Adding hosts to the SDDC Manager inventory is called commissioning. You can add hosts individually or use a JSON template to commission multiple hosts at once. You can also run multiple commission hosts tasks at the same time.

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, VMware Cloud Foundation validates and commissions each host. Each host is added to the free pool and is available for VI workload domains and vSphere clusters.
  • 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.
  • Hosts that use vVols storage can only be used with vVols-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 and the maximum number of commission hosts tasks that you can run in parallel.

Ensure that a network pool supports the storage type you select for a host (vSAN, NFS, VMFS on FC, vVols). See Network Pool Management.

If you used hosts with certificates generated by an external CA for bring-up, hosts used for expanding workload domains (management or VI) or for creating VI workload domains must also use certificates generated by an external CA. See Configure ESXi Hosts with Signed Certificates.

Note: When you add a host during host commissioning, SDDC Manager temporarily activates SSH on the host in order to retrieve the host key. After it retrieves the host key, SDDC Manager deactivates SSH on the host.


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.
  • Hosts for vVols-based workload domains are certified on the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide.
    • For vVols on FC-based workload domains, ensure that all ESXi hosts have access to the FC array before launching the workflow.
    • For vVols on NFS-based workload domains, ensure that all ESXi hosts must be able to reach the NFS server from the NFS network assigned in the IP pool.

    • For vVols on iSCSI-based workload domains, ensure that the iSCSI software initiator must be enabled on each ESXi host and the VASA provider URL must be listed as the dynamic target.

  • 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 must be restricted to the management port group.
  • Host has the drivers and firmware versions specified in the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide.
  • A supported version of ESXi is installed on the host. See the VMware Cloud Foundation Release Notes for information about supported versions.
  • DNS is configured for forward and reverse lookup and FQDN.
  • Host name must be same as the FQDN.
  • Self-signed certificate regenerated based on FQDN of host. See Regenerate the Self-Signed Certificate on All Hosts.
  • Management IP address is configured on the first NIC port.
  • Host has a standard switch and configured with 10 Gbps speed default uplinks starting with vmnic0 and increasing sequentially.
  • Hardware health status is healthy without any errors.
  • All disk partitions on HDD and SSD are deleted.
  • Network pool must be created and available before host commissioning.
  • Hosts for the vSAN-based workload domain must be associated with the vSAN enabled network pool.
  • Hosts for the NFS-based workload domain are associated with the NFS enabled network pool.
  • Host is configured with an appropriate gateway. The gateway must be part of the management subnet.


  1. In the navigation pane, click Inventory > Hosts.
  2. Click Commission Hosts.
  3. On the Checklist page, review the prerequisites and confirm by clicking Select All.
  4. Click Proceed.
  5. Select whether you want to add hosts one at a time or import multiple hosts at once from a JSON file.
    Option Description
    Add new Enter the following information for the host you want to add:
    • Host FQDN

      The host FQDN must match the host name (including capitalization) provided during DNS configuration.

    • Storage Type (vSAN, vSAN Remote, NFS, VMFS on FC, or vVol) for principal storage
      • If you select vVols as the storage type, specify the vVols storage protocol type (FC, iSCSI, or NFS).
      • If you select vSAN as the storage type, specify the vSAN Type (Local vSAN or Remote vSAN (HCI Mesh) Compute).
        Note: VxRail does not support the HCI Mesh compute-only feature.
    • Network Pool Name (select a network pool from the drop-down menu)
    • User Name and Password (root credentials for the ESXi host)

    Click Add.

    You can now add more ESXi hosts or proceed to the next step.
    1. To download the JSON template, click the link.
    2. Open the JSON template file and enter information about the hosts to add.
      • Host FQDN
      • Username and password (ESXi root credentials)
      • Storage type (vSAN, vSAN Remote, NFS, FC, or VVOL) for principal storage
      • Network pool name
        Note: You only need to provide the vVols storage protocol type (FC, ISCSI, or NFS) when you are using VVOLS as the storage type
        Sample JSON file
    3. To locate and select the JSON file containing host information, click Browse.
    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.
    VMware 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.
  9. Activate or deactivate Skip failed hosts during commissioning.
    This setting is enabled by default. When enabled, hosts that fail are skipped and commissioning continues on the remaining hosts.
  10. Click Commission.
    The Hosts page appears, and the status of the commission task is displayed in the Tasks window.
    Note: Multiple VMkernels are created to test the vMotion network, which may cause changes in the MAC addresses and IP address relations. If MAC address filtering is enabled on your physical infrastructure, this may cause issues such as vMotion network connectivity validation failure.


The commissioned hosts are added to the hosts table in the SDDC Manager inventory as unassigned hosts.