The vCenter Server Appliance was in older releases a nice feature that was never ended in development.
A lot of features and functions that you had with the Windows Server based vCenter server, were not possible with the appliance. So the appliance was only interesting for really small vSphere environments or for labs.
With vCSA 5.5 we were going better and better. But there were still some things that weren’t supported like:
- Less scalability
- Linked Mode
- 3d party software plugin
Now let me show you an actual chart from VMWare where they compare the vCSA with the windows based vCenter:
As you can see, the vCSA has now the same scalability as the Windows based vCenter Server. Quite every feature is also integrated in the appliance.
So why we do not just use the appliance? Well there are unfortunately still some reasons for that we will need the Windows vCenter Server:
- no MSSQL support
- no Update Manager (the most critical point in my view)
I can’t understand why they don’t port the VUM to the vCSA. With those features on board, I’m quite sure that the Windows based vCenter will no more be used by SME’s with small vSphere environments.
For this I’m already curious to see the features that the new vCSA release will include and hope that this appliance is getting more and more important for vSphere and VMWare. This appliance will simplify many administrators life!