‘Can a single vCenter server support/manage multiple VxRail clusters?’
Let me first explain the two methods of deploying a vCenter server to support a VxRail cluster:
- VxRail Managed vCenter Server
This instance of vCenter server also gets referred to as an ‘Embedded’ vCenter server and appears as such in the VxRail VC Plugin. Basically what this implies is that vCenter gets deployed by VxRail during the bring-up process and is fully managed and life cycled by VxRail Manager.
2. Customer Supplied vCenter Server
This instance of vCenter server also gets referred to as an ‘External’ vCenter server and appears as such in the VxRail Plugin. Basically what this implies is that vCenter is NOT deployed by VxRail during the bring-up process and is fully managed and life cycled outside of VxRail.
The focus of this post is centered around the ‘VxRail Managed vCenter Server’ and how from VxRail code release ‘7.0.130’ this VxRail managed vCenter can now support managing multiple VxRail clusters (standard, 2-node or stretched) from a single embedded vCenter instance (non-VxRail clusters are not supported). Prior to the VxRail 7.0.130 release a single embedded vCenter instance could only manage the single VxRail cluster to which it was deployed. This in my opinion is a valuable enhancement that ‘7.0.130’ brings and helps in areas such as vCenter licensing and of course reducing the overhead of managing multiple vCenter servers. It’s worth noting at this point an ‘External’ vCenter server supports managing multiple VxRail clusters also but the important takeaway here is the additional overhead of managing and life cycling this external vCenter server independent of VxRail LCM and of course associated licensing.
First VxRail Cluster Deployment
So how is this achieved? Well first off during the initialization of the first VxRail cluster you select the vCenter server option: ‘VxRail-Provided vCenter Server’
As can be viewed from the images below the first VxRail Cluster and associated vCenter server have been deployed with vCenter mode set to ‘Embedded’:
Second VxRail Cluster Deployment
As can be viewed from the images below the second (and any subsequent) VxRail Cluster gets deployed with vCenter mode set to ‘External’ – Which in this case we point at the VxRail managed vCenter deployed as part of the first VxRail:
After the initialization of the second VxRail cluster we now have a single VxRail Managed vCenter server instance managing multiple VxRail clusters. With the first initially deployed VxRail Manager handling the life cycle management of the single vCenter server.
vCenter Server Licensing
This all includes the embedded vCenter Standard license that is included with the VxRail Managed vCenter server (non transferrable license):
Hope this post helped to explain VxRail & vCenter multi-cluster scenarios!
Thanks for Reading!
Nice write-up Dave!
Interesting indeed, but do you know if it is supported in a stretched-cluster configuration ?
Hi Frederic, yes inclusive of SC. Thanks
Are there any VxRail-specific sizing issues outside of the normal vCenter limitations around host/cluster maximums etc? E.G. maximum of 10x VxRail clusters per vCenter, or maximum of 200x VxRail hosts regardless of the number of clusters?
Hi Kyle, follows normal VC limits. Thanks
Can we managed non-rail hosts with the internal VC?
Hi Grant, supported for VxRail clusters.