Virtual Machine Automation Level in a DRS Cluster

By default when you enable DRS on a cluster, the automation level selected at cluster level is applicable on all VM’s that resides in that cluster. But if you wish then you can configure the automation level per VM to satisfy your environment requirements.

Remember: The more individual changes you make, the more management overhead you add, as well as potentially reducing the effectiveness of DRS.

There 3 automation levels which we have with DRS is:

  • Manual: vCenter will only recommend moving resources.
  • Partially Automated : When a VM is created or powered on, vCenter will automatically place the VM on to a best host so as to maintain clutser balance. Once the VM is powered on, vCenter will present migration recommendation to vSphere administrator to approve when a cluster imbalance occurs.
  • Fully Automated: In this mode, vCenter take full control of initial placement and VM migrations and do not provide any recommendation to administrator to approve. 

To configure automation level for individual VM’s, login to Web Client and edit cluster properties and ensure that “Enable Individual virtual machine automation levels” is check marked. It is enabled by default btw. 


Now select VM Overrides and click on Add button. 


Click on green + button to add those VM’s on which you want to set custom automation level. 


Add the VM’s from the list. 


Now to change DRS automation level, click on Automation level and select one from the list. Here I am selecting Partially automated (my clutser settings is ‘fully automated’)

If a virtual machine automation level is set to Disabled, vCenter Server does not migrate that virtual machine or provide migration recommendations for it. This is known as pinning the virtual machine to its registered host.


Hit OK and now you will have a list of VM’s on which you have set a custom automation level. 


I hope you find this post informational. Feel free to share this on social media if it is worth sharing. Be sociable 🙂