Home > Ultimate vSphere Lab > Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 11: vMotion & Fault Tolerance

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 11: vMotion & Fault Tolerance

Next up is the creation of our vMotion interface.

Let’s take a look at vSwitch0 first:


Open Properties… and remove the VM Network portgroup.  Then, open the properties of the vSwitch and put both vmnic adapters as active.


Now open the properties of the Management Network and set vmnic0 as active and vmnic1 as standby.


Now, add a new VMkernel interface on vSwitch0.  Name it vMotion and enable it for vMotion.


Use IP for ESXi1 and for ESXi2.


Finish the wizard, open the Properties of the vMotion Portgroup and set the NIC order so vmnic1 is active and vmnic0 is standby.


Repeat this procedure for ESXi2.

That’s it for vMotion.  Not really rocket science 🙂

Now it’s time to activate Fault Tolerance.  That’s right, Fault Tolerance running on vSphere in VMware Workstation!

Power Down your two ESXi hosts.

Open the Virtual Network Editor and create a VMnet4 network in the range.


Give each ESXi host 2 new Network Adapters in this VMnet4 network.


Power On the hosts and get into ConfigurationNetworking.

Click Add Networking… to add a new vSwitch.  Select VMkernel and use vmnic4 and vmnic5.


Name it Fault Tolerance and enable it!


IP will be for ESXi1 and for ESXi2.


This gives you the following Networking Layout.


Now, before you enable FT on a VM, you need to set the following Advanced Configuration Parameters on EACH VM you want to protect with FT.

replay.allowBTOnly = true

replay.allowFT = true

replay.supported = true


Now you can run Fault Tolerance enabled VMs on your virtual vSphere 5 ESXi hosts!  How cool is that?  One exception though, the VM you enable for FT can be 32-bit only!

I personally like to play around with some DOS appliance which has some games installed.  It is small enough to run smoothly on these virtual environments.


Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 1: The Story

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 2: The Hardware

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 3: VMware Workstation 8

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 4: Base Template

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 5: Prepare the Template

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 6: Domain Controller

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 7: SQL Server

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 8: vCenter

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 9: ESXi

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 10: Storage

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 11: vMotion & Fault Tolerance

Building the Ultimate vSphere Lab – Part 12: Finalizing the Lab

Categories: Ultimate vSphere Lab
  1. bobbydamercer
    January 5, 2012 at 02:07

    Hallo ,

    What does it need to enable FT for 64-bit VMs??


    • January 5, 2012 at 08:49

      Nothing as it can’t be done yet. Hopefully in future version of VMware Workstation this will be possible, but for now you are restricted to x86 FT VMs.

  2. bobbydamercer
    January 5, 2012 at 09:20

    Aha, I see

    Thanks for the quick reply 🙂

  3. bobbydamercer
    January 5, 2012 at 11:07

    So FT-protecting 64-bit VMs has nothing to do with CPU supporting it?

    I am referring to this KB [http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1008027]

    • January 5, 2012 at 14:46

      If you run vSphere directly on hardware then indeed you need a supported CPU as in the KB article.

      But for our Lab environment, the KB article isn’t valid.

      You need a CPU with VT-x capabilities. VMware Workstation will pass/emulate this in the VM (where vSphere runs).

  4. bobbydamercer
    January 5, 2012 at 15:23

    Hallo Sammy,

    Thanks for the clarification 🙂

  5. Roger
    February 27, 2012 at 11:33

    Good day.

    I just want to ask.. iam planning to buy a laptop in highest specs to simulate vmware vsphere 5 and its function (ie vMotion, storage vMotion, FT, etc..) would this be possible?

    Thank you.

    • February 27, 2012 at 11:37

      It should work perfectly yes.

      Make sure your CPU supports all the necessary VT functions as Laptop CPUs might differ from Desktop CPUs. Check the ‘Hardware’ post of the Ultimate Lab series.

      Your laptop will probably be more expensive than a desktop pc and you will most likely need a ‘Mobile Workstation’ kind of laptop, but in terms of performance it will do just as fine as a desktop PC…

  6. Roger
    February 27, 2012 at 13:42

    im eyeing for HP elitebook i7 8560p.

    The setup will be:

    Guest OS1 ****** Guest OS2
    ——————– ***** —————-
    ESXi 1 – Level1 ***** ESXi2 – Level 1
    ESXi – Level 0
    Win7 OS

    Is this OK?

