Feb 04 2015

vSphere 6.0 blog – vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA)

As many of you know i have been using the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) in my home lab for years now and in some customer (both production & test) environments as well. It doesn’t require a Windows installation since it is just a virtual appliance (VA) and deployed as a ova or ovf. However, the deployment has been changed now…
The VCSA also includes the vCenter Server Simulator which makes life really simple when you need to test e.g. some scripts and don’t have access to a live vSphere setup including e.g. the ESXi hosts.

There has always been a gap in scalability between the Windows based vCenter Server version and the VCSA but now in vSphere 6.0 the VCSA can scale the same way as the Windows based vCenter Server:


MetricWindows vCenter ServervCenter Server Appliance
Hosts per vCenter Server1 0001 000
Powered On VMs per vCenter Server10 00010 000
Hosts vSphere Cluster6464
VMs per vSphere Cluster8 0008 000
Linked ModeYesYes

Additional facts

    • Does not come as a ova or ofv anymore. It’s a ISO based installation that uses a browser to complete the installation. Click the .exe file and this is what you’ll see:
      Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 07.55.06
      These are the options you get:
      Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 07.55.16
  • VMware Data Protection (VDP) can be used for backup and recovery.
  • The following virtual hardware requirements applies to the different deployments
    Deployment type# Hosts# VMsVCSA vCPUVCSA RAM (GB)
    Small1503 000416
    Medium3006 000824
    Large1 00010 0001632
  • Different deployment options possible during the guided installer such as:
    • Install vCenter Server
    • Install Platform Services Controller
    • Install vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Controller (default)
  • Enhanced Linked Mode support

Missing features

There are still a few things we are missing in the VCSA:

  • MSSQL Support. I know a lot of customers want that. However, now when VDP is supported as a backup method that might be good enough.
  • Option to cluster the VCSA but the new FT feature or VDP support might be good enough.
  • vSphere Update Manager.


Skip to comment form

  1. Rickard Nobel

    It is such a strange thing the Update Manager is not yet included in the Applicance, even in this fourth version of the VCSA. Compared to the other technologies Update Manager does not seem like rocket science.

  2. magander3

    Yeah, agree. Would be really nice with that feature included in the VCSA.


  3. Stayfans

    Thx. clear, easy straight, informations.

  4. magander3



  5. Paulo Reis

    With same scalability we can uset it without acquire Windows License.

  6. ScoZel

    Finally meets the scale of the Windows version!

  7. Yuri

    I Think the most of us will make the jump to use VCSA on a production environment. Great post. Thanks

  8. Mike Medrano

    Nice article!

    ~ Mike

  9. magander3

    Glad you liked it, thanks.

  10. Looneyduk

    Wish VMWare would get the UM issue worked out.

    Good post – thanks for doing the hard work.

  11. Matt Baltz

    maybe one day we will get vum

  12. Zsolt Pamuki

    Good post. Thank you for your work.

  13. Jay Wright

    Start using the vCSA on 5.5. Its nice to see all the improvement but like everyone else I really wish VMware would figure out how to add UM to the vCSA

  14. Mohammed Sadiq


  15. magander3


  16. Syed Fayyaz Hussain Rizvi

    Brilliant …

  17. Andres Rojas

    Now the vCSA is a real vCenter, and lokks ready to provide functionality that was needed like the Link mode, that was a huge thing
    not sure about the “nt supporting MS-SQL” part, but we’ll see

  18. Mohamed Ibrahem

    Thanks for the good post

  19. Alessandro

    When vSphere Update Manager are included into VCSA 🙁

  20. Amit Gumber


  21. Thomas True

    Already a good step to kick Windows out of managing relevant environments, waiting for last step “Update Manager”

  22. vervoort jurgen

    can you switch between deployment types? start with small and move up to large in the futur?

  23. magander3

    not that i know about.


  24. Alex

    Nice to see they have finally scaled it out the same way as a Windows version. Would be nice if vUM could be incorporated into the appliance. Makes me favor a Windows installation still to include all features.

  25. Geoff Neish

    Hopefully soon

  26. Andres Rojas

    Great post, thx for the summary.

  27. Rich Dowling

    Hi, you state “VMware Data Protection (VDP) can be used for backup and recovery.” I can’t find reference to this in any official VMware documentation. Could you post a link please?
    Also, is VDP supported only for VCSA 6.0, or is it supported for 5.5 as well?

  28. magander3

    Hi Rick,
    according to the VMware Product Interoperability Matrixes VMware Data Protection (VDP) is supported for VMware vCenter Server 5.5, 5.5U1,5.5U1 and 6.0 but doesn’t say Windows Server version or Appliance version so i take it is both.
    This blog post, http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2015/03/protecting-vcenter-with-vdp-60.html describes how to restore vCenter Server using VDP.


  29. Francisco Amadi

    Thanks for the article, a much short as interesting!

  30. Pradheep Reddy

    How can i access the vCenter server simulator … ?

  31. magander3

    I think it has been removed in version 6 but let m every.


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