While an ESXi host provides a robust platform for running applications, an organization must also protect itself from unplanned downtime caused from hardware or application failures. vSphere builds important capabilities into data center infrastructure that can help you prevent unplanned downtime.

These vSphere capabilities are part of virtual infrastructure and are transparent to the operating system and applications running in virtual machines. These features can be configured and utilized by all the virtual machines on a physical system, reducing the cost and complexity of providing higher availability. Key availability capabilities are built into vSphere:

Shared storage. Eliminate single points of failure by storing virtual machine files on shared storage, such as Fibre Channel or iSCSI SAN, or NAS. The use of SAN mirroring and replication features can be used to keep updated copies of virtual disk at disaster recovery sites.

Network interface teaming. Provide tolerance of individual network card failures.

Storage multipathing. Tolerate storage path failures.

In addition to these capabilities, the vSphere HA and Fault Tolerance features can minimize or eliminate unplanned downtime by providing rapid recovery from outages and continuous availability, respectively.