Oct 152020
VMware vCLS VM in VM List

Did a new VM appear on your VMware vSphere cluster called “vCLS”? Maybe multiple appeared named “vCLS (1)”, “vCLS (2)”, “vCLS (3)” appeared.

VMware vCLS VM in vSphere Cluster Objects
VMware vCLS VM in vSphere Cluster Objects

This could be frightening but fear not, this is part of VMware vSphere 7.0 Update 1.

What is the vCLS VM?

The vCLS virtural machine is essentially an “appliance” or “service” VM that allows a vSphere cluster to remain functioning in the event that the vCenter Server becomes unavailable. It will maintain the health and services of that cluster.

Where did the vCLS VM come from?

The vCLS VM will appear after upgrading to vSphere 7.0 Update 1. I’m assuming it was deployed during the upgrade process.

It does not appear in the standard Cluster, Hosts, and VMs view, but does appear when looking at the vSphere objects VM lists, Storage VM lists, etc…

Is it normal to have more than one vCLS VM?

The vCLS VMs are created when hosts are added to a vSphere Cluster. Up to 3 vCLS VMs are required to run in each vSphere Cluster.

The vCLS VMs will also appear on clusters which contain only one or two hosts. These configurations will result in either 1 or 2 vCLS VMs named “vCLS (1)” and “vCLS (2)”.

A note on licensing in regards to the vCLS VM

For VMware environments that use VM based licensing like vSphere for ROBO (Remote Office Branch Office), vCLS VMs are shown in the licensing interface as counting towards licensed VMs. Please Note that these VMs do not official count towards your purchased licenses as these are VMware System VMs. Please read VMware KB 80472 for more information on this.

More Information on vCLS VMs

For more information and technical specifics, you can visit the link below:


Hope this posts helps, and puts some minds at ease. Your VMware environment has NOT been compromised.

  8 Responses to “What is the vCLS Virtual Machine on VMware”

  1. I have a homelab 3 host vsphere cluster and it created 3 vCLS vms. I also have DRS enabled.

    My question / concern is that it eventually migrates all the vCLS vms to 1 host. None of the hosts are really loaded either.

  2. Hi Derek,

    There should be a vCLS instance for every host in the cluster. They should not migrate as they are specifically placed on each host, and all management tasks should be automated.

    The only time you’d need to do anything is if you were shutting down the host, in which cause you’d shut down the VM before issuing a shutdown on the host.

    I’m not sure what you meant with the comment regarding hosts being loaded. If you can expand on that I’ll do my best to comment.


  3. Hello, I have a 2 host cluster, however, 3 vCLS instances are deployed. 2 agents on one host and one agent on the second. It is a brand new deployment. Is this normal? Thank you.

  4. My vCLS VM’s all migrated to a single host as well. I have 3 hosts.

  5. Do you recommend I move all my vCLS vms to it own datastore?



  6. Hi Ben,

    I don’t believe that’s required or needed. AFAIK these VMs use barely any IO. The only thing you want to do is make sure they are on a reliable datastore.


  7. Hi,

    vCLS virtual machines count as virtualk machines for VMware ROBO?

    Thank you

  8. Sergio,

    That’s a great question! 🙂

    As per this VMware KB. I quote: “In deployments using VM based licensing like vSphere for ROBO licensing, vCLS VMs are shown in the licensing UI as counted towards the licensed VMs. But these VMs are not counted towards the licensing as these are system VMs.”.

    Hope that helps!


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