vCenter Components :

vCenter Single Sign-On

An authentication service that utilizes a secure token exchange mechanism rather than requiring components to authenticate users per component.

Security Token Service (STS)

A component that is part of vCenter Single Sign-On and provides SAML tokens to authenticate users to other vCenter components instead of requiring users to authenticate to each component. A user who authenticates to vCenter Single Sign-On is granted SAML tokens, which are then used for authentication.

Administration server

A component that provides vCenter Single Sign-On administration and configuration from the vSphere Client.

vCenter Lookup Service

A service that contains the topology of the vSphere infrastructure, allowing secure communication between vSphere components.

VMware Directory Service

The directory service for the vCenter Single Sign-On (SSO) domain (vsphere.local).

vCenter Server plug-ins

Applications that add functionality to vCenter. These usually consist of server and client components.

vCenter Server database

A database that contains the status of all virtual machines, ESXi hosts, and users. It is deployed via the vCenter Server deployment wizard.


A service that is co-installed with vCenter and is used by web services such as ICIM/Hardware status, Performance charts, WebAccess, Storage Policy Based Services, and vCenter Service status.

License Service

A service that is used to store the available licenses and manage the license assignments for the entire vSphere environment.

vCenter Server Agent

A service that is installed on an ESXi host when that host is added to vCenter’s inventory. This service collects, communicates, and runs actions initiated from the vSphere Client.

Host Agent

An administrative agent installed with the ESXi installation. Responsible for collecting, communicating, and running actions initiated from the vSphere Host Client.

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