VMWare failover

Posted on 2013-06-11
Last Modified: 2013-06-11

I have posted before regarding a VMWare solution we are looking at putting in place, i am currently looking into failover options.

We have purchased VMWare essentials plus to provide 2 physical hosts with virtual machines. 1 physical host would be used as the primary host with primary servers and the secondary server as failover. These are conected via iSCSI to an external NAS (which is also duplicated over to a secondary NAS for backup)  Please can you confirm the best way to enable failover in this setup is to use vSphere HA, or would clustering also be required through vCenter? In the event of the primary host failing then the secondary server would boot up and take over.

Question by:supportguy360
  • 3
  • 3
LVL 33

Expert Comment

ID: 39236983
vSphere HA will restart the VMs on different host, this works automatically once enabled on the cluster, I think you are looking how to redirect the ESXi servers from the original storage to the other one, am I correct ?!

Author Comment

ID: 39237001
Many thanks.

The vCenter would need to be installed on a seperate machine in order to manage this though would it not?

My thoughts for the storage would be to use iSCSI failover in the microsoft initiator, pointing to the primary one then the secondary as failover (using the built in replication option on the NAS drives we are using, they are designed to be used with VMWare for iSCSI)

LVL 119
ID: 39237004
You can either use VMware HA or Microsoft Failover Clustering.

Microsoft Failover Clustering will provide faster Failover, VMware HA restarts the VMs on other available hosts, due to a host failure.

But requires another VM, and Microsoft Licensing.

VMware High Availability - Decrease Downtime and Reduce Risk

VMware High Availability (HA) Product Briefs
The Eight Noble Truths of Backup and Recovery

How can IT departments tackle the challenges of a Big Data world? This white paper provides a roadmap to success and helps companies ensure that all their data is safe and secure, no matter if it resides on-premise with physical or virtual machines or in the cloud.


Author Comment

ID: 39237017
We would look at using the VMWare HA to provide the failover. This would be set within the vCenter wouldnt it? Is this best installed on its own stand alone machine, or could i install it on a virtual server on the secondary host (if the primary goes down this would still function and manage the failover, if the secondary host goes down the failover solution would be unavailable anyway)

As you can tell im failry new to VMWare but hav ebeen reading up on various things.  I am awaiting the delivery of things form our supplier and merely trying to prepare myself, im sure tings will become more clear when i have the setup in front of me.
LVL 119

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 400 total points
ID: 39237058
To enable VMware HA, first you must create a Add Hosts to a Cluster, Edit the Cluster Settings, and Enable HA - that's it!

Yes, you use VMware vCenter Server to configure Cluster and VMware HA.

vCenter Server can be installed on a physical or virtual server.

vCenter Server is *ONLY* used to Configure VMware HA, Agents are installed on the Hosts, that complete the work of HA, vCenter Server does not control HA. If vCenter Server is unavailable, machines will still restart on other available hosts, including vCenter Server.

Author Comment

ID: 39237072
Many thanks for your help.
LVL 119
ID: 39237192
No problems, glad to help. As you are fairly new to VMware, ,my EE Articles may also help you...

VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide

How to Backup an ESXi installation on an USB Flash Drive or SD card, for security or redundancy.

HOW TO: Improve the transfer rate of a Physical to Virtual (P2V), Virtual to Virtual Conversion (V2V) using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0

HOW TO: Enable Jumbo Frames on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi 5.0) host server using the VMware vSphere Client

HOW TO: Suppress Configuration Issues and Warnings Alert displayed in Summary status for ESXi 4.1 U2 or ESXi 5.0 after enabling SSH or ESXi Shell

HOW TO: Suppress Configuration Issues and Warnings Alerts after enabling vSphere HA in a VMware vSphere Cluster

HOW TO: Add Local Storage (e.g. a SATA disk) as a Raw Disk Mapping (RDM) or Mapped RAW LUN to a virtual machine hosted on ESXi

HOW TO: Add an iSCSI Software Adaptor and Create an iSCSI Multipath Network in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 4.1

HOW TO: Add an iSCSI Software Adaptor and Create an iSCSI Multipath Network in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.0

HOW TO: Tutorial Video - Install VMware Tools for Linux on a VMware Linux virtual machine

HOW TO: Clone or Copy a virtual machine in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x or ESXi 5.0

HOW TO: Add and Connect a USB Device to a Virtual Machine, hosted on VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX 4.1 ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.0

HOW TO: VMware Snapshots :- Be Patient

HOW TO:  Performance Monitor vSphere 4.x or 5.0


HOW TO:  Resize a VMware (VMDK) Virtual Disk

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0

HOW TO: Suppress Configuration Issues and Warnings Alerts after enabling vSphere HA in a VMware vSphere Cluster with only a single datastore

HOW TO: Use Dell OpenManage Server Administrator to Create and Manage a Virtual Disk (RAID Array) on a Dell PowerEdge Server with VMware vSphere 5.0, ESXi 5.0 installed.

HOW TO: Create a  Bootable USB Flash Drive of Microsoft Windows Server 2012

HOW TO: "Live Migrate" VMware Virtual Machines between ESX/ESXi hosts and/or datastores for FREE without licenses for vMotion or Storage vMotion

HOW TO: Tag and Configure a storage device as a Solid State Disk (SSD) in VMware vSphere 5.0 or 5.1  (ESXi 5.0 or ESXi 5.1)

HOW TO: Configure Host Cache Configuration for your VMware vSphere 5.0 or 5.1 ESXi (5.0 or 5.1) Host Server

HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

HOW TO: Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client

HOW TO:  Synchronize changes when completing a P2V or V2V with VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1

HOW TO:  Add a Dell EqualLogic PS Series Array (SAN) to System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1 as a SMP Provider

HOW TO: Create an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image (*.iso), and MD5 checksum signature, for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

HOW TO: Upload an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image to a VMware datastore for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client, and checking its MD5 checksum signature is correct.

HOW TO: Enable SSH Remote Access on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

Featured Post

PRTG Network Monitor: Intuitive Network Monitoring

Network Monitoring is essential to ensure that computer systems and network devices are running. Use PRTG to monitor LANs, servers, websites, applications and devices, bandwidth, virtual environments, remote systems, IoT, and many more. PRTG is easy to set up & use.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Suggested Solutions

In this article, I show you step by step with screenshots to assist you - HOW TO: Deploy and Install the VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 (VCSA 6.5), with some helpful tips along the way.
This article outlines why you need to choose a backup solution that protects your entire environment – including your VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization hosts – not just your virtual machines.
This video shows you how to use a vSphere client to connect to your ESX host as the root user. Demonstrates the basic connection of bypassing certification set up. Demonstrates how to access the traditional view to begin managing your virtual mac…
Windows 8 came with a dramatically different user interface known as Metro. Notably missing from that interface was a Start button and Start Menu. Microsoft responded to negative user feedback of the Metro interface, bringing back the Start button a…

828 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question