You use a VM-Host affinity rule to specify an affinity relationship between a group of virtual machines and a group of hosts. When using VM-Host affinity rules, you should be aware of when they could be most useful, how conflicts between rules are resolved, and the importance of caution when setting required affinity rules.

One use case where VM-Host affinity rules are helpful is when the software you are running in your virtual machines has licensing restrictions. You can place such virtual machines into a DRS group and then create a rule that requires them to run on a host DRS group that contains only host machines that have the required licenses.


When you create a VM-Host affinity rule that is based on the licensing or hardware requirements of the software running in your virtual machines, you are responsible for ensuring that the groups are properly set up. The rule does not monitor the software running in the virtual machines nor does it know what non-VMware licenses are in place on which ESXi hosts.

If you create more than one VM-Host affinity rule, the rules are not ranked, but are applied equally. Be aware that this has implications for how the rules interact. For example, a virtual machine that belongs to two DRS groups, each of which belongs to a different required rule, can run only on hosts that belong to both of the host DRS groups represented in the rules.

When you create a VM-Host affinity rule, its ability to function in relation to other rules is not checked. So it is possible for you to create a rule that conflicts with the other rules you are using. When two VM-Host affinity rules conflict, the older one takes precedence and the newer rule is disabled. DRS only tries to satisfy enabled rules and disabled rules are ignored.

DRS, vSphere HA, and vSphere DPM never take any action that results in the violation of required affinity rules (those where the virtual machine DRS group 'must run on' or 'must not run on' the host DRS group). Accordingly, you should exercise caution when using this type of rule because of its potential to adversely affect the functioning of the cluster. If improperly used, required VM-Host affinity rules can fragment the cluster and inhibit the proper functioning of DRS, vSphere HA, and vSphere DPM.

A number of cluster functions are not performed if doing so would violate a required affinity rule.

DRS does not evacuate virtual machines to place a host in maintenance mode.

DRS does not place virtual machines for power-on or load balance virtual machines.

vSphere HA does not perform failovers.

vSphere DPM does not optimize power management by placing hosts into standby mode.

To avoid these situations, exercise caution when creating more than one required affinity rule or consider using VM-Host affinity rules that are preferential only (those where the virtual machine DRS group 'should run on' or 'should not run on' the host DRS group). Ensure that the number of hosts in the cluster with which each virtual machine is affined is large enough that losing a host does not result in a lack of hosts on which the virtual machine can run. Preferential rules can be violated to allow the proper functioning of DRS, vSphere HA, and vSphere DPM.


You can create an event-based alarm that is triggered when a virtual machine violates a VM-Host affinity rule. In the vSphere Web Client, add a new alarm for the virtual machine and select VM is violating VM-Host Affinity Rule as the event trigger. For more information about creating and editing alarms, see the vSphere Monitoring and Performance documentation.