Easier way - Enabling EVC on a cluster when vCenter Server is running in a virtual machine

Posted by Paul Braren on Jul 11 2015 (updated on Jul 12 2015) in
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • Storage
  • Let's say you add a second host (server) to your home lab. It has a newer CPU that's different enough that you're prevented from performing a vMotion. Specifically, when you try to vMotion vCenter (VCSA) itself, when you get to the screen where you try to "Select a valid destination compute resource." you're stuck with this error:

    The virtual machine requires hardware features that are unsupported or disabled on the target host
    General incompatibilities
    If possible, use a cluster with Enhanced vMotion Compatibility (EVC) enabed, see KB article 1003212.


    Googling around for a bit, you're likely to also find kb.vmware.com/kb/1013111, which says you need to do a bunch of stuff and tweak your vmx file, to escape this mess.

    I was tinkering with the vSphere Web Client, and found an easier way. No vmx tweaks, no maintenance mode (yet), and avoids downtime for any of your VMs by following along with the steps in the detailed video:

    1. add your new host to your Datacenter
    2. creating a new cluster
    3. setting EVC of the cluster to Sandy Bridge (Z68), the level of my older ESXi host I'm trying to vMotion from
    4. moving the new host (Xeon) to this cluster
    5. try the vMotion to the new host again (it works!)

    Later on, optionally, to get the old host into this same new cluster, you can:

    1. vMotion all your old host's VMs to the new host
    2. put the old host into Maintenance mode (no VMs affected, no downtime!)
    3. right-click on the old host, Move, select the new cluster (or drag-and-drop)
    4. take this old host out of maintenance mode, and you're instantly able to vMotion any VM at will, in either direction

    You're done!

    See also

    Enhanced vMotion Compatibility (EVC) processor support (1003212)

    Enabling EVC on a cluster when vCenter Server is running in a virtual machine (1013111)