Abstract This paper considers a machine repair problem with M operating machines and S standbys, in which R repairmen are responsible for supervising these machines and operate a (V,R) vacation policy. With such policy, if the number of the failed machines is reduced to R−V (R>V) (there exists V idle repairmen) at a service completion, these V idle servers will together take a synchronous vacation (or leave for other secondary job). Upon returning from the vacation, they do not take a vacation again and remain idle until the first arriving failed machine arrives. The steady-state probabilities are solved in terms of matrix forms and the system performance measures are obtained. Algorithmic procedures are provided to deal with the optimization problem of discrete/continuous decision variables while maintaining a minimum specified level of system availability.