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I am a bit confused as to how a vCenter Server 6.5 installation works.

I am testing in a lab environment with the following setup:

  1. I have a Windows 10 laptop with VMware Workstation installed.

  2. I have created a virtual machine in Workstation running ESXi 6.5.

  3. I have create a virtual machine in Workstation running Windows Server 2012 R2. I have set up AD and DNS on it.

  4. I have set up IP addresses and hostnames as follows: esxi1.ad.example.com / 192.168.59.128 and win2012.ad.example.com / 192.168.59.129.

  5. I have set up the forward and reverse DNS entries for both machines. From a browser on the Windows Server I can connect to esxi1.ad.example.com

  6. In the Windows Server I ran the vCenter Server 6.5 Appliance ui installer. On the Appliance target page I specified esxi1.ad.example.com as the ESXi host.

  7. On the Configure Network Settings page, it asks for a System name and IP address. I used vc.ad.example.com as the System name and 192.168.59.200 for the IP address. I also set these up in DNS on the Windows Server.

A couple of questions that I have: Since vCenter is being deployed to the ESXi server, does that mean that both vCenter and ESXi are running on the same server but with different IP addresses? Is it okay for the same machine to have two hostnames and two IP addresses?

Also, if vCenter is mainly just for management, but the virtual machines are really stored on the ESXi hosts, why is it that the vCenter needs a lot of RAM? (> 10GB) I would have assumed it would be the other way around.

Answer

I think I have come up with the answer to my questions. Due to the suspended question, I cannot answer it myself, but here is what I think are the answers to my questions. Hopefully it will help someone else.

Question 1: Since vCenter is being deployed to the ESXi server, does that mean that both vCenter and ESXi are running on the same server but with different IP addresses?

Question 2: Is it okay for the same machine to have two hostnames and two IP addresses?

Answer to both questions: I was misunderstanding the deployment process. I was under the assumption that vCenter Server was software that was being installed within the ESXi environment as a kind of add on. Instead, what is happening is that the vCenter Server is being deployed as a virtual machine in the ESXi environment. Of course, since it is a virtual machine it can have its own separate IP address and hostname.

closed as off-topic by Chopper3, ceejayoz, Greg Askew, Rob Moir, Jenny D Jun 11 '17 at 18:24

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions on Server Fault must be about managing information technology systems in a business environment. Home and end-user computing questions may be asked on Super User, and questions about development, testing and development tools may be asked on Stack Overflow." – Chopper3, ceejayoz, Greg Askew, Rob Moir, Jenny D
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • After setup is complete I try connecting to the server through the web browser or pinging the IP address. Neither seem to be working. - Maybe give us some actual details about the problem. – joeqwerty May 31 '17 at 12:49
  • "Seem to be working" is an opinion, not a description of what error you see. How do I ask a good question is a good place to start reading. The basics that should be included are: What have you tried? What did you expect to happen? What happened instead? What does your config look like? Do you have any log entries from the times it didn't work as expected? – Jenny D Jun 11 '17 at 18:24
  • Jenny D, my apologies. I should have said "neither are working". It was not meant to be an opinion. I will change my question accordingly. – kojow7 Jun 11 '17 at 19:31
  • @JennyD, Also, I only asked two questions here, neither one of them depend on whether I was able to make the connection or not. I was not asking anyone to solve my problem. If you re-read again, you will notice that my two questions are marked by question marks. I am simply trying to understand the process. – kojow7 Jun 11 '17 at 19:47
1

Since vCenter is being deployed to the ESXi server, does that mean that both vCenter and ESXi are running on the same server but with different IP addresses?

Sort of. ESXi is a hypervisor just like VMware Workstation is a hypervisor. By installing ESXi onto VMware workstation, you're effectively doing what's known as "nested" virtualization...as in, running a hypervisor within another hypervisor. And your vCenter install is running on top of the nested hypervisor.

Here is a VMware Community post with more information.

Your issues with vCenter likely have less to do with vCenter specifically and more do to with not really understanding how networking works in a hypervisor like ESXi combined possibly with not configuring certain settings to properly enable nested virtualization.

If your goal is just to learn vCenter specifically, it's possible install it directly in VMware Workstation without needing a virtualized ESXi instance. Here's a random google result blog post that describes the process. There are plenty more out there.

You'll likely still want a virtualized ESXi instance to manage with vCenter. But this will simplify your setup a bit.

  • Thank you Ryan, I appreciate it. I will try to implement the one mentioned in the blog post and see what happens. Also, if vCenter is mainly just for management, but the virtual machines are really stored on the ESXi hosts, why is it that the vCenter needs a lot of RAM? (> 10GB) I would have assumed it would be the other way around. – kojow7 May 31 '17 at 19:50

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