vCenter Server 6.0 Deployment Models and Recommended Topologies

vSphere 6.0 has finally arrived! Many engineers and architects are wondering what are the new recommended topologies for the Platform Services Controller (PSC) and vCenter Server. I have compiled a list of recommended topologies in vSphere 6.0. For starters, you can think of the PSC as Single Sign-On + more. It provides the same functionality as SSO would have, but has additional services and functionality built in. All of these topologies can utilize either a Windows deployment, or an appliance for the PSC and  or vCenter Server.

vCenter Server with an Embedded PSC


Multiple vCenter Servers with an External PSC


Multiple PSCs and one or more vCenter Servers.


PSCs with a Load Balancer

Obviously there are many more combinations that you can use, but these are a very high level of whats recommended. Again it’s important to note that you the PSCs or vCenter Servers can be either Windows based or appliance based, whatever suits your environment best!

Posted by:

Sean Whitney


  1. David -  March 26, 2015 - 6:09 am 63

    What doesVMware mean with a maximum number of VMware products/solutions. We have 10 Virtual Centers, 10 SRM servers and also 2 servers for VRealize Operations manager. Is this 22 solutions or 3 solutions?
    And what happens when you go over the limit?

    • Sean Whitney -  March 26, 2015 - 2:41 pm 64

      Hi David,

      Are you referring to the limit in the configuration maximums document below?

      “Maximum number of VMware Solutions connected to a single PSC: 4”

      As I understand this is a soft limit based off testing and since SRM and VRO creates a solution user I would count them both. In your case you have 22 solutions which would require at least 6 external PSCs.


  2. David -  March 27, 2015 - 3:43 am 65

    Hi Sean, I’m a little bit confused. First I receive a mail from you were you say that you recommend al least 3 external PSCs and here you say 6.


    • Sean Whitney -  March 27, 2015 - 6:12 pm 66

      Hi David, sorry for the confusion. I had to edit my post once I realized SRM and vCO were actually considered solutions.

    • Sean Whitney -  April 8, 2015 - 12:36 pm 80

      Hi David,

      I have just received new information. SRM does not count as a solution for the PSC. Site Recovery Manager (SRM), vRealize Orchestrator (vRO), vRealize Automation (vRA), and vRealize Operations (vROp) only utilize part of the libraries of the PSC.


  3. VMwareguy -  January 18, 2016 - 6:50 am 370

    Hi Sean,

    The maximum number of vmware solution is 10. I am planning to have 7 VCs and 6 PSCs, 3 VCs in Site A with 2 PSCs, 2 VCs each in site B & C with 2 PSCs. Will it count as 2 Solutions (VC / PSC) or 13.

  4. VMwareguy -  January 18, 2016 - 7:16 am 373

    Hi Sean,

    I read the statement again and found only vCenter is defined as a fully integrated solution and counts against these maximums. Which means 7 solutions in one single domain in my case.

  5. Puneet Sharma -  September 4, 2017 - 10:28 am 604

    Hi Sean,

    Your posts are really knowledgeable. Request you kindly share the notfication with me for future post’s.

  6. Vince -  December 11, 2017 - 12:31 pm 623

    Hi Sean,

    Thanks for this article.. VERY helpful! I have a scenario that I wanted to run past you before I get started on it.. Hoping to avoid any surpises..

    We are attempting to upgrade our vSphere environment to version 6.0.0 update 3. Our vSphere environment consists of 2 sites – one site is running version 5.5.0 build 2646482 and the other site is running version 5.5.0 build 4180647. Both sites have embedded SSO functions and are on different SSO domains.
    Once we complete the upgrade we will plan to use use 2 external Platform Services Controllers in Enhanced Link Mode. These servers will be running on Windows 2012 R2 virtual machines.
    Have 2 questions:
    1. Would it be beneficial to get our 2 vCenter servers in the same SSO domain before we start the actual upgrade, or will it be easier to move them to the same SSO domain during the installation SSO on the external machines?
    2. Will the difference in build numbers require any upgrades/patches or will we be able to go to version 6.0.0 upgrade 3 directly from each build?
    Thanks for any direction or suggestions!


    • Senior-ZK -  August 23, 2018 - 3:43 pm 656

      Hi Vince
      could you please share your experience with me?
      I want to know what came over you at the end and listening to your advice.


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