Using a single vCenter appliance Cluster for all VCenter operations (VDI,VCloud,Corp VM's)

Hi guys,

We have been a VMWare shop for quite some time and although had some stability issues in the past(VSphere 6.x with VDI), as a whole it has been a great and stable experience. Like everybody though, we have managers, budgets and with Microsoft pushing harder and harder down VMWare's throat, need to find a way to cut expenses in software/licensing.

Long story short, here is our current setup :

3 x VCenter servers ( running off Windows 2012 R2 ) for each different use case ( 1 x VCloud, 1 x VDI, 1 x Corp VM's)

12-16 hosts per VCenter so definitely not very heavy

VM's : ~2500 ( 1250 VDI, 1000 VCloud, 250 Corp )

Although I would rather not go that route, since we aren't pushing the boundaries of even 1 VCenter in terms of maximum VM's or Hosts, I was wondering if we could move to a clustered appliance(with 6.5) approach that would run all of the different scenarios under one roof. So the cluster would control the following :

44 hosts total (11 VCloud, 17 VDI, 16 Corp)

~ 2500 VM's

I am not worried about how VCenter can handle the tasks, but mostly if there could be an issue handling different tasks. Since we do Refresh on logoff for VDI and that keeps VCenter busy throughout the day(School environment, average of 1200-1500 students logging in and out ), VCloud vApps turning on and off every X amount of hours + all the networking backing, and then more simple Corp tasks for backups, vMotions.

If anyone has ideas, pros and cons, anything that could help us take the right decision, it would be greatly appreciated. I'd rather revamp or rethink our current environment and stick with VMware instead of dropping it and moving to another solution mostly because of cost.

Thanks everyone,


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Benoit's question below is certainly a good one that would help many people out like myself.  I am also going to run into the same kind of questions when I start to configure this new Dell MX7000 chassis I got.  There are 2 hosts for VDI and 4 hosts for the vSAN and VMs.  Its not a very large environment VS what Ben has below, however I've seen many people saying to have separate V-Center's to manage VDI.  I am also leaning towards this but I'm asking myself...why?  I am only planning on having 45-50 VDI terminals which will only be used for courses that happen on occasion.  The main cluster will have the vSAN and hosts all the VMs in the environment which is around 80 along with the VDI images (Its an all flash vSAN).  I was also planning on getting a vCloud as part of that 4-node cluster and would only want 1 V-Center to manage all of this rather then dealing with multiple separate V-Centers.

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The general reason why the vCenter hosting VDI workloads is kept separate is due to blast radius separation. In a typical server virtualization vSphere in which the virtual machines represent server-based applications which are accessed in a headless fashion over the network, a vCenter outage only impacts the management of those VMs. But in a VDI environment such as Horizon, if that same vCenter is down your users cannot log in to their desktops. Much bigger (and wider) concern and usually a more severe event. If you only have a small number of desktops and don't mind putting all your eggs into one proverbial management basket, there's nothing stopping you. But do keep things like this in mind when you design your solution because it can have a large impact down the line.

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