VMware vSphere 5 whats new: vCenter Server Appliance

New in vSphere 5 is the vCenter Server Appliance . It offers almost all features of the Windows based vCenter Server. The proposed advantage of the appliance over the Windows server version is ease of deployment and costs. Instead of 15 minutes install for the Windows version, the appliance can be installed in 5 minutes. It also does not need a Windows Server license which reduces the costs. Upgrades can easily be installed as configuration items are being automatically imported into a newer version of the appliance.

The appliance can be used to manage VMware VI 3.5, vSphere 4 and vSphere 5.

The appliance runs on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) and comes with an embedded IBM DB2 database. Also Oracle databases are supported. There is no Microsoft SQL Server support yet because it seems difficult to integrate SQL with Linux. SQL support is possibly available in the next release.The appliance can easily be downloaded from VMware.com and installed in the infrastructure. VMware hardened the SLES operating system.

The appliance does not yet support VMware vCenter Heartbeat. This product makes a vCenter Server highly available. The appliance can be made highly available though using VMware HA.

Also the appliance does not suport linked mode. Linked mode can be used to manage several vCenter Server instances from one central console. Another missing feature is that the appliance does not support the new VMware HA application aware API. This is a new API made available to developers which can be used to alert HA on application issues.

Some vendor plugins of vCenter Server can be installed in the appliance but plugins like Converter and Update Manager are not supported.

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About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

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