To enable your cluster for vSphere HA, you must first create an empty cluster. After you plan the resources and networking architecture of your cluster, use the vSphere Web Client to add hosts to the cluster and specify the cluster's vSphere HA settings.

A vSphere HA-enabled cluster is a prerequisite for Fault Tolerance.


  • Verify that all virtual machines and their configuration files reside on shared storage.

  • Verify that the hosts are configured to access the shared storage so that you can power on the virtual machines by using different hosts in the cluster.

  • Verify that hosts are configured to have access to the virtual machine network.

  • Verify that you are using redundant management network connections for vSphere HA. For information about setting up network redundancy, see Best Practices for Networking.

  • Verify that you have configured hosts with at least two datastores to provide redundancy for vSphere HA datastore heartbeating.

  • Connect vSphere Web Client to vCenter Server using an account with cluster administrator permissions.


  1. In the vSphere Web Client, browse to the data center where you want the cluster to reside and click Create a Cluster.
  2. Complete the New Cluster wizard.

    Do not turn on vSphere HA (or DRS).

  3. Click OK to close the wizard and create an empty cluster.
  4. Based on your plan for the resources and networking architecture of the cluster, use the vSphere Web Client to add hosts to the cluster.
  5. Browse to the cluster and enable vSphere HA.
    1. Click the Manage tab and click Settings.
    2. Select vSphere HA and click Edit.
    3. Select Turn ON vSphere HA.
  6. Select Host Monitoring

    Enabling Host Monitoring allows hosts in the cluster to exchange network heartbeats and allows vSphere HA to take action when it detects failures. Host Monitoring is required for the vSphere Fault Tolerance recovery process to work properly.

  7. Choose a setting for Virtual Machine Monitoring.

    Select VM Monitoring Only to restart individual virtual machines if their heartbeats are not received within a set time. You can also select VM and Application Monitoring to enable application monitoring.

  8. Click OK.


You have a vSphere HA cluster, populated with hosts.

What to do next

Configure the vSphere HA settings as appropriate for your cluster.

  • Failure conditions and VM response

  • Admission Control

  • Datastore for Heartbeating

  • Advanced Options

See Configuring vSphere HA Cluster Settings.