After you have taken all of the required steps for enabling VMware Fault Tolerance for your cluster, you can use the feature by turning it on for individual virtual machines.

The option to turn on Fault Tolerance is unavailable (dimmed) if any of these conditions apply:

The virtual machine resides on a host that does not have a license for the feature.

The virtual machine resides on a host that is in maintenance mode or standby mode.

The virtual machine is disconnected or orphaned (its .vmx file cannot be accessed).

The user does not have permission to turn the feature on.

If the option to turn on Fault Tolerance is available, this task still must be validated and can fail if certain requirements are not met.

Several validation checks are performed on a virtual machine before Fault Tolerance can be turned on.

SSL certificate checking must be enabled in the vCenter Server settings.

The host must be in a VMware HA cluster or a mixed VMware HA and DRS cluster.

The host must have ESX/ESXi 4.0 or greater installed.

The virtual machine must not have multiple vCPUs.

The virtual machine must not have snapshots.

The virtual machine must not be a template.

The virtual machine must not have VMware HA disabled.

Several additional validation checks are performed for powered-on virtual machines (or those that are in the process of being powered on).

The BIOS of the hosts where the fault tolerant virtual machines reside must have Hardware Virtualization (HV) enabled.

The host that supports the Primary VM must have a processor that supports Fault Tolerance.

The host that supports the Secondary VM must have a processor that supports Fault Tolerance and is the same CPU family or model as the host that supports the Primary VM.

Your hardware should be certified as compatible with Fault Tolerance. To confirm that it is, use the VMware Compatibility Guide at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php and select Search by Fault Tolerant Compatible Sets.

The combination of the virtual machine's guest operating system and processor must be supported by Fault Tolerance (for example, 32-bit Solaris on AMD-based processors is not currently supported). See the VMware knowledge base article at http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1008027 for information on supported combinations of processors and guest operating systems.

The configuration of the virtual machine must be valid for use with Fault Tolerance (for example, it must not contain any unsupported devices).

When your effort to turn on Fault Tolerance for a virtual machine passes the validation checks, the Secondary VM is created. The placement and immediate status of the Secondary VM depends upon whether the Primary VM was powered-on or powered-off when you turned on Fault Tolerance.

If the Primary VM is powered on:

The entire state of the Primary VM is copied and the Secondary VM is created, placed on a separate compatible host, and powered on if it passes admission control.

The Fault Tolerance Status displayed on the virtual machine's Summary tab in the vSphere Client is Protected.

If the Primary VM is powered off:

The Secondary VM is immediately created and registered to a host in the cluster (it might be re-registered to a more appropriate host when it is powered on.)

The Secondary VM is not powered on until after the Primary VM is powered on.

The Fault Tolerance Status displayed on the virtual machine's Summary tab in the vSphere Client is Not Protected, VM not Running.

When you attempt to power on the Primary VM after Fault Tolerance has been turned on, the additional validation checks listed above are performed. To power on properly, the virtual machine must not use paravirtualization (VMI).

After these checks are passed, the Primary and Secondary VMs are powered on and placed on separate, compatible hosts. The Fault Tolerance Status that appears on the virtual machine's Summary tab in the vSphere Client is tagged Protected.