Configuring Automatic Failover for VMware

Automatic Failover ensures immediate access to critical virtual machines (VMs) in the event of an outage:

  • Continuously monitors VMs that have been configured for replication to a secondary site.
  • Detects problems with VMs or network access for the primary site.
  • Automatically fails over to the secondary site if the VMs in the primary site are disabled or unreachable.
  • Brings destination VMs online immediately or after a specified delay.

This feature is available for the Virtual Server Agent with VMware.

Monitoring and Failover

To support automatic failover, you must identify three access nodes (VSA proxies) that reside in the primary site, to monitor VMs in the source datacenter.

  • The first access node selected during configuration of automatic failover acts as a coordinator to monitor the source VMs.
  • Other access nodes in the source datacenter act as workers.

Each worker monitors a list of VMs, with the coordinator making assignments as well as monitoring its own list of VMs.

Monitoring Process

  1. Each worker sends heartbeat packets continuously to the VMs on the list that the worker monitors, and checks responses to determine whether each VM is available or down.
  2. Workers communicate with the coordinator to report the states of the VMs they monitor.
  3. When necessary, the coordinator initiates an unplanned failover to bring destination VMs online.

Before You Begin

  • Configure Live Sync for virtual machines that need to be monitored.
  • Identify three machines in the source datacenter to be used for monitoring. Monitoring machines must meet the following conditions:
    • Use machines that have at least 2 CPU cores.
    • Verify that all monitoring machines are DNS resolvable and can communicate with the CommServe system, with the virtual machines they are monitoring, and with each other.
    • Set the DNS entries for monitoring machines to the hostnames for the machines.

      Note: If you define multiple failover groups to support automatic failover, assign a different set of VSA proxies for each failover group.

  • Install the following software on monitoring proxies:
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 or later
    • Virtual Server Agent
    • Java version 10
  • Virtual machines being monitored must meet the following requirements:
    • Each virtual machine must have a unique DNS name.
    • VMware Tools must be installed on each VM.


You can configure automatic failover as part of creating a failover group.

  1. In the CommCell Browser, under Dev-Test & DR, right-click Failover Groups, and then click New Group.

    The Failover Group dialog box appears.

  2. On the Enter the Group Name and Description page, name the policy, type a description, and then click Next.
  3. On the Source Virtualization Client page, from the Virtualization Client list, select a client, and then click Next.
  4. On the Select Machines page, identify the VMs to assign to the failover group:
    • To select some of the VMs from the list, click the box next to the VM name in the Client Machine column.
    • To select all of the VMs in the list, click Select All.
  5. Click Next.
  6. On the Failover Configuration page, set the priority, failure, and interval options:
    1. In the Virtual Machine list under Priority, for each VM, select the order in which you want the destination VMs to power on.
    2. To continue powering on VMs according to priority settings after a VM fails to power on, select Continue on Failure.
    3. To configure the time period to wait before powering on the next VM, next to Priority Interval, type or select the number of minutes.
  7. Click Next.
  8. On the AutoFailover page, enable automatic failover and identify monitoring nodes:
    1. Select Enable AutoFailover Capability.
    2. To specify a delay between detecting an outage and failing over, select the delay in Delay time before declaring outage.
    3. Click Add.

      The Add monitoring machine dialog box appears.

      The first proxy you select acts as a coordinator to monitor the source VMs.

    4. For locationType, select the location of the monitoring node: Source is the only supported value.
    5. From the client list, select a VSA proxy.
    6. Repeat these steps to identify additional monitoring nodes.
  9. Click Next.
  10. On the Summary page, click Finish.

Automatic failover is enabled.

Starting and Stopping Monitoring

  1. From the CommCell Browser, click Dev-Test & DR > Failover Groups.
  2. Right-click a configured failover group and select Start Monitoring.

    The AutoFailover value changes to Monitoring Starting. When VMs are successfully distributed, the AutoFailover value changes to Monitoring Enabled.

  3. To stop monitoring, right-click an enabled failover group and select Stop Monitoring.

Viewing Failover and Live Sync Status

Last modified: 3/12/2019 3:30:47 PM