    • February 27, 2012 at 13:50

      Excellent choice, however don’t pick the i7-2630M CPU as it has no Intel VT-d (http://ark.intel.com/compare/52231,52227,50067,52219)
      Besides that, take at least 16 GB RAM and a 128 GB SSD (256 GB would be better depending on the amount of ‘regular’ applications you are going to install in the Windows 7 host OS).

      • Roger
        February 28, 2012 at 05:04

        Appreciate your immediate response.

        Thank you for your tips.i noted all the hw specs you mentioned.

        keep rolling!

  7. March 20, 2012 at 01:57

    I got a similar setup, but I was unable to installed windows 2008 R2 64bit … ? I get an error message and fails which expanding windows files (17%)..
    Error “Windows cannot install all required files.. This is because installation media is corrupt or all files are not available for installations”

    any ideas why this happens?

    This is the same ISO i have used to create other VM’s.. it works fine not on the ESXi, I have uploaded the iso in the database and mapped the ISO to CD drive in edit settings.

    Thanks, Mani

    • March 20, 2012 at 15:16

      That’s weird. I have installed several Win2008R2 VMs that way without issues.

      I guess the ISO got corrupted during the upload to the datastore. Some things you can try:
      – Mount the ISO on the vCenter server through VMware Workstation. Then, mount the CD-Drive of the VM to the CD-Drive of the vCenter (containing your 2008R2 ISO) and see it that installs
      – Upload to another datastore and try again
      – Upload another ISO (2003 ,…) and see if that installs

  8. razvi
    April 30, 2012 at 04:11

    I have AMD FX 4 cores processor, I have enabled FT for vmkernel PG but summary pane of both vESXi Host says “Support for FT-NO” when I click on the small tilt available besides “NO” a pop up says “CPU does not support hardware virtualization which is required for replay”

    However I am able to test  VDR, HA/DRS..etc

    Pls help to make FT run (for 32 bit OS) as AMD-FX processor supports AMD/RVI. Can win xp 32 bit be used for testing FT?


    • May 2, 2012 at 08:38

      It will indeed say that FT is not supported. That’s why you need to change the advanced settings of the VM. This allows you to emulate FT for 32-bit VMs (even though vCenter will list the ESXi VM as not being able to support FT).

      • razvi
        May 2, 2012 at 09:30

        processor has vt-x support , in case of physical esxi host also same issue comes, as u said though FT can work but then what procrssor is required to work FT without doing any manual change and what it exactly means by “hardware virtulization which is required for replay”

      • May 2, 2012 at 09:39

        If you want FT-support inside VMware Workstation (so on a Virtualized ESXi host), then you will make those changes to each FT-protected VM:

        replay.allowBTOnly = true
        replay.allowFT = true
        replay.supported = true

        “hardware virtulization which is required for replay”, this is done by AMD-V. VMware Workstation passes this on to the virtual ESXi, with the limitation that you can only protect x86 VMs. And you need to force the VM to use Binary Translation (replay.allowBTOnly).

        If you run ESXi physical, then it will work out-of-the-box, assuming your CPU supports FT.

      • razvi
        May 2, 2012 at 10:07

        Actually I also tried installing esxi4 as well as esxi5 directly on amd FX quad core processor,when I connected this physical host using vCenter it displays the same what was displayed for vESXi hosts .i.e No support for FT and cpu does not support h/w virtulization which is required for replay,I doubt if any special architechture processor is required so that no manual changed needs to be done :)…grtthks for yr help

      • May 2, 2012 at 10:36

        Can you try to run CPU Id? You need to boot from that CD and it will list all features available on your server/pc.


    • May 2, 2012 at 08:38

      And yes, you can perfectly use WinXP 32-bit!

  9. Razvi
    May 7, 2012 at 18:43

    Can I just use dummy win xp 32 bit VM for testing FT, I mean VM with no OS installed

    • May 7, 2012 at 22:17

      Yups! I even used a DOS VM with some old games on it (Nostalgia) to test FT…

  10. Jose
    June 26, 2012 at 21:50

    Hi, I’m new to working with VMware Workstation 8 and everything has worked out perfectly up until setting up FT support of VM’s. t wasn’t clear when I read it in Part 11. Where exactly do I make the following changes?

    replay.allowBTOnly = true
    replay.allowFT = true
    replay.supported = true


    • June 26, 2012 at 22:05

      Do “Edit Settings” of the VM in vSphere Client.

