Many of you know that I am a huge fan of the VCSA (vCenter Server Appliance), especially when it comes to a new deployment and how easy it is compared to the Windows version. I especially like how upgrades work for the VCSA by deploying a new VCSA and then performing a migration based upgrade to the new appliance. This provides a nice roll-back mechanism in case something happens and all I need to do is just power on the original VCSA to get the original environment up and running again.
Having said all this, I know the VCSA is still currently lacking a few features which may prevent customers from fully adopting the solution for their production workload. However, if you take a look a how far the VCSA has come from its initial release in vSphere 5.0 release, it has greatly improved and we continue to enhance it with every release. With release of vSphere 5.5, we now support the following configurations maximums:
|ESXi Hosts||Virtual Machines|
|Embedded vPostgres DB||100||3,000|
|External Oracle DB||1000||10,000|
Even before vSphere 5.5 release, VMware has internally pushed the boundaries of the VCSA (vSphere 5.1) and the embedded vPostgres database by running one of the most dynamic and demanding workload in a very short amount of time which is the VMworld's Hands On Lab. This really goes to show the type of scale and performance the VCSA and the embedded vPostgres database can support.
One of the most frequent piece of feedback that I have heard from customers regarding the VCSA is to provide support for Microsoft SQL Server database. This request is quite understandable, especially for a Windows shop where you may already have a team of Database Administrators who are quite familiar with the operational and management aspects of maintaining a MSSQL database.
VMware is actually not opposed to supporting MSSQL for the VCSA which runs on SuSE Linux but the challenge in the past was the lack of a Microsoft ODBC driver for SLES. Well it turns out last year Mircosoft released a Community Tech Preview Microsoft ODBC Driver for SQL Server on SLES, however the driver is currently only a Tech Preview and to do justice for VMware customers, we would want to use a GA (General Available) driver which means that there would be full support from Microsoft.
If you would like the VCSA to have MSSQL support, you can help by providing this feedback to your local Microsoft representative or filing a feature request. The more customer demand we have for this, the more likelihood MSSQL DB support can become a reality.
In addition to providing feedback to Microsoft, I think it would also be useful to let our PMs know how important MSSQL DB support & the VCSA is to you which will also help with the prioritization of features. If you can help fill out this quick survey below, that would also be great.
Thank you William for brinbing up the request for Microsoft SQL Server connecitivy for the vCenter Server Appliance. I haven't had much luck in the past year to convince Product managers and architects @vmware that is important.
I implement dozens of client vSphere clusters each year, and without support for Microsoft SQL Server, I will not switch from the Windows version of vCenter to the appliance.
Often, the topic is then deflected by VMware employes, telling me that the integrated database is Postgres. I don't have any issue with Postgres, but the VCSA does not support external Postgres. Otherwise I would start pushing some other VMware database appliances out (VMware vFabric Posgres doesn't get enough love).
As long as the database is inside the VCSA, the VCSA is a black box. Have you seen the complexities of the Backup and Recovery process of the integrated database ? kb.vmware.com/kb/2034505
We'd like VUM for VCSA too 😉
John Cousens says
While I am impressed by the new maximums, without VUM or some replacement, it doesn't make sense currently. If I need to roll out a Windows VM with SQL for VUM, why not just put vCenter there as well.
It's almost there though, and we greatly appreciate the effort. Having all of the complexities of vCenter rolled up into an an appliance will greatly simplify our lives as consultants. Maybe too much 🙂
Alessandro Ratti says
Why don't you release vcsa as open source on github?