It’s quite evident that with the release of vSphere 6.5, VMware has bet on linux centric approach. vCenter Server appliance is in existence since the release of vSphere 5.0 , however there were few gaps in terms of capacity. vCSA 5.x was supported with embedded PostgrSQL database and only 100 hosts per vCenter were supported. Below is the table which shows vCSA 5.5 configuration maximum,
|vCenter||Hosts||Powered On VMs|
|vCenter Windows 5.5||1000||10000|
|vCenter Appliances 5.5 (with PostgreSQL DB)||100||3000|
In vSphere 5.x and 6.0, with Oracle 11g or 12c as an external database you can match with the same configuration maximums as windows vCenter Server. With this, both vCenter Windows and vCenter Appliance scores the same point. VMware community preferred to choose windows base vCenter 5.x over vCenter appliance just because of large user base on windows platform.
Now, this equation has changed with the release of vSphere 6.5, What has changed in vCenter server appliance 6.5, which made this shift? Let us take a look at vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 features in brief.
Unlike previous version, vCenter Appliance 6.5 has similar config max compare to windows vCenter. Important thing to note over here is that PostgreSQL is the only supported database for vCenter Server appliance 6.5. There is no external database for vCenter server appliances 6.5.
Note: PostgreSQL is embedded database which comes with vCenter Server appliance 6.5. There is no option for external database in vCenter Server Appliance 6.5.
|Object||Windows vCenter||vCenter Server 6.5 Appliance (Embedded with PostgreSQL)|
|ESXi Hosts Per vCenter||1000||1000|
|Powered On VMs||10000||10000|
|Hosts Per Cluster||64 hosts||64 hosts|
|VMs Per Cluster||6000||6000|
|Linked mode||10 vCenter||10 vCenter|
vSphere 6.5 has introduced native HA solution which is built in to vCenter Server appliance 6.5. This is obviously a good feature and makes vCenter appliance a good choice. Native HA uses Active/Passive/Witness architecture which avoids single point of failure and High availability. Click here to know more about this feature.
Finally, a native file based backup and restore capability has been added to vCenter Server appliance 6.5. This new backup and restore mechanism allows customers to use a simple interface to remove reliance on third party backup solutions to protect vCenter Server and PSCs configurations. Native backup and restore feature streams vCenter and PSC configuration to external storage via HTTP,FTP or SCP protocols.
VMware Update Manager
With vSphere 6.5, VMware Update manager is embedded with vCenter Server Appliance 6.5. Which means that you don’t need to set up any additional windows box for VUM. However, if you wish you can still have VUM running externally on windows box.
Native HA, native backup/restore and Embedded VMware Update Manager features are exclusively available with vCenter appliance 6.5 and making it as preferred choice. There are no additional features included in vCenter Server (Windows). vCenter 6.5 (Windows based) still works as same and supported by VMware.