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Can't connect to VMware VCenter. Vcenter Service not running. Will start but Stops soon after.

I can't login to my vCenter through vSphere Client. When I login to the vCenter server I see that the VMware VirtualCenter Server is not running. I can start the service without any error but it quickly stops again. I looked up the location of the VMware log "C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Logs\" but I don't see a vpxd.log file. I do see numerous vpxd-xxx files but I'm unsure of which one to check.

I do see two other .NET services not running that are set to automatic and when I try to start the service they start and stop. I'm not sure if Vcenter requires .NET to run and if this may be the problem.

Currently running:
VMware Essential Plus 5.0

Can someone help me determine where to start to find out why I can't get the VCenter service running and get connection back to my Vcenter?

Thanks in advance
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mlsbraves
Asked:
mlsbraves
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2 Solutions
 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Is this a new installation, or running installation which has just failed?
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Mandeep KhalsaCommented:
What do you see in your Event Viewer under Application and System logs? Are you running out of disk space? I have seen vCenter stop itself where certain threshold was met in certain logs (can't remember the name of the log).
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AbhilashBloggerCommented:
Also check if you have set full recovery mode on the vcenter DB. And if SQL is running out of space.
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mlsbravesAuthor Commented:
Installation has been up for over a year with no problems. I had dell setup everything for me and this is the first time I've had any problem with vCenter.
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Steve MCommented:
Check your windows event logs first, this should give you a little more info on what's happening.
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Mandeep KhalsaCommented:
It its been a year, most likely its your SQL logs. See if your vCenter related SQL service is running or not. If it is stopped, try to start it and if it fails, then you know where to start.
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mlsbravesAuthor Commented:
It does look like it is a space issue causing SQL not to start. There is only 1.29GB free on the C:\

I've added more space to the SAN and logged into the host directly and rescanned the volume that shows the added storage. But when I try to edit the VM and increase the hard drive size I get the following error "Access to resource settings on this host is restricted to the server 'x.x.x.x'(vCenter IP) which is managing it."

So I guess since the vCenter server is managing the VM it won't let me make changes to the VM from the host itself.

How can I change the HDD size in the VM to add storage?
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Mandeep KhalsaCommented:
This is what you need to do to clear the log file and get your server up and running again.

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1003980
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mlsbravesAuthor Commented:
Apparently SQL Server Management Studio is not installed. It looks like MS SQL Server 2008r2 is installed but Management Studio was not installed. The download size is only 165MB but the system requirement say it needs a minimal of 2.2GB free. I did delete some of the event log files that gave me an extra 1GB but I only have 2.07GB available on the C:\ partition. I do have another partition available that has 122GB free. This partition was setup for the VMware updates. I do have access to the SQL Server Configuration Manager but I don't believe I can do anything from there. Any suggestions?
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Mandeep KhalsaCommented:
You can install the Management studio on any networked PC and access the SQL server remotely.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
What is the size of your vCenter SQL Database?

Are you using SQL Express?
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mlsbravesAuthor Commented:
SQL is MS SQL 2008/2008R2 Express

I have loaded Management Studio on another workstation but when I try to connect I get "Login failed: The login is from an untrusted domain and cannot be used with Windows authentication"

I'm going through the Engagement Summary but there are no details on the SQL server that was setup for the for vCenter.
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Mandeep KhalsaCommented:
Make sure that the workstation and the server are part of the same domain, and that you are selecting the correct instance of SQL. If you used the default options it would look something like ServerName\SQLEXP_VIM.
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mlsbravesAuthor Commented:
The database appears to be around 10.5GB
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mlsbravesAuthor Commented:
There is only one domain in this environment and they are both on the same domain.

Server name: vcenter\vim_sqlexp
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Mandeep KhalsaCommented:
Try this to login with the SA login credentials: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms188670.aspx
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mlsbravesAuthor Commented:
Under C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL_10_50.VIM_SQLEXP\MSSQL

Data file folder is 10.5GB
Log Folder is only 10.1MB
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mlsbravesAuthor Commented:
Looking into the SA login now.

Does anyone know how much space would be needed to start the SQL. Currently have 2.06GB available. Here are the two event logs that keep showing up a lot. One mentions about a maximum of 10GB database limit.

CREATE DATABASE or ALTER DATABASE failed because the resulting cumulative database size would exceed your licensed limit of 10240 MB per database.

Could not allocate space for object 'dbo.VPX_BINARY_DATA'.'PK_VPX_BIN_DATA' in database 'VIM_VCDB' because the 'PRIMARY' filegroup is full. Create disk space by deleting unneeded files, dropping objects in the filegroup, adding additional files to the filegroup, or setting autogrowth on for existing files in the filegroup.

Looks like there is a limit to Express of 10GB. Is it normal for vCenter to reach such a large size? I currently have around 28 VM's.

If this is the case I will still need to shrink or delete the logs so I can get SQL & vCenter running temporarily until I can purchase a SQL database that would hold a larger database?
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Mandeep KhalsaCommented:
It will not start until you clear the transaction logs, which is set to 10GB and you have already used it up. So for you to start you vCenter server, you have to get into the Management Studio and follow the instructions from the link posted earlier to clear the log.

Also if it has taken 1 year to use the space up, I would put some kind of a reminder to check the size every 6 months or less.
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mlsbravesAuthor Commented:
OK I figured out that when the installer installed the database that he used the local admin account and that is why I couldn't access it from the domain. I changed my page file setting on the vcenter server to give me more space and installed Management Studio on the server and have successfully connected.

Following the instructions, I set the recovery mode to simple, right clicked the vcenter database (VIM_VCDB) and shrink the log file:

log2
I started vCenter server service and tried to connect. It failed and when I went back to the service it has already stopped. Looking through the Event Log I am still getting:

CREATE DATABASE or ALTER DATABASE failed because the resulting cumulative database size would exceed your licensed limit of 10240 MB per database.

From what I have read MS SQL 2008R2 has a database limit of 10GB and log files are not included in this limit. Under the shrink option for data this is what I see:
data2
Is this a common file size for vCenter running 3 host and around 28 VM's?

Are there any other suggestions and if not what options do I have left? Even if I buy SQL Standard I'm not sure if I will have enough space to install it unless Express can just be upgraded to Standard.

Thanks for all the help so far.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
it depends on how you have set the logging in vCenter Server.
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Steve MCommented:
If you do buy SQL Server Standard, you could install it on another server instead of the current vCenter Server you're having space issues on.  Then backup the DB's, and restore on the new SQL server... follow this guide to move the databases: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=7960893
 
Another option might be to run vcenter appliance that has an embedded database engine: The 5.5 vCenter Server Appliance with the embedded (internal) database is now limited to a maximum 100 hosts and 3000 virtual machines. Of course migrating from vCenter and SQL on Windows to vCenter appliance isn't really simple, but it can be done, and for the cost savings of MS SQL Licenses, it could very well be a smart ($ budget wise) choice.
http://dellaert.org/2013/09/28/migrate-vcenter-5-1-standard-to-vcenter-5-5-server-appliance-with-distributed-vswitch-and-update-manager/
I think a new vCenter Appliance deployment, and setup, then move the hosts over to the new vcenter is likely best in my opinion, but I've never actually attempted this process.  Something to consider anyway.

Cheers,
Steve
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mlsbravesAuthor Commented:
Checking the Event Logs more carefully told me that the SQL server was limited and this was my problem. As a learning experience I have learned never to use MS SQL Express in a production environment as it does have limitations.

I will follow Steve M advise to either move MS SQL server over to another server with MS SQL Standard or use the Appliance if the transitions isn't to difficult. Thank for everyone's help.
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