vSphere 5.5 nuggets: vCenter Server Appliance limitations lifted!

For those who haven’t seen it… the vCenter Server Appliance limitations that there were around the number of virtual machines and hosts are lifted. Where the vCenter Server Appliance with the embedded ternal database used to be limited to a maximum of 5 hosts and 50 virtual machines this has been increased with vSphere 5.5 to 100 hosts and 3000 virtual machines when you use the embedded database, with an external Oracle database the limits are similar to that of the Windows version of vCenter Server! If you ask me, this means that the vCenter Server Appliance with the embedded database can be used in almost every scenario! That makes life easier indeed.

Couple of other awesome enhancements when it comes to vCenter Server:

  • Drag and drop functionality added! So you can simply drag and drop a VM on to a host again, or a host in to a cluster
  • OS X support, I know many of you have been waiting for this one.
  • Support for Database Clustering solutions, finally!

By itself they appear to be minor things, but if you ask me… this is a huge step forward for the vCenter Server Appliance! Some more details to be found in the what’s new whitepaper in vSphere 5.5 for Platform.


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    1. Steven says

      No heartbeat support = dealbreaker for us still. Moving vcenter to an appliance sounds fantastic, but needs full support. Like mentioned above, limited VUM is another deal breaker for us. Compliance headache. :(

    2. Patrick says

      Still needs Update Manager and multi-cpu FT (or written to run on a single vCPU) before I could use it in production.

      Still SMB tailored, which it would support the needs of SME.

    3. Ross Cavanagh says

      I have been lucky enough to be at one of the companies that’s part of the beta testing of 5.5, one of the things I’ve been so, so, so happy with is web client OSX compatibility! Finally! Still so much more I want to play around on it too though.

    4. kopper says

      do you know when this version 5.5 is going to be released?

      We were thinking about buying SQL to consolidate our 4 vcenters but now seeing this no need to buy any SQL licenses

    5. Nodau says

      I’m using vcsa 5.1 and view 5.2 with linked clones without any issue. i installed view composer on top of the connection server.

      great news

    6. says

      I am using Update Manager with vCenter 5.1 Appliance and it works well. The appliance is very fast and easy. Upgrading from 5.0 to 5.1 was painful. I hope going to 5.5 will not hurt too bad.

    7. Wagner says

      Hi Ducan, great information although I don´t see any advantage to use vCSA in a production environment besides your simplicity. I have a question: it´s possible to migrate vCenter Appliance to a vCenter Server on Windows using the same Oracle external database? I believe that is not, but I need to be sure to take it or not. Tks a lot.

      • teiva says

        A VMware TA advised that the migration is NOT supported due to schema differences..I am little disappointed because I started off with a Appliance and pointed a windows installation to the database and am sure it worked. Not tried the otherway around. I am have asked for a data export and import method..and am waiting on a response. VMware is powering forward onto SUSE Linux appliances and off MS…so there is bound to be a migration (streamlined or not) in someone’s head.

    8. Jason Kary says

      Is the 100/3000 limit a hard limit or just ‘not supported after…’?


    9. teiva says

      The word is that VMware update manager will be off Windows and onto Linux (my guess SUSE) by version 6. As for linked-mode, i heard that if you join multiple vcenter to the same single sign on backend, you will see a “linked-mode” like experience.

    10. siraj says

      Hey i want to know “Windows vCenter Server 5.5 versus vCenter Server Appliance 5.5”
      right now i am using vCenter server 5.1 on windows 2008 R2 with oracle Database..is it supported to migrate existing Database to appliance?

      please help me…

    11. says

      Hi Duncan,

      I have been getting a lot of e-mails lately and concern of customers about an article I wrote at: http://www.virtualizationteam.com/server-virtualization/vcenter-server-appliance-5-5-limitations.html

      and few others online including yours about the limit of the vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 and why it can not scale to the same limit of the windows installed vCenter. It seems many customer has assumed that limit apply even when using the Oracle database as all of us just mentioned the limit of when we are running the embedded database and failed to mention that the limit match the Windows version of vCenter when using an Oracle Database. I have added a note to my article and I will be reaching out to the few bloggers in a hope we avoid unintentionally misleading users. As your blog seems to be the most influential(Not to mention the one quoted by my customer on this one) I decided to start by contacting you first and see if you can add a note or something to help clear thing up.


    12. vishal says

      can we put a host that is also running vCenter server appliance into cluster of ESXi host to create a DRS cluster

    13. bigt says

      Do you know if you can start with the embedded database and transition to an Oracle database as your environment grows?

    14. Jonathan Shapiro says

      I currently run a VMware 5.1 cluster with a physical machine running vCenter and SQL Express database on Windows Server 2008 R2. I’m wondering what the migration process would be to go from that to 5.5 with vCenter Appliance? Do I have to manually recreate the cluster, or is there some means to export and import the configuration?

    15. says

      Good article, thank you !
      For those interested in deploying this vApp here is a the missing script for the VMWare Knowledge Base Article 2057223
      Bash Script – Configuring CA signed certificates for vCenter Virtual Appliance 5.5