vmware player memory leak on windows 7

Posted on 2013-01-23
Last Modified: 2013-02-16
I have a fresh-out-of-the-box workstation class system with dual quad-core i7 and 20gigs of memory.

I've seen this issue on vmware player 4.0.2 and 5.0.1.

I take a fresh copy of a VM that I have been running with no problems on other machines, and start it up on this system.  The first time I start it, I have 20 minutes before the computer wedges after running out of memory.  Task manager shows all memory is used, but the process display doesn't show any process that is using much memory.  The vm is limited to 8gig, but appears to use less than three.  If I shut down vmware player before the machine wedges, only about half of the memory is released.

If I shut the vm down, and reboot the base machine, it comes back fine, and grows until it is using 10.0gigs, then seems to be stable... the base system seems to use 1.85gig, and the vm seems to use just under 3 gigs.  But 10.0gig is ok, this is the only application that I need running, and so I'm happy.  When I shut the vm down, about 8 gigs of memory is released.  so it seems ok now...

If I leave the vm running overnight, the machine is out of memory again.  I kill the vm, and stop vmware, and only 5 gigs are released, but process manager shows nothing is using much memory, nothing over 250meg... even though 15 gigs is being used.

This vm is the clone of a vm running under esxi, that has many months of uptime, and no memory leak.

The base os of the machine is windows 7, and the os of the VM is windows server 2008 running sql and mediaroom personal server.
Question by:georgew3
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LVL 120
ID: 38811525
does it just occur on this Host?

Author Comment

ID: 38811927
I built 4 identical hosts, but I shipped them all to other sites before I noticed the problem on one of them.  I suspect the problem exists on all hosts, but I can't be sure until I get one of them shipped back.  I'll have that answer in a couple days.  But it is a good question!
LVL 120
ID: 38811953
We haved used VMware Player, 3,4 and 5 VMware Workstation all versions up to and including 9.0, on Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 and we have never seen any memory leak issued.

thats not to say its not possible

Have you trialed VMware Workstation with the same VM eg 8 or 9
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Author Comment

ID: 38819296
I'll be trying a lot of things it seems.  I'm going through one fix at a time.

Someone is shipping me back one of the other systems I built, so I can do some side-by-side comparisons to see if it occurs elsewhere.
The systems are all the same model number, but have slightly different system builds, so what is different may include various drivers for video and other peripherals, as well as different processors.

I tried VMware player 4.0.1 and 5.0.2, with similar results.  I also noticed that the affected system didn't have any updates, it was running as installed.  So I applied updates, with no improvement.

So I'll do my side-by-side and see what I see.  I will also try reinstalling from scratch, as well as profiling each system with Sandra to see if Sandra notices any difference in the systems.

So I'll post more when I have it.

Author Comment

ID: 38837622
Ok, I have confirmed that it is happening on other machines I have built on the same hardware.

The application running in the virtual machine is a Microsoft Mediaroom Personal Server system, and it has several multicast video streams running.

The same VM running on ESXi can run 6 months at a time with no problems.  The VM running under VMware player can run about 8 hours or so, depending on how much memory the host machine has.

Another data point is that if I turn the media streaming off, essentially shutting down most of the network traffic, the memory leak appears to slow down or even stop.  It is a guess based on observation that the memory leak is related to network traffic.

The network traffic is modest on the fully running server, about 50 megabits of mostly multicast, with a small amount of unicast.
LVL 120
ID: 38838689
what nic is being used?

e1000 ?

Author Comment

ID: 38845374
It is an Intel 82579LM gigabit adapter, in a Dell Precision portable workstation with 32gigs of memory and quad core i7 processor...

Accepted Solution

georgew3 earned 0 total points
ID: 38845392
A solutions seems to be to run the VM under ESXi instead of vmware player, or to license VMware Workstation.

The first options is probably better,  except for the fact this machine is being used as a portable lab server environment for things like compliance testing... so if I move to ESXi, it would have to be deployed as two machines in order to access the console of the VM.  My concern with VMware workstation is I might pay the money for a license, and find out the same memory leak is there.

But if we could identify the source and solution for the leak, I can prevent doing a lot of work to redesign the system.

Doing things like changing network cards for one with a better driver are viable solutions... if the network driver/card are the problem.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 38896185
No actual solution was found.  Work-arounds involve using more expensive versions of VMware, or use multiple machines for the application.

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