You can install vCenter Server on a virtual machine or a physical server running Microsoft Windows Server 2008 SP2 or later, or can deploy the vCenter Server Appliance. The vCenter Server Appliance is a preconfigured Linux-based virtual machine, optimized for running vCenter Server.

vSphere 6.0 introduces vCenter Server with an embedded Platform Services Controller and vCenter Server with an external Platform Services Controller.

Important:

This documentation provides information about the basic deployment models. For information about the recommended topologies, see List of recommended topologies for vSphere 6.0.x.

vCenter Server with an embedded Platform Services Controller

All services bundled with the Platform Services Controller are deployed on the same virtual machine or physical server as vCenter Server.

vCenter Server with an external Platform Services Controller

The services bundled with the Platform Services Controller and vCenter Server are deployed on different virtual machines or physical servers.

You first must deploy the Platform Services Controller on one virtual machine or physical server and then deploy vCenter Server on another virtual machine or physical server.

Note:

After you deploy vCenter Server with an embedded Platform Services Controller, you can reconfigure your topology and switch to vCenter Server with an external Platform Services Controller. This is a one-way process after which you cannot switch back to vCenter Server with an embedded Platform Services Controller. You can repoint the vCenter Server instance only to an external Platform Services Controller that is configured to replicate the infrastructure data within the same domain.

vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller

vCenter Server and the Platform Services Controller are deployed on a single virtual machine or physical server.

Figure 1. vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller


vCenter Server with an embedded Platform Services Controller installed on the same virtual machine or physical server.


Installing vCenter Server with an embedded Platform Services Controller has the following advantages:

  • The connection between vCenter Server and the Platform Services Controller is not over the network, and vCenter Server is not prone to outages because of connectivity and name resolution issues between vCenter Server and the Platform Services Controller.

  • If you install vCenter Server on Windows virtual machines or physical servers, you will need fewer Windows licenses.

  • You will have to manage fewer virtual machines or physical servers.

  • You do not need a load balancer to distribute the load across Platform Services Controller.

Installing with an embedded Platform Services Controller has the following disadvantages:

  • There is a Platform Services Controller for each product which might be more than required. This consumes more resources.

  • The model is suitable for small-scale environments.

vCenter Server with an External Platform Services Controller

vCenter Server and the Platform Services Controller are deployed on separate virtual machine or physical server. The Platform Services Controller can be shared across several vCenter Server instances. You can install a Platform Services Controller and then install several vCenter Server instances and register them with the Platform Services Controller. You can then install another Platform Services Controller, configure it to replicate data with the first Platform Services Controller, and then install vCenter Server instances and register them with the second Platform Services Controller.

Figure 2. vCenter Server with an External Platform Services Controller
The Platform Services Controller is installed on one virtual machine or physical host and the vCenter Server instances registered with that Platform Services Controller are installed on other virtual machines or physical hosts.

Installing vCenter Server with an external Platform Services Controller has the following advantages:

  • Less resources consumed by the combined services in the Platform Services Controllers enables a reduced footprint and reduced maintenance.

  • Your environment can consist of more vCenter Server instances.

Installing vCenter Server with an external Platform Services Controller has the following disadvantages:

  • The connection between vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller is over the network and is prone to connectivity and name resolution issues.

  • If you install vCenter Server on Windows virtual machines or physical servers, you need more Microsoft Windows licenses.

  • You must manage more virtual machines or physical servers.

Mixed Operating Systems Environment

A vCenter Server instance installed on Windows can be registered with either a Platform Services Controller installed on Windows or a Platform Services Controller appliance. A vCenter Server Appliance, can be registered with either a Platform Services Controller installed on Windows or a Platform Services Controller appliance. Both vCenter Server and the vCenter Server Appliance can be registered with the same Platform Services Controller within a domain.

Figure 3. Example of a Mixed Operating Systems Environment with an External Platform Services Controller on Windows


External Platform Services Controller in a Windows virtual machine or physical server serving a vCenter Server for Windows instance and a vCenter Server Appliance instance.


Figure 4. Example of a Mixed Operating Systems Environment with an External Platform Services Controller Appliance


External Platform Services Controller in a Linux virtual machine or physical server serving a vCenter Server for Windows instance and a vCenter Server Appliance instance.


Having many Platform Services Controllers that replicate their infrastructure data, allows you to ensure high availability of your system.

If an external Platform Services Controller with which your vCenter Server instance or vCenter Server Appliance was initially registered, stops responding, you can repoint your vCenter Server or vCenter Server Appliance to another external Platform Services Controller in the domain. For more information, see Repoint vCenter Server to Another External Platform Services Controller.