A vCenter Server deployment can consist of one or several vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller instances according to the scale, number of virtual machines and continuity requirements for your environment.

You also determine the type of installation and the topology of the vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller instances.

Table 1. Design Decisions on the Number of vCenter Server Instances

Decision ID

Design Decision

Design Justification

Design Implication

SDDC-VI-VC-001

Deploy two vCenter Server systems in the first availability zone of each region.

  • One vCenter Server supporting the SDDC management components.

  • One vCenter Server supporting the edge components and tenant workloads.

Isolates vCenter Server failures to management or tenant workloads.

Isolates vCenter Server operations between management and tenants.

Supports a scalable cluster design where you might reuse the management components as more tenant workloads are added to the SDDC.

Simplifies capacity planning for tenant workloads because you do not consider management workloads for the Compute vCenter Server.

Improves the ability to upgrade the vSphere environment and related components by providing for explicit separation of maintenance windows:

  • Management workloads remain available while you are upgrading the tenant workloads

  • Tenant workloads remain available while you are upgrading the management nodes

Supports clear separation of roles and responsibilities to ensure that only administrators with proper authorization can attend to the management workloads.

Facilitates quicker troubleshooting and problem resolution.

Simplifies disaster recovery operations by supporting a clear demarcation between recovery of the management components and compute workloads.

Enables the use of two NSX Manager instances, one for the management cluster and one for the shared edge and compute cluster. Network separation of the clusters in the SDDC provides isolation of potential network issues.

Requires licenses for each vCenter Server instance.

You can install vCenter Server as a Windows-based system or deploy the Linux-based VMware vCenter Server Appliance. The Linux-based vCenter Server Appliance is preconfigured, enables fast deployment, and potentially results in reduced Microsoft licensing costs.

Table 2. Design Decisions on the vCenter Server Platform

Decision ID

Design Decision

Design Justification

Design Implication

SDDC-VI-VC-002

Deploy all vCenter Server instances as Linux-based vCenter Server Appliances.

Supports fast deployment, enables scalability, and reduces Microsoft licensing costs.

Operational staff needs Linux experience to troubleshoot the Linux-based appliances.

Platform Services Controller Design Decisions

vCenter Server supports installation with an embedded Platform Services Controller (embedded deployment) or with an external Platform Services Controller.

  • In an embedded deployment, the vCenter Server instance and the Platform Services Controller instance run on the same virtual machine.

  • In an environment with an external Platform Services Controller, multiple vCenter Server systems can share the same Platform Services Controller services. For example, several vCenter Server systems can use the same instance of vCenter Single Sign-On for authentication.

Table 3. Design Decisions on Platform Service Controller

Decision ID

Design Decision

Design Justification

Design Implication

SDDC-VI-VC-003

Deploy two external Platform Services Controller instances.

You can implement high availability of their services by placing a load balancer in front of the external Platform Services Controller instances. As a result, the replication between the Platform Services Controller instances is still available after you add or remove vCenter Servers.

The number of VMs that have to be managed increases.

SDDC-VI-VC-004

Join all Platform Services Controller instances to a single vCenter Single Sign-On domain.

When all Platform Services Controller instances are joined in to a single vCenter Single Sign-On domain, they can share authentication and license data across all components and regions.

Only one Single Sign-On domain exists.

SDDC-VI-VC-005

Create a ring topology for the Platform Service Controller instances.

By default, one Platform Service Controller instance replicates only with another Platform Services Controller instance. This setup creates a single point of failure for replication. A ring topology ensures that each Platform Service Controller instance has two replication partners and removes any single point of failure.

You use command-line interface commands to configure the ring replication topology.

SDDC-VI-VC-006

Use an NSX Edge services gateway as a load balancer for the Platform Services Controller instances.

Using a load balancer increases the availability of the Platform Services Controller instances for all applications.

Configuring the load balancer introduces administrative overhead.

Figure 1. vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller Deployment Model
vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller Deployment Model