VxRail vCenter Deployment Options

As you may already know, Dell EMC’s VxRail gives you the flexibility to either deploy a new Embedded vCenter Appliance or to join an external existing vCenter Appliance. But what are the advantages and drawbacks of each option that we should consider before choosing?

Below is a summary of the main advantages and disadvantages of each vCenter Server appliance deployment:

Embedded vCenter Server deployment

In this option, you will be deploying the vCenter Appliance (VCSA), the Platform Services Controller (PSC) and the vRealize Log Insight (optional) virtual machines automatically from the pre-loaded bundles on your VxRail nodes. All you need to do is provide the configuration details in the VxRail initialization wizard.

Advantages:

  • The vCenter Server Appliance deployment is automated by the VxRail initialization wizard.
  • vCenter and PSC upgrades are included and executed when installing a software upgrade package for your VxRail setup.
  • The vCenter license is bundled with the VxRail Appliance.
  • VMware Log Insight is deployed automatically.

Disadvantages:

  • Prior to vCenter Server 7.0, the only supported vCenter topology is a single VCSA with an external PSC. As of vCenter 7.0, the external PSC is deprecated and replaced with an embedded PSC.
  • The vCenter Server only manages the VxRail cluster which it is deployed on.
  • It cannot manage other ESXi hosts or any other VxRail clusters.
  • Single Sign-On domain must be vsphere.local and cannot be customize.
  • It doesn’t support Enhanced linked mode.
  • vSAN Encryption is not supported.

External vCenter Server deployment

On the other hand, the VxRail appliance can join an External vCenter Server environment during the initialization that is hosted outside the VxRail cluster. This is usually referred to as a customer-supplied vCenter Server. If this option is preferred the customer needs to provide the required vCenter license.

Advantages:

  • vSAN Encryption is supported.
  • Using Custom SSO domain names is supported.
  • Supplied vCenter Server can manage multiple VxRail clusters and other ESXi hosts.
  • Enhanced linked mode is supported
  • VMware vSAN Stretched clusters are supported.
  • All vCenter Server deployment topologies are supported.
  • vCenter Server HA is supported.

Disadvantages:

  • We will need to provide the license for the vCenter Server.
  • Both vCenter Server and PSC (if exists) cannot be hosted on the VxRail Appliance cluster.
  • vCenter Server and PSC (if exists) upgrades are the responsibility of the customer and will not be included in the VxRail software update bundles.
  • Log Insight will not be deployed, it has to be done manually.
  • Only one public IP address can be used for the vCenter HA network.
  • Modifying the hostnames and IP addresses for vCenter Server and PSC after the VxRail deployment is not possible.

You can always refer to Dell EMC’s official vCenter Server Planning Guide for more details on vCenter deployment options and topologies on VxRail.

Published by Mohamed Atef Ibrahim

I have started my journey in the Information Technology field as a System Engineer in 2017 and instantly fell in love with virtualization. Currently, I am focusing on VMware Software Defined Datacenter Portfolio, Cloud & Hyper-converged infrastructure solutions.

8 thoughts on “VxRail vCenter Deployment Options

    1. Hi Pishel, That’s a great question, fortunately there is a guide provided by Dell for that and it can be used to migrate a VxRail cluster either from an Embedded vCenter to an external vCenter or from an external vCenter to another external one.

      The migration contain two parts:
      1- Migrating the VxRail Cluster from the Source vCenter Server to the Target vCenter Server.
      2- Running a python script to update all the configuration information from the Source vCenter Server values to the Target vCenter Server.

      Unfortunately, this can be done either by Dell EMC team or an authorized service providers/Partners only and is not a guide that is accessible by customers or end users so I would really recommend to contact Dell support or your service provider for the same as it’s a very tricky procedure.

      Hope that helps 😉

      Like

  1. It doesn’t support Enhanced linked mode. –Untrue, please correct.

    Starting with VxRail 7.0.100, Enhanced Link Mode (ELM) is supported on embedded
    VxRail vCenters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      You are absolutely right! Starting from version 7.0.100 which was released late Oct 2020 (Around 4 months after the last update to this blog) VxRail embedded vCenter do support ELM.

      Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance yet to update the article with the latest supported features 🙂 Will do my best to update it soon!

      Like

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