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Configuring vCenter 6.5 High Availability

vCenter Server 6.5 has a new native high availability solution that is available exclusively for the vCenter Server Appliance. This solution consists of Active, Passive, and Witness nodes which are cloned from the existing vCenter Server. Failover within the vCenter HA cluster can occur when an entire node is lost (host failure for example) or when certain key services fail. Deploying each of the nodes on a different ESXi instance protects against hardware failure. Adding the three ESXi hosts to a DRS cluster can further protect your environment.

When vCenter HA configuration is complete, only the Active node has an active management interface (public IP). The three nodes communicate over a private network called vCenter HA network that is set up as part of configuration. The Active node and the Passive node are continuously replicating data.

Configuration Types –

  • Basic

  • Advanced

When setting up vCenter HA we get option of basic configuration or advanced. The correct deployment type depends on your environment. If the VCSA is managing its own ESXi host and virtual machine, or is managed by another vCenter Server in the same SSO domain then the basic deployment method should be used. This automatically clones the vCenter, and creates DRS anti-affinity rules.

If the VCSA is on a separate vCenter in a different SSO domain then the advanced deployment method should be used. In this case we need to manually add an additional NIC and clone the VCSA.

Basic vCenter HA Configuration

  1. Log in to vCenter web client --> Configure --> vCenter HA

2. Select the configuration types, Basic or Advanced (in my lab I’m using Basic config)

3. An additional NIC will be added to vCenter appliance and IP address will be assigned in a different subnet than management subnet

4. Assign an IP address to Passive & Witness appliance in the same subnet

5. Review the deployment configuration, make sure to place the passive & witness on a different datastores & ESXi host –

Review the compatibility warnings –

6. Monitor the tasks pane for cloning of VCSA peer & witness VM

7. Once HA configuration is completed, vCenter HA status will be enabled

8. We can edit the vCenter HA at any time by clicking Edit button –

9. Choose Maintenance mode to make changes to VCSA and reboot without automatic failover


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