What Is vCenter Server Appliance | How to Check VCSA Services

To get started with vSphere and vCenter Server, you may notice that there are 2 difference options: vCenter Server for Windows and vCenter Server Appliance. What are they and which one should you choose? Keep reading and this article will offer you the answer.


By Crystal / Updated on March 1, 2023

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vCenter Server installation

If you want to efficiently pool and manage VM resources across multiple hosts, vCenter Server is an excellent choice that you definitely don’t want to miss.

There are 2 options available for vCenter Server installation:

  • Windows-based installation: deprecated for vSphere 6.7 or later versions.
  • vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) deployment: first introduced with the release of vSphere 5.0 and has since evolved to become the definitive deployment model for vCenter Server.

vCenter Server for Windows EOL

Therefore, if you use vSphere 6.7 or later versions, you need to deploy vCenter Server via VCSA. Next, this article will provide you more details on what is vCenter Server Appliance.

What is vCenter Server Appliance

Different from Windows-based vCenter Server, VCSA is Linux-based. vCenter Server Appliance is a preconfigured virtual machine that is optimized for running vCenter Server and the associated services.

vCenter Server Appliance

In addition, vCenter Server Appliance has several benefits such as more lightweight, faster and easier deployment, simplified maintenance, reduced hardware requirements, smaller attack surface over the Windows-based installation.

Another key advantage of VCSA is its scalability. VCSA can support up to 2000 hosts and 35000 virtual machines, making it a suitable solution for organization of all sizes. It is now the commonly accepted solution to install vCenter Server on ESXi host.

vCenter Server Appliance components

The vCenter Server appliance package contains the following software:

  • Photon OS
  • The vSphere authentication services
  • PostgreSQL
  • VMware vSphere Lifecycle Manager Extension
  • VMware vCenter Lifecycle Manager

How to check vCenter Appliance Services

In addition to the above components, vCenter Server Appliance also comes with an intuitive web-based user interface, vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface (VAMI), making it easy for administrators to manage vSphere environments from any device with a web browser.

Take look at the steps on how to check vCenter Appliance services via VAMI as an example.

1. In a Web browser, go to the vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface, https://appliance-IP-address-or-FQDN:5480.

2. Log in as root. The default root password is the password that you set while deploying the vCenter Server Appliance.

VAMI summary

3. Click Services from the left inventory.

4. Check which services are stopped. Generally, the services which have a Startup Type of "Manual" or "Disabled" are not required services.

vCenter Server services

Necessary data protection: Batch backup VMs managed by vCenter

You may already know that it is necessary to perform image-based backup of large amounts of VMs managed by vCenter Server, however, vCenter Server does not provide the feature of virtual machine backup. And that makes backup software a commonly accepted choice.

Here I introduce you to a VMware backup software AOMEI Cyber Backup, it enables you to backup multiple VMs either managed by vCenter Server, or on a standalone ESXi host.

Agentless Backup: create complete and independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs.
Flexible vSphere Backup: batch backup large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server, or multiple VMs on a standalone ESXi host.
Multiple Storage Destinations: backup to local drive, or network destinations like NAS.
Automated Execution: create backup schedules to automate backups daily, weekly, monthly.
Restore Entire VM: restore instant available VMs from any selected restore points to an original or new location.

AOMEI Cyber Backup supports both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi 6.0 and later versions. Next, I will show you how to batch backup VMs managed by vCenter Server with AOMEI Cyber Backup in 4 simple steps.

You can click the following button to download the 30-day free trial.

Download Free trialVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

4 Steps to batch backup VMs managed by vCenter Server

1. Bind Devices: Access to AOMEI Cyber Backup web client, navigate to Source Device > VMware > + Add VMware Device to Add vCenter or Standalone ESXi host. And then click > Bind Device.

Add VMware ESXi host

2. Create Backup Task: Navigate to Backup Task > + Create New Task, and select VMware ESXi Backup as the Backup Type.

3. Set the Task Name, Device, Target, Schedule and Cleanup as needed.

  • Task Name: you can change the task name or use the default name with an ordinal.
  • Device: batch select large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server for centralized backup.

Select virtual machines vCenter

  • Target: select to back up to a local path, or to a network path like NAS.
  • Schedule (optional): perform full, differential, or incremental backup, and automate execution according to the frequency you specified.
  • Cleanup (optional): automatically delete the old backup copies that exceed the retention period you specified.

4. Run Backup: Now you can click Start Backup and select Add the schedule and start backup now, or Add the schedule only.

Start Backup

Created backup tasks will be listed and monitored separately for restoring, progress checking and schedule changing.

When restoring, you can also restore to new location to create a new VM in the same or another datastore/host directly from the backup, saving the trouble of re-configuring the new VM.


vCenter Server Appliance is a lightweight and easy-to-use solution for vCenter Server installation and deployment. As VMware removed vCenter Server for Windows from download, you need to get comfortable with it from now on.

For reference, you can continue to read How to Edit Firewall Settings of vCenter Server Appliance and other articles.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.