The vCenter Server Appliance is a preconfigured Linux-based virtual machine that is optimized for running vCenter Server and the associated services.

The vCenter Server Appliance reduces the deployment time of vCenter Server and the associated services, and provides a low-cost alternative to the Windows-based vCenter Server installation.

The vCenter Server Appliance package contains the following software:

  • Project Photon OS® 1.0

  • The Platform Services Controller group of infrastructure services

  • The vCenter Server group of services

  • PostgreSQL

  • VMware vSphere Update Manager Extension

Version 6.5 of the vCenter Server Appliance is deployed with virtual hardware version 10, which supports 64 virtual CPUs per virtual machine in ESXi.

The vCenter Server Appliance uses the embedded PostgreSQL database that has the scalability of up to 2,000 hosts and 35,000 virtual machines. During the deployment, you can choose the vCenter Server Appliance size for your vSphere environment size and the storage size for your database requirements.

Starting with vSphere 6.5, the vCenter Server uses the VMware vSphere Update Manager Extension service. An external VMware Update Manager instance on Windows is no longer required for vSphere centralized automated patch and version management. For information about the vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller services, see vCenter Server Components and Services.

Starting with vSphere 6.5, the vCenter Server Appliance supports high availability. For information about configuring vCenter Server Appliance in a vCenter High Availability cluster, see vSphere Availability.

Starting with vSphere 6.5, the vCenter Server Appliance and Platform Services Controller appliance support file-based backup and restore. For information backing up and restoring, see File-Based Backup and Restore of vCenter Server Appliance.

For information about the vCenter Server Appliance maximums, see the Configuration Maximums documentation.