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what is difference between vcenter and vcenter server?

We have vsphere 5 Essentials, and are just getting to grips with it.

Pretty much every documetation page for vsphere 5 mentions using vcenter.

However, its not clear if vcenter comes with vsphere, or if its something you buy in addition, and, assuming it is, what the difference between all these versions of vcenter are:

  1. vcenter
  2. vcenter server
  3. vcenter operations
  4. vcenter product family
  5. vcenter server heartbeat
  6. vcetner orchistrator
  7. hundreds of other similarly named products with the word vsphere in them

Which, if any, of these vcenter products do you think suitable or useful for a single server running vsphere essentials?

Thanks for any tips.


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vSphere Essentials already includes  vCenter for essentials (limited to manage 3 ESXi hosts), since the  Essentials license is a  bundle.

So you've just got all you need:-)

There are 3 versions of vcenter:

1) vcenter for essentials: included in every Essentials bundles, limited to manage 3 ESXi nodes (also with Essentials license)

2) vcenter foundation: limited to manage 3 ESXi nodes (of every other Edition of vSphere)

3) vcenter standard: not limited

About the various vCenter products:

  1. vcenter            --> Ok, it's vcenter
  2. vcenter server       --> same as point 1.
  3. vcenter operations   -->  a separate product that integrates with vCenter, providing some higher level management, performance reporting, compliance checking, and many more
  4. vcenter product family    -->  it's just the group of products that integrates with vcenter
  5. vcenter server heartbeat   -->  a product for keeping vcenter in high availability: it replicates an instance of vcenter between two machines, even over WAN link
  6. vcetner orchistrator  -->  a powerful tool for deep automation (of complex  infrasctructures)
  7. hundreds of other similarly named products with the word vsphere in them    -->  ......




To get familiar with the VMware Terminlogy, just go through the Introduction to VMware Infrastuture Link: http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_35/esx_3/r35/vi3_35_25_intro_vi.pdf              

Eventhough it's for VI3, still it's applicable.

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