vCenter Heartbeat Gotchas!

So I just had the opportunity to install vCenter Heartbeat 6.6 in one of my customer. I made it a point to read the installation documentation and some of the available videos from VMware to prepare myself for this task. But as I have experienced from past deployments, no matter how hard we prepare, something unexpected always comes up.

I will write a detailed guide soon but a few of the gotchas I found out are:

1. If using multi-NIC setup for Heartbeat, dont configure the heartbeat NIC just yet when installing vCenter server.

Since I knew that we will use heartbeat, I preconfigured all NICs before installing vCenter Server. I then disabled this NIC card before installing vCenter but for some reasons, after the installation is done and I enabled the heartbeat NIC, i encountered an issue with SSO.  SSO is listening to the heartbeat IP. I have to disable the heartbeat NIC and restarted the SSO and vCenter services to fix it.

My advice is to setup just one NIC card for management, but use the cluster IP address. During heartbeat installation, it will help you to change the management IPs.

3. Make sure Forward and Reverse Lookup entries are set for the primary, secondary as well as the cluster fqdn.

I found out that if there is no PTR record for the cluster fqdn, the “Use Windows session Credentials” checkbox will not work if used to login to vCenter server.

2. When preparing for heartbeat, make sure the primary vCenter server’s hostname is set as the cluster’s FQDN.

During heartbeat installation, it will actually rename the primary and secondary vCenter servers.

Example: Cluster FQDN =
Primary vCenter =
Secondary vCenter =

For the above example, we need to name the primary vCenter as and not I found this the hard way since Ive already set the vCenter hostname as vc1. During heartbeat install, it actually detects vc1 as the cluster fqdn and there is no way to change it.

Rather than changing the hostname of the vCenter server (which will definitely break vCenter, SSO registration and stuff), we’ve decided that it will be easier to deploy a new vCenter server. Luckily this is a greenfield environment so we have the luxury of doing a rebuiild. But the duplicate effort is definitely disappointing.

For those preparing to deploy vCenter Heartbeat, make sure to read out the official VMware documentation. You can also check out this video post: 



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