back to article VMware flings vCenter Server away from Windows, if you want

VMware has released vSphere 6.0 Update 2m, with the main feature being a vCenter Server for Windows to vCenter Server Appliance migration tool. vCenter is VMware's key management application and comes in two flavours. vCenter Server for Windows runs on Microsoft's famous operating systems and lets you manage VMs. VMware has …

  1. ArthurKinnell

    One step closer

    to clearing out Windows from our server room.

  2. James Turner

    Update Manager

    The elephant in the room, you still need a Windows server for updating your hosts.

    1. DougMac

      Re: Update Manager

      Or do host updates from the command line. So much quicker and easier than running VUM.

  3. steamrunner

    The real elephant in the room

    The real elephant in the room: running your management server/appliance on the platform that it actually manages.

    Can anyone here put 'chicken', 'eggs' and 'basket' into a single coherent sentence and not two separate clichés ?!

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: The real elephant in the room

      The other option would be to run it as a physical server, but then you've still got a single point of failure, and at least with a VM, you might be able to migrate it to a working host if your hardware fails in a non terminal way.

      What they need is some way to have multiple, redundant, management servers. Ideally both physical and virtual.

      1. SteveK

        Re: The real elephant in the room

        The other option would be to run it as a physical server, but then you've still got a single point of failure, and at least with a VM, you might be able to migrate it to a working host if your hardware fails in a non terminal way.

        I run it as the only VM on a standalone (free) ESXi box that it doesn't manage. So I can still take snapshots before upgrades and take advantage of hardware abstraction so can move it via shared storage to another box if the first one blows up (and have done so).

      2. Benno

        Re: The real elephant in the room

        You can have multiple vCenter (grrr US spelling...) servers, but you'll pay for it.

        I used to have a dedicated physical VCS v2.0 system (yes it was a while ago!), but the egg/basket equation is just nasty if the box completely dies and is offline for longer than planned due to spares availability, smoke etc...

        If you have it on an ESXi cluster, you can vMotion it around during host maintenance. If you have an unplanned host outage, you can manually delete/re-add it into inventory on another host (or go through the CLI host-ownership rigmarole if it really goes south). The inventory delete/re-add is also the method required for cold migrations.

        (shared storage assumed)

        Right now I need to do the whole boot storage controller architecture change on our vCenter box, which means killing the host management agents to 'break' host connectivity with vCenter (the software), in order to change the vCenter (virtual hardware).

        Fun times!

  4. BurnStuff

    Not distributed as a VM

    It's worth mentioning that the vCSA is no longer distributed as a VM. It is now distributed as an ISO and uses a browser based installation routine that requires a Windows plugin. (I'm not sure if a Linux plugin exists). The install routine connects to your ESXi host and builds you the vCSA.

    Having completed an install a couple of nights ago it's pretty easy once you get your head around installing a plugin so that you can use a browser based installer so that you can build a VM on a remote ESXi host!

    1. kpanchev

      Re: Not distributed as a VM

      You don't need a windows machine to deploy the vCSA, it is quite happy with a scripted deploy under linux.

      As for the chicken/egg problem, it seems that none of you have heard of HA or FT, no problem running a redundant appliance on a second host. And with the latest version you also have linked mode, so running multiple appliances in parallel is an option if you so desire.

  5. K


    Still no linux based Update Manager? So you still need to keep the Windows server around!

  6. J. Cook Silver badge

    Running vCenter VM on the cluster it's managing...

    ... actually does work ,so long as you take some sensible precautions when doing scheduled maintenance, like patching hosts from VUM or manually updating hosts, etc.

    make sure the first host you start with is *not* hosting the vCenter server. I'll get to why in a moment. do whatever needs to be done to it.

    Once it's back up, manually vMotion the vCenter box to that host, by itself, at highest priority.

    If, for some inexplicable reason you are recovering from something stupid, like the host that held vCenter threw a purple screen of death or some other horrible failure, if you have an idea what host has the vCenter box on it, you can log onto the host directly using the web client or the vCenter client and at least get console access to resurrect the vCenter server.

    (been there, done that, worn out the t-shirt.)

    1. Atilla_the_bun

      Re: Running vCenter VM on the cluster it's managing...

      OK, so I'm administering a VSA (pre esxi 6 stuff) based on essentials plus. It's all installed in a three node esxi cluster. Wow does it run well, lose a single host (we did - hardware failure) not a problem, no one here noticed. However, I dare you try and move that hardware to a new physical location where you have to turn them all off without grief unless you have an external (free) esxi host that you somehow manage to migrate the vcenter server and its domain controllers to (off course it's windows and off course it's domain based SSO and off course it's in the cluster). Think about how you do that for a minute.

      Vmware why would you let someone install that configuration? Sure I can maintain each host one at a time, but have you ever tried putting into taking out of maintenance mode an entire cluster where the vcenter server is in the cluster?

      OK, so I don't make vcenter server part of the cluster and I don't add it to my domain. Cool works well. Apart from all those really neat features like HA which IS WHY I BOUGHT THE EF>ING cluster with essentials plus in the first place. Vcenter needs protection too you know.

      Essentials plus is really really good until it is not, then it sucks really really well.

      Never mind, just another small business that loves the idea of esxi and all the trimmings but can't afford what I really need to have.

      1. Geronimo!

        Re: Running vCenter VM on the cluster it's managing...

        Hmmm, in case of a redeployment somewhere else, I'd have put out the first node in the new building, even if it'd be with local storage only.

        Migrate the vCenter over there and then move over the other nodes.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like