Tag Archives: vCenter server 6

vCenter Architecture Changes in vSphere 6.0 and Deploying vCenter 6 – Part 1

Here in this post will discuss about the vCenter Server architecture changes from vSphere 5.5 to vSphere 6. Will also discuss different use cases and Deploying vCenter Server 6 with Installable Windows-based and Deploying vCenter Server 6 with VCSA.

Firstly let me brief about VMware vCenter Server 5.5 components, there are multiple individual components are used to deliver the vCenter Server management solution.

  1. vCenter Single Sign-On
  2. vSphere Web Client
  3. vCenter Inventory Service
  4. vCenter Server

When deploying a vCenter server there are 2 deployment processes Simple Install and Custom Install. 

Simple Install :- The simple install is a deployment option that deploys vCenter Server with its default options selected to a single physical or virtual machine. The simple install install all four components of vCenter Server (vCenter Single Sign-On, vSphere Web Client, vCenter Inventory Service, and the vCenter Server instance) on a single windows Server. This is ideal for small customer.

There are several limitations with the simple installer:-

When you choose Simple install it will install in default location with no option to change the destination folder. Many customers prefer to install their applications to a volume other than the system volume.

Simple install provides only the vCenter Single Sign-On deployment option of “vCenter Single Sign-On for your first vCenter Server.” Therefore it cannot be used for additional vCenter servers.pic1Custom Install :- The custom install gives you option to install each individual component independently on same or different servers. Because each component is being installed individually, so it is important that components are installed in the following order:

1. vCenter Single Sign-On

2. vSphere Web Client  ( Not compulsory can be installed later)

3. vCenter Inventory Service

4. vCenter Server

pic2With the release of vSphere 6.0, vCenter Server installation and configuration has been simplified dramatically. The installation of vCenter now consists of only two components instead of 4 components in vSphere 5.5. and provide all services for the virtual datacenter:

  • Platform Services Controller vSphere 6.0 introduces a new component called the Platform Services Controller (PSC). Now no need to install all these components individually. We choose to install Platform Services Controller (PSC) and all the services included in Platform Services Controller will be installed:
    • vCenter Single Sign-On
    • License Service
    • Lookup Service
    • VMware Directory Service
    • VMware Certificate Authority
  • vCenter Services Same way when we install vCenter Services it will install group of services includes:
    • vCenter Server
    • vSphere Web Client
    • vCenter Inventory Service
    • vSphere Auto Deploy
    • vSphere ESXi Dump Collector
    • vSphere Syslog Collector (Microsoft Windows)/VMware Syslog Service (Appliance)

vCenter Deployment Modes:- 

There are two basic architectures that can be used when deploying vSphere 6.0 :-

1. Install vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller mode installs all services on the same virtual machine or physical server as vCenter Server. It will install PSC components first followed by vCenter Server Services.  This mode is ideal for small environments.     pic32. Install vCenter Server with an External Platform Services Controller vCenter Server with an External Platform Services Controller mode installs the platform services on a system that is separate from where vCenter services are installed. Installing the platform services is a prerequisite for installing vCenterThis mode is ideal for larger environments, where there are multiple vCenter servers.

pic4There will be several use cases depending on business requirement to deploy vCenter Server either with an Embedded Platform Services Controller or with an External Platform Services Controller .Here are List of recommended use cases for VMware vSphere 6.0 deployment. You can also find out here  :- http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2108548pic5pic6vCenter Server comes not only as an installable Windows-based application but also as a SUSE Linux-based Virtual appliance. Will you use Windows-based or Virtual appliance? There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach. I am not going to discuss what to use here.

Here Will discuss both approach, How to install Windows-based vCenter Server and How to deploy VCSA (VMware vCenter Server Virtual Appliance) with Embedded and External PSC.

Install Windows-based vCenter Server 6 with an Embedded Platform Services Controller:-

  • To install Windows-based vCenter Server we need to have a Windows Server ready.
  • Server must be a member of a domain.
  • Make a new account in Active Directory for the vCenter Server before the deployment and assign required permission on the host where you want to install vCenter Server.
  • Enter a DNS entry for the Server.

Now we are ready to start vCenter Server installation.

1. Login to the Windows Server with Service account and copy/mount the installer VMware-VIMSetup-all-6.0.0-2800571.iso

2. Browse the location of the Installer and double click the Autorun to start the VMware vCenter Installer.pic73. VMware vCenter Installer will start. Select ‘vCenter Server for Windows’ under VMware vCenter Server and Click ‘Install’.

VC24. VMware vCenter Server installation will start and Click ‘Next’ on ‘Welcome to the VMware vCenter Server 6.0. Installer’

VC45. Click the ‘I accept the terms of the license agreement’ box and then click ‘Next’

VC56. Here we are installing vCenter with an Embedded Platform Services Controller, So click ‘vCenter Server and Embedded Platform Services Controller’ and then click ‘Next’. VC67. Enter the ‘System Name’ on the ‘System Network Name’ window and then click ‘Next’. In the most cases it will auto select FQDN of the server on which we are installing vCenter Server.

