Using vSphere HA with Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) combines automatic failover with load balancing. This combination can result in a more balanced cluster after vSphere HA has moved virtual machines to different hosts.

When vSphere HA performs failover and restarts virtual machines on different hosts, its first priority is the immediate availability of all virtual machines. After the virtual machines have been restarted, those hosts on which they were powered on might be heavily loaded, while other hosts are comparatively lightly loaded. vSphere HA uses the virtual machine's CPU and memory reservation and overhead memory to determine if a host has enough spare capacity to accommodate the virtual machine.

In a cluster using DRS and vSphere HA with admission control turned on, virtual machines might not be evacuated from hosts entering maintenance mode. This behavior occurs because of the resources reserved for restarting virtual machines in the event of a failure. You must manually migrate the virtual machines off of the hosts using vMotion.

In some scenarios, vSphere HA might not be able to fail over virtual machines because of resource constraints. This can occur for several reasons.

  • HA admission control is deactivated and Distributed Power Management (DPM) is activated. This can result in DPM consolidating virtual machines onto fewer hosts and placing the empty hosts in standby mode leaving insufficient powered-on capacity to perform a failover.
  • VM-Host affinity (required) rules might limit the hosts on which certain virtual machines can be placed.
  • There might be sufficient aggregate resources but these can be fragmented across multiple hosts so that they can not be used by virtual machines for failover.

In such cases, vSphere HA can use DRS to try to adjust the cluster (for example, by bringing hosts out of standby mode or migrating virtual machines to defragment the cluster resources) so that HA can perform the failovers.

If DPM is in manual mode, you might need to confirm host power-on recommendations. Similarly, if DRS is in manual mode, you might need to confirm migration recommendations.

If you are using VM-Host affinity rules that are required, be aware that these rules cannot be violated. vSphere HA does not perform a failover if doing so would violate such a rule.

For more information about DRS, see the vSphere Resource Management documentation.