      There you can specify Advanced Configuration in the Options. Add those field and fire up the VMs!

      • Jose
        June 27, 2012 at 15:04

        Yup, I did that and I’m cool now.

        I have to say, the walk-through you’ve written up is by far the BEST one I’ve seen for setting up a vSphere lab environment using VMWare Workstation. Keep up the awesome work!!

      • dirtyred
        September 8, 2012 at 10:48

        Sorry I am stuck on this also………..and instead modified each .vmx file with the changes. I could not find this anywhere in the Vsphere client. I am also new. Can you spell it out as if for a 1st grader? Sorry I came along way to get stuck now. Received an error on each VM, asking if I wanted to disable VT-x etc. Once this is corrected…..how do I enable FT?

      • September 11, 2012 at 12:05

        Click “Edit Settings” on each VM you want to FT-enable in vSphere Client. Go to the “Options” tab and select the “General” item just below “Advanced”. Click the “Configuration Parameters” button and in that window, add the three lines.

        That’s basically the same as changing the vmx file directory with vi.

        That should do the trick!

  11. Razvi
    August 2, 2012 at 10:52

    Tried much but not working, In first place you removed the VM Network Port group so on which port group VM will connect to?

  12. Razvi
    August 2, 2012 at 10:58

    By previous comment I mean all are VM Kernel Port groups on vswitch0 and vSwitch1 , as soon as we enable FT it does vmotion and for vmotion Network label should be same on both the host, but here there is no network lable attched to win xp VM (32 bit)

    win xp VM (32 bit) on which I need to enable FT should have atleast one netwrk label attached to it?

    But as there is no Virtual Machine Port group how will it work?
    Pls help

    • August 2, 2012 at 11:23

      You do this in ‘Part 12’. There, you create a VM Network on 2 dedicated vmnics. Attach you VM on that one and you’re set!

      • Razvi
        August 2, 2012 at 11:45

        Oh..I got it..You have used differnt IP subnets , can I use one IP subnet .i.e 192.168.1.x to give different IP’s for vmotion, MT,FT

      • August 3, 2012 at 08:05

        Yups, that shouldn’t be a problem.

        I picked seperate subnets on purpose since that’s how you would implement it in a production environment as well…

  13. A G
    October 4, 2012 at 22:09

    Hey Bowerlowie, Thank you for this great guide.
    I followed the instructions up this part and everything was working fine, but after network config changes in this part, the two ESXi hosts can’t ping each other and i’m getting a vSphere HA error that the network is partitioned. Each host can ping the GW, The vCenter server, SQL and DC, but not the other ESXi host. Any ideas on what may be causing this?

    • October 12, 2012 at 18:29

      Check your subnet masks in the VMs and on the ESXi hosts. All traffic should stay within the subnet and basically never reach the gateway (as this is actually not a gateway)

  14. Chris
    December 23, 2012 at 20:35

    Great walkthrough, I just used this info to build a Vsphere 5.1 lab running on VMware workstation 9. Thx

  15. January 23, 2013 at 15:41

    Thanks for the allowBTOnly trick! Helped me getting FT to work on XEON E5345 hosts 🙂

  16. July 21, 2013 at 17:37

    Reblogged this on Ayo Dada's Blog and commented:
    the lab is a great start for home lab but a lot of software requirements

  17. August 22, 2013 at 20:56

    So I am having issues with this. I have one HP DL380 G6 with a single quad core Intel Xeon E5540 CPU. I have ESXi 5.0 Build 504890 installed on this. I have two ESXi machines nested on this with 2 vCPU. I went into edit the settings of each of the virtual ESXi hosts. Under Advanced/ CPU/MMU Virtualization I set it to use Intel VT/AMD-V instruction sets… I also added the 3 things to the General Configuration Parameters. Every time I run a compliance check I still get the message that I have an incompatible CPU. I also get the message that it does not support power management. I even went into the BIOS of the Virtual Hosts but I do not see anywhere you could enable either of these things. Am I missing something?

    I noticed that when I boot the machine the replay.supported changes from true to false automatically. I am guessing that this is my problem, but why does this happen?

  1. June 8, 2012 at 16:43
  2. January 23, 2013 at 15:39
  3. April 28, 2013 at 18:07
  4. November 2, 2013 at 16:50

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