VC78. On the ‘vCenter Single Sign-On Configuration’ page enter the ‘Domain Name’ (By default it will be vsphere.local), ‘Enter SSO Administrator Password’ and ‘Site Name’ and then click ‘Next’

p39. On the ‘vCenter Server Service Account’ page select ‘Specify a user Service account’ enter password for the Service account and then click ‘Next’. If you have logged in as Service Account it will auto take the account name in ‘Account user name’

VC910. Choose the ‘Database Settings’ and then click ‘Next’. In production environment it is always recommended to ‘use an external database’

VC1011.  On the ‘Configure Ports’ page normally select default ports but if required you can change the port numbers as per and click ‘Next’

VC1112. On the ‘Destination Directory’ page change the location if required or click ‘Next’

VC1213. On the ‘Ready to Install’ page review the settings and click ‘Install’ to start the ‘Installation Process…’

p714. It will take several minutes to install ‘vCenter Server Platform Services Controller and vCenter Server services. Wait for Installation to finish.

VC12-115. Installation in Progress….

VC1616. Here we go ‘Setup Completed’ and vCenter Server has been successfully Installed. Click ‘Finish’ to complete the Installation.


Will discuss Deploying a new vCenter 6 with VCSA (Embedded and External) in Next Part… So stay tuned  🙂



Backing up and Restoring the vCenter Server 6.0 embedded vPostgres database

Currently i am working to design VMware Infrastructure on vSphere 6.0 for one of the customer. This is small infra with 5-6 hosts and expected growth is 10-20% in next 3-4 years. So as per requirement decided that vCenter management server will be deployed as virtual machine running in vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller and bundled PostgreSQL database will be used as PostgreSQL database with vSphere 6.0 can support up to 20 hosts and 200 virtual machines which is full filling our requirement for next 4-5 years.

We had Design review meeting last week and question came up from customer can we backup bundled PostgreSQL database? If yes how can we Backup and Restore vCenter Server bundled PostgreSQL database.

So wanted to share with all and hope this will be useful for many.

Back Up the Embedded vCenter Server Database:-

1. Log in to vCenter Server with administrative privilege, I have logged in as Service Account used for vCenter Server.

2. Browse C:\ProgramData\VMware\vCenterServer\cfg\vmware-vpx\ folder, If you changed the default installation location it will be different for you.  B1

3. Locate the vcdb.properties file in the C:\ProgramData\VMware\vCenterServer\cfg\vmware-vpx\ and open the file in a text editor.B3

4. In the vcdb.properties file, locate the password of the vc database user and record it as we need it while will take backup.B4

5. Download the Windows back up and restore package windows_backup_restore.zip attached to KB article (2091961) and unzip it on the host machine.B5

6. After unzip you can see that are 2 python scripts, One for Backup and another for Restore.B6

7. Once download and unzip done, we are good to go to run the command to take Backup of the database.

8. Before taking the Backup just wanted to show my current inventory setup, just for the record.B7

9. Open command prompt and navigate to C:\Program Files\VMware\vCenter Server\python directory to run the backup_win.py script.

C:\Program Files\VMware\vCenter Server\python> python.exe “c:\vCenter Server\backup_win.py” -p “enter password we have recorded in step 4”  -f “c:\vcdb_backup_02july2015.bak”B8

10. When the backup completes, you can see a message that the Backup completed successfully.

11. Now backup of vCenter database has been taken, So let me modify/delete inventories entry and then will restore to get those back. As you can see in below screenshot i have deleted Cluster and Datacenter entries.B9

Restore the vCenter Server vPostgres Database:-

1. Log in to vCenter Server with administrative privilege, I have logged in as Service Account used for vCenter Server.

2. Stop the vCenter Server Service and VMware Content Library service. When you stop vCenter server service it will stop all other services dependent on vCenter Server.R1

R23. Locate the vcdb.properties file in the C:\ProgramData\VMware\vCenterServer\cfg\vmware-vpx\ and open the file in a text editor. Locate the password of the vc database user and record it as we need it while Restore the database.

4. Open Command prompt and Run restore script to Restore the database from last backup.

C:\Program Files\VMware\vCenter Server\python> python.exe “c:\vCenter Server\restore_win.py” -p “enter password we have recorded in step 3”  -f “c:\vcdb_backup_02july2015.bak”R4

R55. When the Restore completes, you can see a message that the Restore completed successfully.

6. Start the VMware Content Library service and vCenter Server Service and all other related services.

7. Connect to vCenter Server Web Client to check the status.R6

That’s All 🙂 We have done with how to Backup and Restore the vCenter Server 6.0 embedded vPostgres database. Thank you 🙂


Reference VMware KB to Download the Windows back up and restore package/script:- http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2091961