To enable your cluster for vSphere HA, you must first create an empty cluster. After you plan the resources and networking architecture of your cluster, use the vSphere Web Client to add hosts to the cluster and specify the cluster's vSphere HA settings.

A vSphere HA-enabled cluster is a prerequisite for vSphere Fault Tolerance.


  • Verify that all virtual machines and their configuration files reside on shared storage.
  • Verify that the hosts are configured to access the shared storage so that you can power on the virtual machines by using different hosts in the cluster.
  • Verify that hosts are configured to have access to the virtual machine network.
  • Verify that you are using redundant management network connections for vSphere HA. For information about setting up network redundancy, see Best Practices for Networking.
  • Verify that you have configured hosts with at least two datastores to provide redundancy for vSphere HA datastore heartbeating.
  • Connect vSphere Web Client to vCenter Server by using an account with cluster administrator permissions.


  1. In the vSphere Web Client, browse to the data center where you want the cluster to reside and click New Cluster.
  2. Complete the New Cluster wizard.
    Do not turn on vSphere HA (or DRS).
  3. Click OK to close the wizard and create an empty cluster.
  4. Based on your plan for the resources and networking architecture of the cluster, use the vSphere Web Client to add hosts to the cluster.
  5. Browse to the cluster and enable vSphere HA.
    1. Click the Configure tab.
    2. Select vSphere Availability and click Edit.
    3. Select Turn ON vSphere HA.
    4. Select Turn ON Proactive HA to allow proactive migrations of VMs from hosts on which a provider has notified a health degradation.
  6. Under Failures and Responses select Enable Host Monitoring

    With Host Monitoring enabled, hosts in the cluster can exchange network heartbeats and vSphere HA can take action when it detects failures. Host Monitoring is required for the vSphere Fault Tolerance recovery process to work properly.

  7. Select a setting for VM Monitoring.
    Select VM Monitoring Only to restart individual virtual machines if their heartbeats are not received within a set time. You can also select VM and Application Monitoring to enable application monitoring.
  8. Click OK.


You have a vSphere HA cluster, populated with hosts.

What to do next

Configure the appropriate vSphere HA settings for your cluster.

  • Failures and responses
  • Proactive HA Failures and Responses
  • Admission Control
  • Heartbeat Datastores
  • Advanced Options

See Configuring vSphere Availability Settings.