stratolynne
Contributor
Contributor

vCenter 5.1 - best practice physical or virtual?

What the latest advice when using VMware vSphere 5.1 vCenter?  Physical or Virtual?  Or is the answer it depends?

We have had vCenter virtual for the last year or so but some admins and management at this site feel like its been problematic when shutting down the entire virtualized environment for maintenance or potential catastrophe with HA and keeping track of which ESX host is the last one down...

Appreciating any advice.

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5 Replies
vmroyale
Immortal
Immortal

Its purely an operational/administrative decision, and both are fully supported. I prefer virtual, for the same reasons virtual machines are easier to deal with in general.

Brian Atkinson | vExpert | VMTN Moderator | Author of "VCP5-DCV VMware Certified Professional-Data Center Virtualization on vSphere 5.5 Study Guide: VCP-550" | @vmroyale | http://vmroyale.com
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Troy_Clavell
Immortal
Immortal

it still depends on need and comfort factor.  With that said, we've always run vCenter as a VM.  As the old saying goes "eat your own dog food".

Also, in my opinion, the vCenter Server appliance is the future, so vCenter, as a VM will end up being the only choice, sooner or later.

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stratolynne
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks to you both!   Appreciating your responses.

Two points that were mentioned to me:

1. complexity of this environment where in crisis mode its hard to find a physical box to log into vCenter from.

2. what if the whole SAN goes down and you can't access the vCenter.

Can you guys comment on this?

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Josh26
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

stratolynne wrote:

Thanks to you both!   Appreciating your responses.

Two points that were mentioned to me:

1. complexity of this environment where in crisis mode its hard to find a physical box to log into vCenter from.

2. what if the whole SAN goes down and you can't access the vCenter.

Can you guys comment on this?

I'll put this one to you: What if your physical vCenter server fails? To me that's the most likely risk to occur and the one to avoid. A virtualized vCenter in an HA environment addresses that.

If the SAN goes down and you can't access vCenter, you won't be launching any VMs without the SAN any way, so what good is vCenter? If you really are concerned about the SAN going down, there's nothing preventing you from running a VM on a local disk.

This script is handy. I've run it on several occasions when I've had complete datacenter outages. It will tell you which host vCenter is on, and go boot it. Keep it on a laptop.

Connect-VIServer -User root -Password password -Server 10.1.10.xxx,10.1.10.xxx,10.1.10.xxx,10.1.10.xxx,10.1.10.xxx,10.1.10.xxx,10.1.10.xxx
Get-VM my-vCenter | Start-VM
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depping
Leadership
Leadership

I always recommend virtual. It is just more flexible when it comes to increasing resources to your vCenter Server when your environment grows. On top of that you get vSphere HA to restart your vCenter Server when needed.

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