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PowerChute Network Shutdown – Hosts fail to enter maintenance mode when vSphere Clustering Service (vCLS) is enabled

Issue:
PowerChute Network Shutdown – vSphere Clustering Service (vCLS) introduced in VMware vSphere 7.0 update 1 prevents hosts from entering maintenance mode since vCLS agent VMs cannot be shut down

Products:
PowerChute Network Shutdown v4.4

Environment:
VMware vSphere 7.0 update 1 and above
vCenter Server Appliance 7.0 update 1 and above

Cause:
vSphere 7.0.1 introduced a new feature called vSphere Cluster Services (vCLS) that allows DRS and HA to continue functioning even when vCenter Server is unavailable.

The issue occurs because there are 3 vCLS Agent VMs deployed in the cluster that cannot be powered off during the VM Shutdown step along with other User VMs. When vCenter Server detects that these VMs are powered off, it will automatically power them back on. Since these VMs remain powered on, the Hosts on which they reside cannot be placed into maintenance mode.

Solution:

Uninstall PowerChute Network Shutdown 4.4.x and install PowerChute Network Shutdown 5.0 available at the link below.

PowerChute Network Shutdown version 5.0

NOTE: PowerChute Network Shutdown version 5.0 required licensing for use with VMware vCenter Server.

To continue with PCNS 4.x:

Enable VM Prioritization and add all User VMs to a priority group except for the vCLS VMs. vCLS VMs are named vCLS (<number>).

Configure a 0 second duration for VM Shutdown and VM Startup for the Un-prioritized group. This ensures that the vCLS VMs will not be shut down or powered on by PowerChute.

Ensure that Delay Maintenance Mode is enabled.

Please follow the instructions in the attached PDF (vCLS_ScriptInstructions) to add scripts to PowerChute. Alternatively, if you are not using DRS, you can choose to disable vCLS permanently by following the instructions here - https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/80472

NOTE: If the vCLS VMs are added to a higher priority group than the vCenter Server Appliance VM, the scripts are not required to place the cluster into retreat mode. This is only applicable if vCenter is inside the cluster.

When PCNS is deployed on Windows with Powershell version 7.x , the attached enable.cmd and disable.cmd files should be modified as below:
Change required in enable.cmd file: “Replace powershell.exe with pwsh.exe in the line “cmd.exe /C powershell.exe ; C:\EnableRetreatWin.ps1”.

Change required in disable.cmd file : “Replace powershell.exe with pwsh.exe in the line “cmd.exe /C powershell.exe ; C:\DisableRetreatWin.ps1”.

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