On the VMware Community someone asked this question about restart priorities. At the same time I received a question on a similar topic via email. This particular question was as follows:
I have restart priorities defined on my cluster. However even if I place my virtual machines for which this order applies on one host and test a failure they seem to come online in the wrong order…
In vSphere HA you can define the restart priority for each individual virtual machine. Now this restart priority applies to the power-on task that is initiated by HA when a host has failed. Did you note that I emphasized power-0n attempt? Well there is a reason for that… it is the prioritization of the attempt itself. HA doesn’t wait for a virtual machine to power-on before it starts the next… it just does the power-on attempt and when it completes the next round will be attempted. This also means that if you use 3 different priorities it could happen that a “low priority” virtual machine is restarted literally seconds after a “high priority” virtual machine is. In the case of the person who asked the question he had a large database machine defined as “high priority” and an app as “low priority”. Unfortunately the database machine took minutes to power-on and report up, where the application took less than a minute.
Keep that in mind when defining the restart priorities for your virtual machine. Yes it will help, but only for prioritizing which virtual machine needs to be restarted first. This is not a guarantee your virtual machines will be completed booted up first,