Adding hosts to the Cloud Foundation inventory is called commissioning. You can add hosts individually or use a JSON template to add multiple hosts at once.

The hosts that you want to commission must meet a set of criteria. After you specify host details and select the network pool to associate a host with, Cloud Foundation validates and commissions each host. Each host is added to the free pool and is available for workload domain creation.
The storage type you select for a host (vSAN, NFS, VMFS on FC), must be supported by its associated network pool. A network pool can support both vSAN and NFS. For VMFS on FC storage, the network pool must be vMotion only or vMotion and NFS.
  • Hosts that use vSAN storage can only be used with vSAN-based workload domains.
  • Hosts that use NFS storage can only be used with NFS-based workload domains.
  • Hosts that use VMFS on FC storage can only be used with VMFS on FC-based workload domains.
Note: The management domain can only include hosts that use vSAN storage.

See VMware Configuration Maximums for information about the maximum number of hosts you can commission at one time.


Ensure that each host you are commissioning meets the following criteria:
  • Hosts for vSAN-based workload domains are vSAN-compliant and certified on the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide.
  • Hosts for NFS-based workload domains are certified on the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide.
  • Hosts for VMFS on FC-based workload domains are certified on the VMware Compatibility Guide. In addition, the hosts must have supported FC cards (Host Bus Adapters) and drivers installed and configured. For compatible FC cards, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.
  • Host has the drivers and firmware versions specified in the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide.
  • Hardware health status is healthy without any errors.
  • A supported version of ESXi is installed on the host. See the VMware Cloud Foundation Release Notes for information about supported versions.
  • Two NIC ports with a minimum 10 Gbps speed. One port must be free, and the other port must be configured on a standard switch. This switch should be restricted to the management port group.

    You can commission hosts with more than two NICs using the Cloud Foundation API.

  • Management IP address is configured on the first NIC port.
  • Host is configured with appropriate gateway. The gateway must be part of the management subnet.
  • SSH and syslog are enabled.
  • DNS is configured for forward and reverse lookup and FQDN.
  • All disk partitions on HDD and SSD are deleted.
Note: You must have a network pool available in order to commission a host.


  1. On the SDDC Manager Dashboard, click Inventory > Hosts.
  2. Click Commission Hosts.
  3. Confirm that hosts to be commissioned meet each criterion in the checklist and select the check boxes.
  4. Click Proceed.
  5. Select whether you want to add hosts one at a time or import a JSON file to add multiple hosts at once.
    Option Description
    Add new Manually enter the following information for the host you want to add:
    • FQDN
    • Network pool (choose an existing network pool from the list)
    • User name and password (root credentials)
    • Storage type (vSAN, NFS, or VMFS on FC)
    Manually commission a host

    Click Add.

    You can now add more hosts or proceed to the next step.

    1. Click the link to download the JSON template.
    2. Open the JSON template file and enter information about the hosts to add.
      • FQDN
      • User name and password (root credentials)
      • Storage type (vSAN, NFS, or FC)
      • Network pool name
      Sample JSON file
    3. Click Browse to locate and select the JSON file containing host information.
    4. Click Upload.
    The host or hosts appear in the Hosts Added section.
  6. Verify that the server fingerprint is correct for each host and then click the confirm fingerprint icon Confirm fingerprint icon.
  7. Click Validate All.
    Cloud Foundation validates the host information you provided. Each host is marked as Valid or Invalid.

    For invalid hosts, you can correct the problem and validate again, or select the host and click Remove to proceed with commissioning the valid hosts.

  8. Click Next to review the host information and then click Commission to begin commissioning.
    The Hosts page appears, and the status of the commission task is displayed. Click View Status in Task to display the task bar.


The commissioned hosts are added to the host table. The host belongs to a free pool until you assign it to a workload domain.