ESXi Dump Collector
  • Syslog Server
  • Auto Deploy
  • vSphere Authentication Proxy

Install/Remove vSphere Client plug-ins

The following plugins are packaged with vCenter server

  • vCenter Storage Monitoring – retrieves information on storage usage and can visually map relationships between all storage  entities
  • vCenter Hardware Status – Uses CIM monitoring to display the hardware status of shots.
  • vCenter Service Status – Displays the status of the vCenter services.

Plugins packaged separately

  • vSphere Update Manager – applies patches and updates to ESXi hosts and VM's  Ability to create security baselines and remediate non compliant hosts/VMs.
  • vShield Zones – Application aware firewall built for vCenter Server integration.
  • vCenter Orchestrator – A workflow engine that enables you to create and run automated workflows
    in your vSphere environment.
  • Data Recovery – Disk based backup and recovery solution to provide data protection for VM's.

To Install  – Plugins->Manage Plugins ->Download and Install

To Remove – Use Add/Remove Programs

Enable/Disable vSphere Client plug-ins

To Enabled/Disable – Plugins -> Manage Plugins -> Enable/Disable.

***NOTE*** disabling does not remove it.  If you want to remove you need to uninstall the plugin.

 License vCenter Server

Licensed on a per Server basis.  If in a linked mode group each instance needs vCenter needs a license.  Essentials licenses do not allow you to exceed the allotted amount of vRam.

Determine availability requirements for a vCenter Server in a given vSphere implementation

Determine use case for vSphere Client and Web Client

vSphere Client

  • Traditional interface which people are used to.
  • Provides all functionality of management
  • Can connect to vCenter or directly to ESXi hosts.
  • Windows OS only.
  • Basically for VI-Admins for daily and specialized functions.

Web Client

  • Subset of the functionality included in vSphere Client.
  • Can only have one vCenter registered with it unless that vCenter is in a linked mode environment.
  • Cross Platform
  • Can only connect to a vCenter, not an ESXi host directly.
  • Typically used for other users (network/storage teams, etc).