Use the following steps to set up Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS) as an availability solution for vCenter Server.


Before you can set up MSCS for vCenter Server availability, you must create a virtual machine (VM) with one of the following guest operating systems:
  • Windows 2008 SP2
  • Windows 2012 R2 Datacenter

Also, you must add two raw device mapping (RDM) disks to this VM. These disks must be mounted and when they are added, you must create a separate SCSI controller with the bus sharing option set to physical. The RDM disks must also be independent and persistent.

Figure 1. MSCS Cluster for vCenter Server Availability
MSCS Cluster for vCenter Server Availability
Note: MSCS as an availability solution for vCenter Server is provided only for management nodes of vCenter Server (M node). For infrastructure nodes, customers must deploy multiple N nodes for high availability. You cannot have both M and N nodes on the same VM for MSCS protection.


  1. Power on the VM.
  2. Format the two RDM disks, assign them drive letters, and convert them to MBR.
  3. Using Windows > Server Manager > Features, Install .net.
  4. Install vCenter Server on one of the RDM disks.
  5. Set the vCenter Server start option to manual.
  6. Power off the VM.
  7. Detach the RDM disks.
    Detaching the RDM disks is not a permanent deletion. Do not select Delete from disk and do not delete the vmdk files.
  8. Clone the VM and select the Customize the operating system option, so that the clone has a unique identity.
    Create a unique identity through either the default sysrep file or the custom sysrep file.
  9. Attach the shared RDMs to both VMs.
  10. Power on both VMs.
  11. Change the host name and IP address on the first VM (VM1).
    Note the original IP address and host name that were used at the time of the installation of vCenter Server on VM1. This information is used to assign a cluster role IP.
  12. Install failover clustering on both nodes.
  13. Create an MSCS cluster on VM1 by including both nodes in the cluster. Also select the validation option for the new cluster.
  14. Create a cluster role or service and add all of the vCenter Server services to it, one by one. Use the IP address and host name from step 11 for the role or service.


You have created an MSCS cluster that can support vCenter Server availability.

What to do next

After you have created the MSCS cluster, verify that failover is occurring by powering off the VM hosting vCenter Server (VM1). Within a few minutes, the services should be running on the other VM (VM2).