You can select a Basic or Advanced configuration option. The Basic option automatically creates the Passive and Witness nodes as part of vCenter HA configuration. With the Advanced option, you are responsible for manually cloning the Active node to create the Passive and Witness nodes.

The configuration option that you select depends on your environment. The Basic configuration requirements are stricter, but more of the configuration is automated. The Advanced configuration is possible if your environment meets hardware and software requirements, and it offers more flexibility. However, Advanced configuration requires that you create and configure the clones of the Active node.

Basic Configuration Workflow

Basic configuration automatically clones the Active node. You must meet one of the following requirements to perform Basic configuration.

  • Either the vCenter Server Appliance that will become the Active node is managing its own ESXi host and its own virtual machine. This configuration is sometimes called a self-managed vCenter Server.

  • Or the vCenter Server Appliance is managed by another vCenter Server (management vCenter Server) and both vCenter Server instances are in the same vCenter Single Sign-On domain. That means they both use an external Platform Services Controller and both are running vSphere 6.5.

If you meet the requirements the Basic workflow is as follows.

  1. The user deploys the first vCenter Server Appliance, which will become the Active node.

  2. The user adds a second network (port group) for vCenter HA traffic on each ESXi host.

  3. The user starts the vCenter HA configuration, selects Basic and supplies the IP addresses, the target ESXi host or cluster, and the datastore for each clone.

  4. The system clones the Active node and creates a Passive node with precisely the same settings, including the same host name.

  5. The system clones the Active node again and creates a more light-weight Witness node.

  6. The system sets up the vCenter HA network on which the three nodes communicate, for example, by exchanging heartbeats and other information.

For step-by-step instructions, see Configure vCenter HA With the Basic Option.

Advanced Configuration Workflow

If you cannot select the Basic option or you want more control over your deployment, you can perform Advanced configuration. With this option, you are responsible for cloning the Active node yourself as part of vCenter HA setup. If you select this option and remove the vCenter HA configuration later, you are responsible for deleting the nodes that you created.

For the Advanced option, the workflow is as follows.

  1. The user deploys the first vCenter Server Appliance, which will become the Active node.

  2. The user adds a second network (port group) for vCenter HA traffic on each ESXi host.

  3. The user adds a second network adapter (NIC) to the Active node

  4. The user logs in to the vCenter Server Appliance (Active node) with the vSphere Web Client.

  5. The user starts the vCenter HA configuration, selects Advanced, and supplies IP address and subnet information for the Passive and Witness nodes. Optionally, the user can override the failover management IP addresses.

  6. The user logs in to the management vCenter Server and creates two clones of the vCenter Server Appliance (Active node).

  7. The user returns to the configuration wizard on the vCenter Server Appliance and completes the configuration process.

  8. The system sets up the vCenter HA network on which the three nodes exchange heartbeats and replication information.

  9. The vCenter Server Appliance is protected by vCenter HA.

See Configure vCenter HA With the Advanced Option for details.