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VMWare interview questions and answers HA

(High Availability)
What is VMware HA?

As per VMware Definition,
VMware High Availability (HA) provides easy to use, cost effective high availability for
applications running in virtual machines. In the event of server failure, affected virtual machines are
automatically restarted on other production servers with spare capacity
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What is AAM in HA?
AAM is the Legato automated availability management. Prior to vSphere 4.1, VMwares HA is
actually re engineered to work with VMs with the help of Legatos Automated Availability
Manager (AAM) software. VMwares vCenter agent (vpxa) interfaces with the VMware HA agent
which acts as an intermediary to the AAM software. From vSphere 5.0, it uses an agent called
FDM (Fault Domain Manager).
What are pre-requites for HA to work?
1.Shared storage for the VMs running in HA cluster
2.Essentials plus, standard, Advanced, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus Licensing
3.Create VMHA enabled Cluster
4.Management network redundancy to avoid frequent isolation response in case of temporary
network issues (preferred not a requirement)
What is maximum number of primary HA hosts in vSphere 4.1?
Maximum number of primary HA host is 5. VMware HA cluster chooses the first 5 hosts that joins
the cluster as primary nodes and all others hosts are automatically selected as secondary nodes.
How to see the list of Primary nodes in HA cluster?
View the log file named aam_config_util_listnodes.log under /var/log/vmware/aam using the
below command
cat /var/log/vmware/aam/aam_config_util_listnodes.log

What is the command to restart /Start/Stop HA agent in the ESX host?
service vmware-aam restart
service vmware-aam stop
service vmware-aam start
Where to located HA related logs in case of troubleshooting?
What the basic troubleshooting steps in case of HA agent install failed on hosts in HA cluster?
Below steps are are taken from my blog posts Troubleshooting HA
1. Check for some network issues
2. Check the DNS is configured properly
3. Check the vmware HA agent status in ESX host by using below commands
service vmware-aam status
4. Check the networks are properly configured and named exactly as other hosts in the
cluster. otherwise, you will get the below errors while installing or reconfiguring HA agent.
5. Check HA related ports are open in firewall to allow for the communication

Incoming port: TCP/UDP 8042-8045
Outgoing port: TCP/UDP 2050-2250
6. First try to restart /stop/start the vmware HA agent on the affected host using the below
commands. In addition u can also try to restart vpxa and management agent in the Host.
service vmware-aam restart
service vmware-aam stop
service vmware-aam start
7. Right Click the affected host and click on Reconfigure for VMWare HA to re-install the HA
agent that particular host.
8. Remove the affected host from the cluster. Removing ESX host from the cluster will not be
allowed untill that host is put into maintenance mode.
9.Alternative solution for 3 step is, Goto cluster settings and uncheck the vmware HA in toturnoff the
HA in that cluster and re-enable the vmware HA to get the agent installed.
10. For further troubleshooting , review the HA logs under /Var/log/vmware/aam directory.
What is the maximum number of hosts per HA cluster?
Maximum number of hosts in the HA cluster is 32
What is Host Isolation?
VMware HA has a mechanism to detect a host is isolated from rest of hosts in the cluster. When the
ESX host loses its ability to exchange heartbeat via management networkbetween the other hosts in
the HA cluster, that ESX host will be considered as a Isolated.
How Host Isolation is detected?
In HA cluster, ESX hosts uses heartbeats to communicate among other hosts in the cluster.By
default, Heartbeat will be sent every 1 second.
If a ESX host in the cluster didnt received heartbeat for for 13 seconds from any other hosts in the
cluster, The host considered it as isolated and host will ping the configured isolation address(default
gateway by default). If the ping fails, VMware HA will execute the Host isolation response
What are the different types isolation response available in HA?

Power off All the VMs are powered off , when the HA detects that the network isolation occurs
Shut down All VMs running on that host are shut down with the help of VMware Tools, when the
HA detects that the network isolation occurs.If the shutdown via VMWare tools not happened within
5 minutes, VMs power off operation will be executed. This behavior can be changed with the help
of HA advanced options. Please refer my Post on HA Advanced configuration

Leave powered on The VMs state remain powered on or remain unchanged, when the HA
detects that the network isolation occurs.
How to add additional isolation address for redundancy?
By default, VMWare HA use to ping default gateway as the isolation address if it stops receiving
heartbeat.We can add an additional values in case if we are using redundant service console both
belongs to different subnet.Lets say we can add the default gateway of SC1 as first
value and gateway of SC2 as the additional one using the below value
1. Right Click your HA cluster
2. Goto to advanced options of HA
3. Add the line das.isolationaddress1 =
4. Add the line das.isolationaddress2 = as the additional isolation address
To know more about the Advanced HA Options
What is HA Admission control?
As per VMware Availability Guide,
VCenter Server uses admission control to ensure that sufficient resources are available in a cluster to
provide failover protection and to ensure that virtual machine resource reservations are respected.
What are the 2 types of settings available for admission control?

Enable: Do not power on VMs that violate availability constraints
Disable: Power on VMs that violate availability constraints
What are the different types of Admission control policy available with VMware HA?
There are 3 different types of Admission control policy available.

Host failures cluster tolerates
Percentage of cluster resources reserved as fail over spare capacity
Specify a fail over host
How the Host Failures cluster tolerates admission control policy works?

