How to Deploy vCenter 7 Enhanced Linked Mode [Step-by-Step]
If you need to manage a large vSphere environment, is there any feature allowing you to centrally manage your multiple vCenter Servers to work simultaneously? In fact, vCenter Enhanced Linked Mode is exactly what you are looking for. This article will show you how to deploy vCenter 7 Linked Mode as an example.
What is vCenter Enhanced Linked Mode
If you need to manage a large vSphere environment, you may want a feature that allows you to centrally manage your multiple vCenter Servers to work simultaneously. To meet this need, VMware offers the vCenter Enhanced Linked Mode.
vCenter Enhanced Linked Mode (ELM) allows you to log in to any single instance of vCenter Server and view and manage the inventories of all the vCenter Server systems in the group.
Enhanced Linked Mode provides the following features for vCenter Server:
- Log in to all linked vCenter Server systems simultaneously with a single user name and password.
- View and search the inventories of all linked vCenter Server systems within the vSphere Client.
- Roles, permission, licenses, tags, and policies are replicated across linked vCenter Server systems.
vCenter Linked Mode requires the vCenter Server Standard licensing level, and is not supported with vCenter Server Foundation or vCenter Server Essentials. Next, this article will explain how does it work and how to configure vCenter 7 Linked Mode as an example.
How does vCenter Linked Mode work
vCenter Servers in Enhanced Linked Mode can be connected together as part of the same Single Sign-On (SSO) domain, allowing administrators to log in to any of the linked vCenter Servers simultaneously using a single set of credentials.
Enhanced Linked Mode connects multiple vCenter Server systems together by using one or more Platform Services Controllers (PSC). It needs to be noted that in previous versions such as vCenter Server 6.0, the external PSC nodes are required. However, in vCenter 7.0 the external PSC deployment model is not supported.
You can consolidate your external PSC(s) into the embedded model using the converge tool built into the vCenter 7.0 upgrade UI. During installation of the Platform Services Controller, you can select whether to create a vCenter Single Sign-On domain or join an existing domain.
Enhanced linked mode support is enabled for vCenter Server appliance deployments. You can join up to 15 vCenter Server appliance deployments with vCenter Enhanced Linked Mode in a single vSphere Single Sign-On domain.
How to configure vCenter 7 Linked Mode
To deploy vCenter 7 Linked Mode, you can join a vCenter Server appliance to another node during deployment of the vCenter Server appliance, or join a vCenter Enhanced Linked Mode group by moving, or repointing a vCenter Server from one vSphere domain to another existing domain.
Next, this part will show you the steps to deploy two vCenter Server appliance systems and join the two nodes using vCenter Enhanced Linked Mode. At least 2 appliances are required in the following operations.
- For Appliance 1, deploy the vCenter Server appliance as an instance on ESXi Host 1. Synchronize the time settings with ESXi Host 1.
- For Appliance 2, deploy the vCenter Server appliance as an instance on ESXi Host 1 and configure the time settings so that Appliance 2 is synchronized with ESXi Host 1. In stage 2 you select to join the vCenter Single Sign-On server of the deployed appliance on Appliance 1.
If you already have a vCenter Server with an existing SSO domain, you can skip to Step 13 to configure Appliance 2. If you do not, you may need to start from scratch.
Before you begin, please make sure your target vCenter Servers are running the same version.
☞ Steps to deploy Appliance 1
1. Download VMware vCenter Server Appliance ISO image from the official site, and then mount the ISO image as a virtual DVD drive.
Navigate to vcsa-ui-installer\win32 directory and find installer.exe, right-click on installer.exe and select Run as administrator.
2. On the interface of vCenter Server Installer application, click Install to start the installation.
3. Follow the wizard of stage 1 vCenter Server deployment, select I accept the terms of the license agreement option, and click Next.
4. Specify the vCenter Server deployment target settings. The target is the ESXi host or vCenter Server instance on which the vCenter Server will be deployed.
5. Specify the VM settings for the vCenter Server to be deployed.
6. Select the deployment size for this vCenter Server. You can refer to the official chart of resources required for different deployment sizes.
7. Select the storage location for this vCenter Server. By default, to install vCenter Server Appliance on ESXi host you need to install it on an existing datastore that is accessible from the target host.
8. Configure network settings for this vCenter Server.
9. Review the settings and click Finish to initialize stage 1 deployment. When it completes, click Next to continue stage 2 vCenter Server setup.
10. Set the time Synchronize mode. Click Next to continue.
11. Select to Create a new SSO domain, provide relevant credentials and then click Next.
12. Check Join the VMware’s Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) option and click Next to review the settings. Then you can click Finish to initialize the setup.
☞ Steps to deploy Appliance 2
13. Follow the above steps to Finish stage 1 deployment, and click Next to continue stage 2 vCenter Server setup.
14. Set the time Synchronize mode. Click Next to continue.
15. Select to Join an existing SSO domain, and provide relevant credentials to join the existing SSO domain. Click Next to continue.
16. Check Join the VMware’s Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) option and click Next to review the settings. Then you can click Finish to initialize the setup.
Now you can log in VMware vSphere Client, and select the target vCenter and click Linked vCenter Server Systems to validate the vCenter Linked Mode configuration.
Agentless Backup Software for VMware ESXi & vCenter Server
Neither ESXi host nor vCenter Server provides the feature of virtual machine backup. And that makes backup software a commonly accepted choice.
You can try the agentless VMware backup software - AOMEI Cyber Backup, it enables you to backup multiple VMs either managed by vCenter Server, or on a standalone ESXi host, supports both paid and free versions of ESXi 6.5 to 8.0.
If you want to manage multiple vCenter Servers working at the same time, vCenter Enhanced Linked Mode allows you to view and manage the inventories of all the vCenter Server systems in one group that you create. This article showed the steps to properly deploy vCenter Enhanced Linked Mode.
In addition, if the VMware vSphere web client display the error when using Enhanced Linked Mode, you can refer to [Fix] Could Not Connect to One or More vCenter Server Systems to learn the causes and solution.