Regardless of the deployment option and inventory hierarchy that you select, you have to set up your network before you can start configuration. To set the foundation for the vCenter HA network, you add a port group to each ESXi host, and add a virtual NIC to the vCenter Server Appliance that later becomes the Active node.

After configuration is complete, the vCenter HA cluster has two networks, the management network on the first virtual NIC and the vCenter HA network on the second virtual NIC.
Management network
The management network serves client requests (public IP). The management network IP addresses must be static.
vCenter HA network
The vCenter HA network connects the Active, Passive, and Witness nodes and replicates the appliance state. It also monitors heartbeats.
  • The vCenter HA network IP addresses for the Active, Passive, and Witness nodes must be static.
  • The vCenter HA network must be on a different subnet than the management network. The three nodes can be on the same subnet or on different subnets.
  • Network latency between the Active, Passive, and Witness nodes must be less than 10 milliseconds.
  • You must not add a default gateway entry for the cluster network.


  • The vCenter Server Appliance that later becomes the Active node, is deployed.
  • You can access and have privileges to modify that vCenter Server Appliance and the ESXi host on which it runs.
  • During network setup, you need static IP addresses for the management network. The management and cluster network addresses must be IPv4 or IPv6. They cannot be mixed


  1. Log in to the management vCenter Server and find the ESXi host on which the Active node is running.
  2. Add a port group to the ESXi host.
    This port group can be on an existing virtual switch or, for improved network isolation, you can create a new virtual switch. It must be on a different subnet than the management network on Eth0.
  3. If your environment includes the recommended three ESXi hosts, add the port group to each of the hosts.

What to do next

What you do next depends on the type of configuration you select.
  • With a Basic configuration, the wizard creates the vCenter HA virtual NIC on each clone and sets up the vCenter HA network. When configuration completes, the vCenter HA network is available for replication and heartbeat traffic.
  • With an Advanced configuration.
    • You have to first create and configure a second NIC on the Active node. See Create and Configure a Second NIC on the vCenter Server Appliance.
    • When you perform the configuration, the wizard prompts for the IP addresses for the Passive and Witness nodes.
    • The wizard prompts you to clone the Active node. As part of the clone process, you perform additional network configuration.

    See Configure vCenter HA With the Advanced Option.