Select the maximum number of host failures that you can afford for or to guarantee fail over.
Prior vSphere 4.1, Minimum is 1 and the maximum is 4.
In the Host Failures cluster tolerates admission control policy , we can define the specific number of
hosts that can fail in the cluster and also it ensures that the sufficient resources remain to fail over
all the virtual machines from that failed hosts to the other hosts incluster. VMware High
Availability(HA) uses a mechanism called slots to calculate both the available and required resources
in the cluster for a failing over virtual machines from a failed host to other hosts in the cluster.
What is SLOT?
As per VMWares Definition,
A slot is a logical representation of the memory and CPU resources that satisfy the requirements for
any powered-on virtual machine in the cluster.
If you have configured reservations at VM level, It influence the HA slot calculation. Highest
memory reservation and highest CPU reservation of the VM in your cluster determines the slot size
for the cluster.
How the HA Slots are Calculated?
I have written a post about how the HA slots are calculated.
How to Check the HA Slot information from vSphere Client?
Click on Cluster Summary Tab and Click on Advanced Runtime Info to see the the detailed HA
slots information.

What is use of Host Monitoring status in HA cluster?

Lets take an example, you are performing network maintenance activity on your switches which
connects your one of th ESX host in HA cluster.
what will happen if the switch connected to the ESX host in HA cluster is down?
It will not receive heartbeat and also ping to the isolation address also failed. so, host will think itself
as isolated and HA will initiate the reboot of virtual machines on the host to other hosts in the cluster.
Why do you need this unwanted situation while performing scheduled maintenance window.
To avoid the above situation when performing scheduled activity which may cause ESX hostto
isolate, remove the check box in Enable Host Monitoring until you are done with the network
maintenance activity.
How to Manually define the HA Slot size?
By default, HA slot size is determined by the Virtual machine Highest CPU and memory reservation.
If no reservation is specified at the VM level, default slot size of 256 MHZ for CPU and 0 MB +
memory overhead for RAM will be taken as slot size. We can control the HA slot size manually by
using the following values.
There are 4 options we can configure at HA advanced options related to slot size
das.slotMemInMB Maximum Bound value for HA memory slot size
das.slotCpuInMHz Maximum Bound value for HA CPU slot Size
das.vmMemoryMinMB Minimum Bound value for HA memory slot size
das.vmCpuMinMHz Minimum Bound value for HA CPU slot size
For More HA related Advanced options, Please refer my blog post
How the Percentage of cluster resources reserved as failover spare capacity admission
control policy works?

In the Percentage of cluster resources reserved as failover spare capacity admission control policy,
We can define the specific percentage of total cluster resources are reserved for failover.In contrast to
the Host Failures cluster tolerates admission control policy, It will not use slots. Instead This policy
calculates the in the way below
1.It calculates the Total resource requirement for all Powered-on Virtual Machines in the cluster and
also calculates the total resource available in host for virtual machines.
2.It calculates the current CPU and Memory Failover capacity for the capacity.
3.If the current CPU and Memory Failover capacity for the cluster < configured failover capacity (ex
25 %)
4.Admission control will not allow to power on the virtual machine which violates the availability
How the Specify a failover host admission control policy works?

In the Specify a failover host admission control policy, We can define a specific host as a dedicated
failover host. When isolation response is detected, HA attempts to restart the virtual machines on the
specified failover host.In this Approach, dedicated failover hist will be sitting idle without actively
involving or not participating in DRS load balancing.DRS will not migrate or power on placement of
virtual machines on the defined failover host.
What is VM Monitoring status?
HA will usually monitors ESX hosts and reboot the virtual machine in the failed hosts in the other
host in the cluster in case of host isolation but i need the HA to monitors for Virtual machine failures
also. here the feature called VM monitoring status as part of HA settings.VM monitoring restarts the
virtual machine if the vmware tools heartbeat didnt received with the specified time using
Monitoring sensitivity.

If you are looking for more VMware interview questions Please click Interview Questions.
Thanks For Reading!!! All the Best

VMWare Interview Questions and answers -
1.What is vMotion?
Live migration of a virtual machine from one ESX server to another with Zero downtime . VMs disk files stay
where they are (on shared storage)
2. What are the use cases of vMotion ?
Balance the load on ESX servers (DRS
Save power by shutting down ESX using DPM
Perform patching and maintenance on ESX server (Update Manager or HW maintenance

3. What are Pre-requisites for the vMotion to Work?

ESX host must be licensed for VMotion
ESX servers must be configured with vMotion Enabled VMkernel Ports.
ESX servers must have compatible CPUs for the vMotion to work
ESX servers should have Shared storage (FB, iSCSI or NFS) and VMs should be stored on that storage.
ESX servers should have exact similar network & network names
4. What are the Limitations of vMotion?
Virtual machines configured with the Raw Device Mapping(RDM) for clustering features using vMotion
VM cannot be connected to a CD-ROM or floppy drive that is using an ISO or floppy image stored on a drive
that is local to the host server. The device should be disconnected before initiating the vMotion.
Virtual Machine cannot be migrated with VMotion unless the destination swapfile location is the same as the
source swapfile location. As a best practice, Place the virtual machine swap files with the virtual machine
configuration file.
Virtual Machine affinity must not be set (aka, bound to physical CPUs).
5. Steps involved in VMWare vMotion ?

A request has been made that VM-1 should be migrated (or VMotioned) from ESX A to ESX B.
VM-1s memory is pre-copied from ESX A to ESX B while ongoing changes are written to a memory bitmap on
VM-1 is quiesced on ESX A and VM-1s memory bitmap is copied to ESX B.
VM-1 is started on ESX B and all access to VM-1 is now directed to the copy running on ESX B.
The rest of VM-1s memory is copied from ESX A all the while memory is being read and written from VM-1 on
ESX A when applications attempt to access that memory on VM-1 on ESX B.
If the migration is successful, VM-1 is unregistered on ESX A.