When using HA or DRS, you need an ESXi storage safety net

In an ESXi 5.1 host cluster, I have two ESXi standalone hosts with local data stores and one vCenter physical server. Can I configure High Availability (HA) and Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) between two hosts using local data stores?

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In a local data store, all virtual machine image files are stored on a local VM disk (VMDK) file. If the ESXi server with the local data store goes down, you'll lose those VMDK files as well.

In an HA or DRS scenario, the purpose is to run VMs on another ESXi host if the current host fails. You need to access the VMDK file if the host is down, so you need to store the file elsewhere, preferably in a location you can easily access after a failure.

That is why you need shared storage to create a HA or DRS configuration. It doesn't really matter how you access the storage area network or iSCSI, Fibre Channel or NFS SAN.

This was first published in October 2013

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