3 Replies Latest reply on Jan 13, 2014 12:05 AM by 3CV

    Multi-site vCenter deployment

    FJ1200 Enthusiast

      Hi - and a Happy New Year to all


      We have a customer with a current ESXi 5.0 installation, possibly going to 5.1.  They are multi-site across a large geographical area with around 60 hosts in all, and each system on each site is self-contained and stand-alone - there are reasons for this - some sites run light-out and un-manned.  They run a Windows domain at each site and the domains do not interact.  If a WAN connection drops, the remote site has to be able to continue operations unaffected.


      I have been tasked with retro-fitting vCenter into this system mainly because they want to use VUM, and like the idea of a single pane of glass.  They do NOT, however, like the idea that they need to have domain accounts to run vCenter and it's causing me a headache.  Unfortunately I can't discuss specifics of the system.  I don't believe they really understand vCenter.


      So - I'm looking for advice.  Can I use linked-mode here?  I've never used it personally but understand the principles.  I think there is a strong argument to put the whole system in a forest but there's too many systems issues in the way.  Heartbeat has been discounted simply due to the sheer licensing costs.  I have put a single, stand-alone vCenter into a test system and added another site to it as a datacenter object to demo vCenter, and it works ok like that, however I'm not sure how that will work long-term and it will affect the ESXi licenses if they loose the WAN at a remote site, which worries me most.  It can take weeks to get an engineer out to them.


      Has anyone tried a system like this before?  What would the best way to run vCenter be?  The system is already running so I have to be careful what I do.

        • 1. Re: Multi-site vCenter deployment
          3CV Novice

          I could really do with some advice on this.  It's been shelved for a while while we decide which approach to take, but we want the test system we have here in vCenter.  I already have 2 test "sites" in as datacenter objects, which works well, the others will be added over time.

          • 2. Re: Multi-site vCenter deployment
            Stan Noel Novice



            I think I may know what you are talking about.  So you want to have a root administrator for all sites but local admin access to the site they are at without being able to view the rest of your virtual infrastructure?  If so, then yes, it can be done without 'linked mode'.  I used linked mode and it does work but it also makes for a single point of failure; if your vCenter server were to have any interruptions, no one else would be able to reach their sites.  It's a serious planning consideration weighing all possibilities.


            What we have done is keep site specific vCenter but create groups (local or in AD if all your servers are in a forest) thru the vCenter server itself.  You have to be on the server (RDP) and modify the access groups locally.  Then when viewed through either the client or VUM, the access is viewed without anyone modifying it.


            Hope this helps,


            • 3. Re: Multi-site vCenter deployment
              3CV Novice

              Hi Stan

              Thanks for that.  I did wonder if that's what we'd have to do but wasn't sure.  We'd like to have a single pane of glass management if at all possible rather than multiple RDP sessions, but if that's what we need to do then so be it.


              Are there any third-party applications anyone is aware of that we could put all vCenters into and manage then independently but from one place?  I'll have a look, but the thought just occurred so thought I'd throw it out there - reviews of first-hand experience with these things is always better than marketing blurb.  I'll have a chat with Mr Google about it when I get time.