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ESX VSphere 5 keeps dropping and re-connecting iSCSI

Posted on 2011-10-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I currently have an ESX box that connects to iSCSI using Microsoft iSCSI iniator. THis worked fine with ESX 4.1 and since upgrading to 5 it keeps disconnecting and re-connecting really fast. There are no error details on ESX and in Windows event log it says ESX has committed a protocol error. Thats all the details I can find.

Also my one nic card that worked fine in esx 4.1 no longer works as it says it went offline than comes back online from transient failure due to watchdog timeout. Very frustrating.

Any one have any ideas? The iSCSI is the biggest issue right now.
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Question by:tcomp
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15 Comments
 
LVL 124
ID: 36975698
what is the server, because the watchdog timeout issue is common on a bug in the network driver?
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Expert Comment

by:bloodygonzo
ID: 36975732
When you say you upgraded do you mean you bought new hardware for ESX 5 or just upgraded the software on the same box?

If you upgraded the hardware is the old server still online? It could still be trying to connect which could cause the behavior you describe.
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Author Comment

by:tcomp
ID: 36975972
It is a Desktop pc with a Gigabyte M61P-S3 Board, AMD Athlon 64 x2 Dual Core Processor 5000+

It has 2 PCI-E Intel network cards that are working fine. The third Intel PCI network card will not(Watchdog Timeout).

This box was running ESX 4.1 flawlessly and when I upgraded these issues arrose.

I am currently using The first PCI-E card as the WAN (I am running pFSense virtualized) and the second PCI-E card is the LAN/ iSCSI connection.

It connects to Microsoft iSCSI software target v. 3.3.16544 on Windows Storage Server 2008 R2

In the Windows Event Log it says ESX has committed a protocol error and in ESX it just loses the connection and regains it stating connectivity issues.


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LVL 124

Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 36975982
Watchdog timeout is a common issue with faulty drivers with some Intel controllers.

These will be issues you can expect to experience with Whitebox Servers.

Did you complete an inplace upgrade, if so I would try a complete new install to USB or SD card, otherwise unless there are new features you require in ESXi 5.0. I would stick and rollback to 4.1 u1.

What features of ESX5.0 are you using, is this the free version?
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Author Comment

by:tcomp
ID: 36975995
Do you know of a PCI Intel card that will work with ESX 5?

This box is my test box that I play around with things on before touching the real Infrastructure so I would like to stick with ESX 5.

It was an in place upgrade. I have 2 or 3 VMS on the datastore that it on the OS drive, Is there a way to re-install without wiping out the VMs?
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Author Comment

by:tcomp
ID: 36976003
Also as a test I just added a second iSCSI disk for ESX and it is working fine, so it is only the Primary iSCSI disk that keeps dropping and re-connecting.
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LVL 124
ID: 36976074
Yes, install on a usb flash drive, it will ask, and prompt not to overwrite a detected datstore.

Standard PCI or PCI-e?

This is iSCSI inside a VM?
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Author Comment

by:tcomp
ID: 36976565
No I have a second physica; server which is storage server and it serves the iSCSI to ESX.
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:tcomp
ID: 36976585
Is there any other way to fix the protocol error? It is going to be far too time consuming to re-install ESX and then set everything back up all over again such as networking.
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LVL 124
ID: 36976600
So this is the software iscsi initiator in ESXi?

find a supported better NIC.

time consuming it takes us 5mins to install ESXi 4.1U1 to usb flash drive, and another 5mins to setup ESXi server networking!

Again, always the risk of using non certified kit.

Try a Intel CT Desktop adaptor, cheap and works without issue.
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:tcomp
ID: 36977303
I got everything back up and running under ESX 4.1 which yes only took 10 minutes.

If you dont mind I would like to keep this open should anyone have a fix to the iSCSI issue in 5.0
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LVL 124
ID: 36977336
Is it the iSCSI software initiator in ESXi 5.0?

Its early days for 5.0, and there are many issues, its a shame you do not have a supported system because it could have been logged as an SR for escalation, but on non HCL systems, VMware may not log the SR.

Are you sure your NICs were not disconnecting from physical switch?

Did you try jumbo frames?
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:bloodygonzo
ID: 36977346
This is an issue that others are reporting after upgrading to 5 and using a Microsoft iSCSI target. See this thread. Others are reporting that a fresh install of 5 is the fix.

http://communities.vmware.com/thread/328243
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LVL 124
ID: 36977358
As the thread suggests either a bug in ESXi 5.0, or try fresh install of 5.0 as already suggested above, we never do inplace upgrades, just in case any weird configs cause issues.
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LVL 2

Author Closing Comment

by:tcomp
ID: 36977464
I choose this as I ultimately did decide to rollback and there have been reports of re-installing 5.0 fixes the issue. I have not tried a fresh install of 5 but will another time.
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