I've learned that I've been living the good life with vCenter (formerly known as virtualcenter). It's always been a part of the environments under my care. Now I'm seeing that other shops are not as lucky... I keep having to look up ways to hack around the things that I've taken for granted all this time. Like alarms, historical graphs, cloning... I could go on. Luckily the hacks are out there, it's just not pretty.
You can get 3 vSphere Essentials lics + vcenter for under $1k. Now, that cheap version of vcenter has some gotchas like database size, but worth it. So worth it. So all you smallish shops: Use vCenter, please. Don't run it as a VM *on* the hosts it's managing. You'll thank me later.