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Keeping Virtual Machines on Different Hosts with DRS

As more organizations are adopting virtualization for mission critical applications, I get asked a lot about keeping virtual machines on different ESX or ESXi hosts in a cluster. A good example of this is when a customer would like to run a Microsoft SQL or Exchange cluster. Luckily, with new vSphere 4.1 DRS rules, this can easily be achieved.

To enable this functionality, you have to simply edit the properties of your DRS enabled cluster in vCenter. Under the VMware DRS header, you will see an entry named "Rules".

Once "Rules" is highlighted, you can add a rule with the name of your choosing, setting the type as "Separate Virtual Machines", and selecting which virtual machines should be separated.

These affinity and anti-affinity rules in 4.1 really come in handy for a multitude of scenarios. Frank Denneman from VMware wrote a great article on the details of this feature, in case you are interested. The article can be found on his blog here.

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