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WinXP SP2 VMs Dropping IP Addresses and/or Not Renewing IP Upon Reboot

Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
We have about 250 VMs running Windows XP SP2 on one of our clusters experiencing the same issue whereby the VMs will either lose the IP address if left alone over the weekend and/or they do not renew their IP address. The only fix we have is to (a) completely power off the VM or remove/re-add the Virtual NIC. All the VMs are running the latest VMware Tools, and our network engineering people say their investigation reveals no issues with respect to the networking infrastructure. Has anyone seen this problem? It started with just a few VMs (8 to 10) but now it's becoming a more serious issue. I'm waiting to get the Event Viewer logs, but this is one error we've seen:

TCP/IP has reached the security limit imposed on the number of concurrent TCP connect attempts.

I do know about the various TCPIP.SYS patches / hex editor hacks out there, but as this is a corporate cluster I'm trying to stay on the conservative side with respect to my troubleshooting approaches- for now. Any input would be greatly appreciated!
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008

how large are your vswitches?  I would check them first since 8 ports per vswitch are used by vmware.  I'm not sure if the connections are per vswitch, host, or cluster but breaking them out to more vswitches is worth a try if you have the physical ports to support them.

I would give VMWare a support call as well since this is a production environment they may have a simple solution.
I would recommend doing a netstat on one of the xp machines and try to see what the machine is listening/talking to. With XP SP2, they built in some type of security thing to kill the connection once it passes a certain number of tcp connections. This was to prevent the outbreak of viruses and worms.

I would assume you have some type of worm floating around or an innocent type of application that is just making alot of noise on the network. Either way you should have a better understanding of why the machines are losing connectivity.

Hope that helps.


paulsolov / philtpaik,

Thank you both for your excellent suggestions- I opened the SR with VMWare and we are talking with the SAs to have them commence the netstat. Will update soon.
Issue was related to a DNS update made by the DNS team which did not fully replicate across.

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