A real concern for implementing the vCenter Server appliance (vCSA) 5.1 in production environments is the environment limits with the use of the embedded database. The embedded database with 5.1 has a limit of 5 managed hosts and 50 managed VM’s. That is not the size of production in a lot of setups.
The maximums could be lifted, but needed an external database service that was limited to only Oracle (and with the 5.5 version still is limited to Oracle as an external database). Not a lot of organizations use Oracle for infrastructure services, so that option is not widely used (or at least haven’t seen that around much). I’ve only used the vCSA in lab / testing environments.

With the introduction of vCSA 5.5 one of the most important parts is a reengineered embedded database (vPostgres). This lifts the configuration maximums of the vCSA to (editted, still production worth though) 100 managed hosts and 3000 managed VM’s. Well that’s more like it, this is production worth.

Table with specification vCSA 5.1 vs vCSA 5.5.

*) Specifications of the minimum requirements are depending on your environment. Don’t expect a difference approach, 2vCPU and memory according to your environment size. Scale down or scale up the standards.

The 5.5 release makes vCSA a production appliance. It is deployed fast and in comparison to a vCenter server does not need a Windows license.

– I’m gonna see a lot more of the vCSA 5.5 in customer environments.

— This post has been edited to change the number of managed hosts to 100 and managed VM’s to 3000. Earlier numbers were unofficial.

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