Setup for Failover Clustering and Microsoft Cluster Service describes the types of clusters you can implement using virtual machines with Microsoft Cluster Service for Windows Server 2003 and Failover Clustering for Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012 and above releases. You get step-by-step instructions for each type of cluster and a checklist of clustering requirements and recommendations.

Unless stated otherwise, the term Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS) applies to Microsoft Cluster Service with Windows Server 2003 and Failover Clustering with Windows Server 2008 and above releases.

Setup for Failover Clustering and Microsoft Cluster Service covers ESXi and VMware® vCenter® Server.

Intended Audience

This information is for system administrators who are familiar with VMware technology and Microsoft Cluster Service.


This is not a guide to using Microsoft Cluster Service or Failover Clustering. Use your Microsoft documentation for information about installation and configuration of Microsoft Cluster Service or Failover Clustering.


In this document, references to Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS) also apply to Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) on corresponding Windows Server versions.

Task instructions in this guide are based on the vSphere Web Client. You can also perform most of the tasks in this guide by using the new vSphere Client. The new vSphere Client user interface terminology, topology, and workflow are closely aligned with the same aspects and elements of the vSphere Web Client user interface. You can apply the vSphere Web Client instructions to the new vSphere Client unless otherwise instructed.


Not all functionality in the vSphere Web Client has been implemented for the vSphere Client in the vSphere 6.5 release. For an up-to-date list of unsupported functionality, see Functionality Updates for the vSphere Client Guide at