To help ensure optimal Fault Tolerance results, VMware recommends that you follow certain best practices.

In addition to the following sections, you can also see the white paper at http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/10040 for more information on Fault Tolerance best practices.

Observe the following best practices when configuring your hosts.

Hosts running the Primary and Secondary VMs should operate at approximately the same processor frequencies, otherwise the Secondary VM might be restarted more frequently. Platform power management features which do not adjust based on workload (for example, power capping and enforced low frequency modes to save power) can cause processor frequencies to vary greatly. If Secondary VMs are being restarted on a regular basis, disable all power management modes on the hosts running fault tolerant virtual machines or ensure that all hosts are running in the same power management modes.

Apply the same instruction set extension configuration (enabled or disabled) to all hosts. The process for enabling or disabling instruction sets varies among BIOSes. See the documentation for your hosts' BIOSes for details on how to configure instruction sets.

VMware Fault Tolerance can function in clusters with non-uniform hosts, but it works best in clusters with compatible nodes. When constructing your cluster, all hosts should have the following:

Processors from the same compatible processor group.

Common access to datastores used by the virtual machines.

The same virtual machine network configuration.

The same ESX/ESXi version.

The same Fault Tolerance version number (or host build number for hosts prior to ESX/ESXi 4.1).

The same BIOS settings (power management and hyperthreading) for all hosts.

Run Check Compliance to identify incompatibilities and correct them.

To increase the bandwidth available for the logging traffic between Primary and Secondary VMs use a 10Gbit NIC rather than 1Gbit NIC, and enable the use of jumbo frames.

ISOs that are accessed by virtual machines with Fault Tolerance enabled should be stored on shared storage that is accessible to both instances of the fault tolerant virtual machine. If this configuration is used, the CD-ROM in the virtual machine continues operating normally, even if there is a failover.

For virtual machines with Fault Tolerance enabled, you might use ISO images that are accessible only to the Primary VM. In such a case, the Primary VM can access the ISO, but if a failover occurs, the CD-ROM reports errors as if there is no media. This situation might be acceptable if the CD-ROM is being used for a temporary, noncritical operation such as an installation.