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.

Important photos for understanding are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/eoyTSqajAW6u7d5N7

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.

Important photos for understanding are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/eoyTSqajAW6u7d5N7