Update: This post has been updated on Feb 23, 2011 as I have been kicked right and left by my colleagues at VMware, as this post used to be titled “Running vCenter in a virtual machine within a distributed switch is not supported”, where its actually supported. Unfortunately, this info was communicated to me by VMware support when I was working at a partner before joining VMware but that was at the early dates when vDistributed Switch was first released. So here I am correcting my statement & mentioning its actually supported, but I still don’t recommend connecting your vCenter VM to the distributed switch it manage. The way I normally recommend doing things is actually to utilize a standard vSwitch for Management/VMkernel port groups where vCenter (running as a VM) connect to the Management port group. This configuration usually help avoid pitfalls. The below post has been updated accordingly.
Many companies have always considered running Virtual Center in a virtual machine due to many advantages found below:
· Server Consolidation: instead of dedicating an entire physical server to VirtualCenter, you can run it in a virtual machine along with others on the same ESX Server host.
· Mobility: by encapsulating the VirtualCenter server in a virtual machine, you can transfer it from one host to another, enabling maintenance and other activities.
· Snapshots: A snapshot of the VirtualCenter virtual machine can be used for backup,
archiving, and other similar purposes.
· Availability: using VMware HA, you can provide high availability for the VirtualCenter server
All the advantages above has got me to run most of my customers virtual centers as virtual machines. Though it got my attention that running vCenter into a virtual machine on vSphere with connecting it to vDistributed switch that it manage is not recommended. That makes sense as vCenter governs the distributed switch. Imagine the case where your vCenter fail while it was connected to the vdistributed switch that it governs. If you try to bring up the vCenter with HA, you could run in some pitfalls. You need vCenter connected and running for the vSwitch configuration changes & vCenter needs the vdistribute switch to work.
Its worth mentioning that it’s actually recommended to still keep the Management & VMkernel ports on a standard vSwitch where you can still connect your vCenter, & utilize the vDistributed switch for all the VMs Port Groups & traffic. This will help you avoid a lot of pitfalls.
I thought I will mention this on here to ensure that you avoid this ugly mistake. If you have read this post & it saved your job, please award me a comment.