You'll see this error using nmcli if you try to bring up a connection in the nmcli that references a NIC that is disconnected/unplugged - either unplugged from a baremetal server or disconnected in VMware. Here are some examples of what it might look like:
connection activation failed: connection 'ethernet' is not available on the device ens32
connection activation failed: connection 'eth0' is not available on the device ens192
The fix is really as simple as connecting the cable or re-enabling the NIC in VMware and running the nmcli command again.