2020.04.9 – Building a VMware vSphere Virtual Lab with VMware Fusion – Part 4: Adding ESXi Hosts to a Cluster in vCenter Server

In this page, I’ll add mine ESXi hosts to a cluster in vCenter Server without putting them into maintenance mode.

Mine lab parts:

GraspingTech’s helping guid:


Here I will deploy the vCenter Server appliance into VMware Fusion. After deploying the appliance, I ran the initial setup and configured everything to the point where I can login to vCenter using the HTML5 client.

After completing the steps in the previous page, I will be at a point where I have:

  • Three ESXi 6.7 VMs running on VMware Fusion
  • The first ESXi VM contains a pfSense firewall VM with built in DNS Resolver
  • One vCenter Server Appliance in VMware Fusion
  • I am able to access the hosts and vCenter from the Mac using domain names
  • vCenter is able to resolve ESXi hosts using domain names because it uses the firewall VM as its gateway

Let’s begin by Power-on the 3 ESXi’s, fw01 inside esxi01 and vCenter Server then logging this last one.

I do what is in this picture.

Got here.

Step 1. Create a new Datacenter

The first thing I need to do is create a Datacenter so that I can add mine ESXi hosts and clusters to it.

Right click on the root object which is the FQDN of the vCenter Server I’ll logged into, then click New Datacenter…

Give the datacenter a name, Newcastle, then click OK.

Step 2. Add the ESXi host, esxi01, to the datacenter

Right click on the datacenter I just created and click Add Host…

Type in the hostname (or IP address) of the ESXi host containing pfSense firewall, then click NEXT. This is esxi01.silvique.ro.

Enter the user name and password of the ESXi host then click NEXT.

Click YES.

Click Next again.

Assign a license to the ESXi host then click NEXT.

I can decide whether to lock down the ESXi host or not. Locking down the host will prevent people accessing the host directly from a web browser. In my lab, I kept it disabled because I may still need to access hosts directly. Click NEXT.

For the VM location, choose the datacenter I just created, then click NEXT.

Finally, click FINISH to add the host.

Now I see the host added as a child of the Datacenter object

In the next step, I do the same thing for esxi02 and esxi03. I do not use Step 3: Create a cluster and move ESXi host into the blog of GraspingTech. I do for esxi02 ans esxi03 as I have done for esxi01.

All ESXi hosts where created.

Note: I have tried to add also the other ESXis, beginning with esxi04. But it seems there 3 Clusters is the maximum.

I power-off esxi02 and esxi03 to receive free used RAM and open esxi04.

The information I read when trying to add esxi04 was the following: “This edition of vCenter only supports 3 host(s) in the inventory. Remove some hosts from the inventory before performing the operation.”


After finishing this installation, I now have five ESXi hosts running on VMware Fusion and I can manage three of theml from one control panel because they are connected to vCenter.