affinity rules definition

Contributor(s): Meredith Courtemanche

An affinity rule is a setting that establishes a relationship between two or more VMware virtual machines (VMs) and hosts. 

Affinity rules and anti-affinity rules tell the vSphere hypervisor platform to keep virtual entities together or separated. The rules, which can be applied as either required or preferred, help reduce traffic across networks and keep the virtual workload balanced on available hosts. If two virtual machines communicate frequently and should share a host, the VMware admin can create a VM-VM affinity rule to keep them together. Conversely, if two resource-hungry VMs would tax a host, an anti-affinity rule will keep those VMs from sharing a host. 

Affinity rules and anti-affinity rules can be applied between VMs and hosts as well, and a VM can be subject to VM-VM affinity rules and VM-Host affinity rules at the same time. Affinity and anti-affinity rules in a vSphere environment can conflict with one another. For example, two VMs with an anti-affinity relationship may both be linked to a third VM via an affinity rule, but they cannot share a host. Optional affinity rule violation alarms can alert administrators to these events.

This was first published in May 2013

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