Design question: Why vCenter Server Datacenter?

When working on a design in which there would be two physical datacenters, I started to rethink about why I would create multiple datacenters inside vCenter Server. I noticed that almost all example designs I look at that cover two physical datacenters, also have two datacenters in the vCenter Server design. But why?

Datacenter design

When searching for an answer in the vSphere 5.1 documentation, the only reason mentioned to create a datacenter is “You can create multiple datacenters to organize sets of environments.“. But it also states that creating datacenters creates limits: “Inventory objects can interact within a datacenter, but interaction across datacenters is limited. For example, you can hot migrate virtual machines from one host to another host in the same datacenter, but not from a host in one datacenter to a host in a different datacenter.

For organising objects in vCenter Server, I can also use folders. I can put a datacenter in a folder, I can put a cluster in a folder and I can set permissions at folder level. In other words, creating the logical design in vCenter Server to match the physical design, can also be done using folders, but without the limitations.

datacenter design 02.png

My basic statement is: “When I have two physical datacenters, I should not by default create two logical datacenters  in vCenter Server”.

Yes, there are reasons to do create two datacenters, but those are very limited. When I asked the question on twitter I got quite a few responses and only one really demanded two logical datacenters, when creating a DMZ and you want to make sure VMs don’t travel between the two datacenters.

Most other cases in which people created two datacenters could also be matched by using folders.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be using datacenters, but I just want to see if my statement is correct and that you shouldn’t just blindly create multiple datacenters and thereby limiting functionality like Shared-Nothing Storage VMotion.

Would love to see your comments on that.

Update: Forbes Guthrie wrote a blogpost in response to my question. In his post he shows the do’s and don’ts for the vCenter Server datacenter: Why use the Datacenter object in vCenter?