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When it comes to running vSphere 6, administrators will have to choose between the Linux-based appliance dubbed vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) or the Windows-based version to manage the virtual infrastructure.
While vCSA has many advantages to it from a maintenance and licensing aspect, there have also been a few drawbacks. In previous versions of vSphere, because vCSA lagged behind the Windows offering in terms of scale, and could not implement all the functions in vSphere, this steered many enterprises to the Windows version. However, with this latest release of vSphere, VMware says the two versions of vCenter Server are now even in features and performance. For example, both vCSA and the Windows install support a maximum of 1,000 hosts and can manage 10,000 VMs in vSphere 6.
As Linux grows in popularity thanks to appliances and containers, does that mean the Windows version of vCenter Server may not have much time left in the data center?
The Windows install of vCenter Server is "not going away," according to Guy Bowers, senior systems engineer at VMware. Bowers addressed this during his presentation on performance best practices for vSphere 6 at the 2015 Boston VMUG UserCon in June.
"There's always going to be a certain subset of customers who are always going to require and want to have the traditional Windows-based install for security reasons or part of their corporate policies," said Bowers. "They may be in a situation where they don't have a choice but to use the Windows install version. I don't see that as going away. I do see that, from a cost perspective, customers are moving in that [Linux] direction to save costs and simplify their environment."
While it's clear VMware wants its users to get more comfortable using vCSA, there is one drawback for users who go that route. The Linux-based appliance does not currently support vCenter Update Manager (VUM) because it is not yet supported in the vSphere Web Client. For users who need to run VUM on vCSA, they will need a separate Windows machine to run VUM using the Windows-based C# client.
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