VMware vSphere is a suite of software components for virtualization. These include ESXi, vCenter, and other software components that fulfill a number of different functions in the vSphere environment. VMware manages many parts of your VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC for you, but you can examine all components, and change certain parts of the configuration.

vSphere Components

vSphere includes the following software components:

ESXi
The hypervisor on which you run virtual machines as a set of configuration and disk files that together perform all the functions of a physical machine.
Note:

No VMware Cloud on AWS user has physical access to ESXi host hardware or root access to the ESXi operating system. This means that you can't add, remove, or manage ESXi users, or undertake any other aspects of Host Management with the VMware Host Client.

vCenter
A service that acts as a central administrator for VMware ESXi hosts.

vCenter runs continuously in the background. It performs its monitoring and managing activities even when no clients are connected.

VMware Cloud on AWS includes a single vCenter that can be connected to an on-premises vCenter using Hybrid Linked Mode.

vCenter Single Sign-On
A service that is part of the vCenter management infrastructure. The vCenter Single Sign-On authentication service makes the VMware cloud infrastructure platform more secure by allowing the various vSphere software components to communicate with each other through a secure token exchange mechanism, instead of requiring each component to authenticate a user separately with a directory service like Active Directory.

vSphere Interfaces

The vSphere interface you use depends on the task you want to perform and on the component you want to manage.

vSphere Client
The vSphere Client is an HTML5-based client for managing VMware Cloud on AWS. vSphere Client also performs most configuration tasks for on-premises vSphere SDDCs.
vSphere Command-Line Interfaces
vSphere supports multiple command-line interfaces for configuring virtual machines and other vSphere components. See Using PowerShell and PowerCLI in the SDDC.
vSphere SDKs
vSphere supports several SDKs for managing different aspects of your vSphere environment.
Virtual Machine Console
Just as a physical machine, each virtual machine has a console that supports certain management tasks, depending on the operating system.

vCenter Features

Many vCenter features that required special licensing in earlier versions of the product are available as part of the vSphere Standard license in vSphere 6.x and are also supported for VMware Cloud on AWS.

vCenter features include:

vSphere vMotion
Enables you to move running virtual machines from one ESXi host to another ESXi host without service interruption.
Storage vMotion
Allows you to move the disks and configuration file of a running virtual machine from one datastore to another without service interruption.
vSphere High Availability
vSphere High Availability ensures that if a host fails in an SDDC cluster, all virtual machines on the host are restarted on another host in the same cluster. vSphere High Availability settings are preconfigured in VMware Cloud on AWS and cannot be changed by customers.
vSphere DRS
Helps improve resource allocation and power consumption across all hosts and resource pools. vSphere DRS collects resource use information for all hosts and virtual machines in the cluster and or migrates virtual machines in the following situations:
  • Initial placement – When you power on a virtual machine in the cluster for the first time, DRS either places the virtual machine or makes a recommendation.
  • Load balancing – DRS attempts to improve resource use across the cluster by performing automatic migrations of virtual machines (vMotion) or by providing a recommendation for virtual machine migrations.
See Using Policies and Profiles for more detail on the storage policies that govern DRS operation in the SDDC.