VMware vSphere is a suite of software components for virtualization. These include ESXi, vCenter Server, 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:


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.

vCenter Server

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

vCenter Server 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 Server that can be connected to an on-premises vCenter Server using Hybrid Linked Mode.

vCenter Single Sign-On

A service that is part of the vCenter Server 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.

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 Server Features

Many vCenter Server 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 Server features include:

vSphere vMotion

Enables you to move running virtual machines from one ESXi host to another ESXi host without service interruption. vSphere HA uses vSphere vMotion to migrate virtual machines if a host becomes unavailable.

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

If a host fails on a cluster that is enabled for vSphere HA, all virtual machines on the host are restarted on different hosts in the same cluster. In an VMware Cloud on AWS environment vSphere HA settings are preconfigured.

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.

vSphere DRS includes distributed power management (DPM) capabilities. When DPM is enabled, the system compares cluster-level and host-level capacity to the demands of virtual machines that are running in the cluster. Based on the results of the comparison, DPM performs actions that can reduce the power consumption of the cluster.

Storage DRS

Allows you to manage multiple datastores as a single resource, called a datastore cluster. A datastore cluster is an aggregation of multiple datastores into a single logical, load-balanced pool. You can treat the datastore cluster as a single flexible storage resource for resource management purposes. You can assign a virtual disk to a datastore cluster, and Storage DRS finds an appropriate datastore for it. The load balancer takes care of initial placement and future migrations based on workload measurements. Storage space balancing and I/O balancing minimize the risk of running out of space and the risk of I/O bottlenecks slowing the performance of virtual machines.

vSphere Fault Tolerance

vSphere Fault Tolerance provides continuous availability for virtual machines by creating and maintaining a Secondary VM that is identical to the Primary VM. This Secondary VM is continuously available to replace the Primary VM in a failover situation.