© 2018 Institute of Physics Publishing. All Rights Reserved. The KATRIN experiment will probe the neutrino mass by measuring the β-electron energy spectrum near the endpoint of tritium β-decay. An integral energy analysis will be performed by an electro-static spectrometer (“Main Spectrometer”), an ultra-high vacuum vessel with a length of 23.2 m, a volume of 1240 m3, and a complex inner electrode system with about 120 000 individual parts. The strong magnetic field that guides the β-electrons is provided by super-conducting solenoids at both ends of the spectrometer. Its influence on turbo-molecular pumps and vacuum gauges had to be considered. A system consisting of 6 turbo-molecular pumps and 3 km of non-evaporable getter strips has been deployed and was tested during the commissioning of the spectrometer. In this paper the configuration, the commissioning with bake-out at 300◦C, and the performance of this system are presented in detail. The vacuum system has to maintain a pressure in the 10−11 mbar range. It is demonstrated that the performance of the system is already close to these stringent functional requirements for the KATRIN experiment, which will start at the end of 2016.