Join Rick Crisci for an in-depth discussion in this video vCenter and the Platform Services Controller (PSC), part of VMware vSphere 6.5 Essential Training Part 1.
- [Instructor] In this video, I'll explain the role of vCenter, the platform services controller, and how they are used to manage our ESXi hosts. So here we see a little diagram, and basically, the point of this diagram is to illustrate that vCenter is used to manage our entire vSphere environment. So in the big green box here, that represents vCenter. And then within it, I might have multiple virtual data centers that include ESXi hosts, virtual machines, data stores, virtual switches, and all of these different components that make up my virtual data center.
But vCenter is the top level of administration, right? I can use it to manage many ESXi hosts at once. And vCenter also hosts my vSphere web client as well. So technically, we could actually manage individual EXSi hosts using the vSphere client, but as the environment continues to grow, this starts to become really impractical. So vCenter gives us that central management system so that we can control everything at once from one unified web client.
And not only does vCenter give us our central management capability, but it also makes certain features possible. You can't do vMotion, storage vMotion, high availability, fault tolerance, DRS, storage DRS. And many other features require vCenter to be available. So vCenter's not just a management platform. It unlocks a lot of capabilities that are not possible if we choose to not deploy vCenter.
So we have a few different options of how we can actually create our vCenter server. There's the vCenter server appliance, or we can deploy vCenter on a Windows machine. And the first option is to set up a Windows virtual machine and install vCenter on it. So we can install vCenter on top of any of the supported versions of Windows. This does require a Windows license, of course.
And because it's running on a virtual machine, we can protect vCenter with either high availability or fault tolerance, so we can give ourselves the ability to recover from a failure of an ESXi host. Now, we can also deploy vCenter on a physical server running Windows. And this gives us complete segmentation of management. We've got our management server running on a separate physical device, and this might be required for compliance purposes, but it's usually not recommended because we can't protect a physical server with high availability or fault tolerance, so it doesn't have the same level of redundancy that a virtual machine would give us.
Now, an option that's becoming more and more popular is to configure a vCenter server appliance, and a vCenter server appliance is a pre-built, pre-configured, virtual appliance that's designed to run vCenter. Basically you download it, you import it to run on an ESXi host, and you immediately have a complete vCenter configuration that's very easy to install, very easy to upgrade, and it's a virtual machine that can be protected with high availability or fault tolerance.
And we don't require a Windows license. So traditionally, the Windows vCenter has been more popular because it had a higher set of features. It was compatible with additional databases, it could support more virtual machines, more ESXi hosts, but now we have feature parity between the two.
- vSphere editions
- Installing and configuring ESXi
- Virtual networking with vSphere
- Working with distributed and standard switches
- Virtual storage
- Creating NFS data stores
- iSCSI storage
- Creating virtual machines and vApps
- Duplicating machines with templates and cloning