I did an article on the vSphere 6 Platform Services Controller a while ago. After attending a session on changes in vSphere 6.5 at vFORUM, I thought it would be an idea to revisit this, and frame it in the context of vCenter 6.5 upgrades.
In vCenter 6.5, the architecture is a bit different to 5.x. With the PSC, you get:
- VMware vCenter Single Sign-On
- License service
- Lookup service
- VMware Directory Services
- VMware Certificate Authority
And the vCenter Server Service gives you:
- vCenter Server
- VMware vSphere Web Client
- VMware vSphere Auto Deploy
- VMware vSphere ESXi Dump Collector
- vSphere Syslog Collector on Windows and vSphere Syslog Service for VMware vCenter Server Appliance
- vSphere Update Manager
There are some basic configurations that you can go with, but I generally don’t recommend these for anything outside of a lab or test environment. In these configurations, the PSC is either embedded or external to the vCenter Server. The choice here will be dependent on the sizing and feature requirements of your environment.
If you want to use Enhanced Linked Mode an external PSC is recommended. If you want it highly available, you’ll still need to use a load balancer. This VMware KB article provides some handy insights and updates from 6.0.
vCenter Upgrade Scenarios
Your upgrade architecture you’ll choose depends on where your vCenter services reside. If your vCenter server has SSO installed, it becomes a vCenter Server with an embedded PSC.
If, however, some of the vSphere components are installed on separate VMs then the Web Client and Inventory Service become part of the “Management Node” (your vCenter box) and the PSC (with SSO) is separate/external.
Note also that vSphere 6.5 still requires a load balancer for vSphere High Availability.
This is not something that’s necessarily going to come up each day. But if you’re working either directly with VMware, via an integrator or doing it yourself, your choice of vCenter architecture should be a key consideration in your planning activities. As with most upgrades to key infrastructure components, you should take the time to plan appropriately.