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VMWARE Vcenter 5.5 installation

I need to install vmware 5.5 vcenter server.  It will run on Microsoft windows 2008 r2 platform. It will need to support 7 hosts and 120 vm's.   Should it be physical,  virtual?  Should the sql server be installed on the same machine or on remote server?
If it the sql server on remote machine,  how would you recover vcenter in case of failure?   Is there a best practice document that describes all pro's and con's of each install?

Thank You
3 Solutions
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would recommend virtual, because it's supported, and gives you better recovery options, than physical.

I would also recommend you have a look at the vCenter Appliance, which now runs and performs better than the vCenter Server for Windows, easier to setup, performs better, and you do not require a Windows OS license, and need to patch it!

Opt for the appliance, and you do not need to worry about SQL, Windows etc

As for failure, if vCenter Server fails, it does not affect running VMs, it's a Management Server. So no big worries if it stops working!
jem1662Author Commented:
Thank You,   How does Appliance licensed?   Are there limitations of number vm's and host's.
Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
in addition to what andrew mentioned, here is a blog that you might find useful

Which vCenter Server platform should I use – Appliance or Windows?
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

jem1662Author Commented:
Thank You.  That's an excellent blog.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
The appliance is actually now better than Windows and vCenter for Windows.

Appliance is licensed exactly the same as vCenter for Windows.

So it's your choice, as to do you use vCenter for Windows or Appliance !

Quicker to install, better performance, in the future we will switch to Appliance!
Dawid FusekVirtualization Expert, Sr B&R, Storage SpecialistCommented:
with 7 ESXi hosts and 120 VMs you don't have to use external DB with vCenter Server (Windows version or appliance version).

But what to choose? vCenter Server on MS Windows or vCenter Server Appliance...?

The facts are (up to vCenter Server/Appliance v5.5):
- VCSA (vCenter Server Appliance) is little faster than vCenter Server on MS Windows (20-30%)
- most probably that VCSA will be only option for future vCenter Servers in the nearest years
- if you are comfortable with linux it runs on Linux (SUSE)
- you will save 1 MS Windows License
- it uses build in DB (vPostgres) which is not so limited as that one built in vCenter Server on Windows (MS SQL 2008R2 Express)
-  VCSA it's little quicker to install than vCenter Server for Windows

- there is no migtration tool between vCenter Server for Windows and VCSA
- there is no vCenter Linked Mode for VCSA, not yet
- VCSA crashes much more often than vCenter Server for Windows
- when VCSA crashes it's much more complicated to recover it than vCenter Server for Windows
- VCSA is much newer, fresh product than vCenter Server for Windows and it's much less documented than vCenter Server for Windows
- most storage plugins are working only for/with vCenter Server for Windows, not VCSA
- VCAS is quite ok (if crash sometimes) if you don't have other VMware products connected to it, when you have it starts generate real big problems, especially when you have connected it with VDR/VDP, SRM, vCloud. Then crushed and hard to repair VCSA starts to be real big problem.
- it runs on Linux, there are no such possiblility to secure it/hardening it with 3th party apps as good as version running on Windows, in theory if you are Linux expert you can do a lot but almost every VCSA update will overwrite all custom settings because it's just appliance as a whole
- with VCSA updates for Linux are not so often, much less often than they should be, so it's bigger security risk to use VCSA than vCenter Server for Windows while Windows may be easy updated every day (if needed)

I have lot of customers that asks about migrating for VCSA, most of them after some tests revert back to vCenter Server for WIndows, in all cases there ware a stability issues or compatibility with storage plugins, sure stability may change in one single version of VCSA that stability will be fine but from me and my customers perspective it's still not a very professional product and need more time to be named as good as vCenter Server for Windows.

But choice is yours mate.

jem1662Author Commented:
Thank You all for this invaluable information.
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