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.

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 server 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 that later becomes the Active node, is deployed.
  • You can access and have privileges to modify that vCenter Server 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 mode IP addresses.


  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 different from the management network.
  3. If your environment includes the recommended three ESXi hosts, add the port group to each of the hosts.