metahugh
Contributor
Contributor

Virtualcenter - Install or not?

Hello Everyone,

I am relatively new to the VM scene when it comes to Infrastructure 3. I have been looking into whether or not to install Virtualcenter as part of my client's deployment. This is going to be a single host configuration and only two VMs (to start). If I don't install Virtualcenter I know I won't be able to utilize high availability functions and Vmotion but is there anything else that I would miss? I am also assuming that I would install my license files directly onto the ESX server instead of using the license server that is installed with Virtualcenter. Is this correct?

Thanks!

Hugh

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8 Replies
BenConrad
Expert
Expert

If it's a single host you can use:

1) The Virtual Infrastructure Client (part of vcenter download) connected directly to the ESX host (rather than vCenter)

2) Yes, installing host based licenses would work fine

Ben

Draconis
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

You can always upgrade to a managed environment later on. Just be aware, when you do upgrade in the future, credentials created on the ESX server are different than credentials provided on the VC server. Also, you can install VC on a VM and then use DRS with HA to ensure 100% uptime to manage your ESX hosts. You can also install VC on a physical server. Joining the domain would be recommended for the VC server. I would install the license db on the same server as VC and install the SQL Server 2005 Express which is able to host 5 ESX hosts and 50 VMs. You will be host-based licensing so yes the license file will be locally found on that ESX server. Make sure you still back it up in case you experience corruptions on that file.

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metahugh
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks much for the assistance . I see this is going to be hard deciding who to award the correct answer points to Smiley Happy

This is a definitely a learning experience. I went step by step through the Infrastructure 3 guide and it has you install Virtualcenter first and then ESX server. I now see that you indeed can install just the Infrastructure client and connect to the ESX server directly from a workstation, effectively not using the license server component and Virtualcenter. Now what I have to figure out is how to remove my ESX server from the management server I built (since it won't be staying in my environment) and install the host based licenses. I was given a license file (.lic) and when I tried to install it on the Virtualcenter server it complained about there not being enough licenses. I ran the lic file through VMWare's license file checker and it doesn't have Virtualcenter embedded in it even though we are entitled to it.

Draconis, you did answer another important question I had, can I install Virtualcenter on a VM within the ESX server. Is this a good idea for fault tolerance? Of course if my server is being backed up I'm sure there is a procedure for recovering the server even though it's all on the same physical box. I've got to get past the mentality of a 1:1 ratio of servers to hardware Smiley Happy

Hugh

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skyenter
Contributor
Contributor

The answer is really "depends on" to your forecast of your VI infrastructure. The two VM is your dead-end final VMs of your infrastructure, forget about VC server. However, the virtualization is I would say -- big trends at this moment and it will go quite a long time - I guess. Therefore, I highly recommend to install VC server in your starting VI environment. If you do not have seperate HW to accomodate, build other VM to install VC. Hopefully, it will give some idea to decide your option.

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skyenter
Contributor
Contributor

It is not best idea to install VC as a VM because if you do not have HA solution of your VI infrastructure which mean that you have stand alone ESX server, when you use update manager to install ESX patches using VC server, you can not do it because the requirement to install patches using update manager is that all VMs on the ESX server should be power off.

In terms of backup/restore perspective of VC, it is required to backup of database of VC server using generic SQL maintenance plan or very simple database backup T-sql script so that the database is backed to the disk and backed up to your tape. If there is an issue on your VC server, just simply restore the backed up database to new server. Done deal !!! Smiley Happy

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Draconis
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Well, skyenter is right if you will not be deploying the HA and DRS solutions. Also, keep in mind that a hardware failure on the ESX host affects all under it. So not just patching per say will be the limitation. We are a small shop here as well. Our most sensitive servers are backed up religiously and are hosted in a datacenter but our local ESX in corporate is kinda sad since it is on local storage only. Plan your disaster recovery carefully. If you were to place a VC and License server on the same physical server and that server becomes offline, you have 14 days to recover from that disruption for your ESX hosts. The licensing will be cached for 14 days.

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kjb007
Immortal
Immortal

Keep in mind that templates are a feature of vc as well. No vc, no templates, and no migration. Granted that your env is small, but if you ever plan on it getting any bigger than two vm's, which I'm pretty sure you are or else you wouldn't have bought a vmware license, then you will want to be able to create templates and clones, and eventually utilize ha and drs and vmotion.

-KjB

vExpert/VCP/VCAP vmwise.com / @vmwise -KjB
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skyenter
Contributor
Contributor

That is great point and benefit / feature of VC. Hey man, just use VC at least. Smiley Happy

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